Saturday, October 19th, 2013

We call it Turin. I never have understood why we change some city and state names and not others. Pescara is Pescara, Lombardia (the region, equivalent of a state for us) remains Lombardia, but others, as you surely know, we change. Whatever. Anyway I had visited Torino a couple of times before. Neither time was I particularly impressed. Of course every Italian city seems pretty different from the others. Habituated as I am to Bologna, Torino seems foreign. In fact the architecture often seems more French than Italian. That makes some sense since it was part of France during part of it’s history. It has lots of wide streets, in marked contrast to Bologna and consequently it has more cars and terrible parking. This time, however, I found a lot of charm. I went there to visit Massimiliano and family. I ate lunch at their house twice and the meals were great. The meals out, not so good, but that’s not because Torino lacks good food but as a family on a budget we ate at places that would almost be considered fast food here. It was still an enjoyable weekend. On Saturday I went with them to a partita di calcio (a soccer match) in which their son Alex was one of the players (he’s 12). In the first half the opposing team scored four goals but fortunately Alex’s team came back to score four in the second half to the relief of at least half of the parent spectators. Unfortunately I was forgetful and didn’t take any photos.

On Sunday I arose fairly early at my AirBnB room (20 euros) and took the subway to the center of town. I walked around for almost two hours down one street or another, just exploring. I found that Torino has the charm of small old streets as well as the grandeur of the larger boulevards. Thank god for the iPhone and Google Maps. I never get lost. It would be so much harder with only a map. So I only have a few random photos of my walk around the city that morning.

In the afternoon I went with Max and family and a bunch of their friends to a museum there called Museo di Pietro Micca. It seems he was something of a hero in a battle to defend the city from the French. A lot of the tour was in little tunnels that were used by the Italian troops. It’s too long a story for this post but here’s a link to click on if you’re interested. There were a bunch of kids, probably a dozen or so and we had a tour guide whose specialty was tours for kids. I was delighted that I could understand almost all of what he was saying. By the way, I wouldn’t recommend this tour for anyone with claustrophobia. The part underground lasted about half an hour in narrow tunnels that my head touched when we stopped.

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