Trip to Torino (Turin)

Trip to Torino (Turin)

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

I had been to Turin a couple of times in the past. The last time was 3 or 4 years ago when I went to visit my friend Massimiliano. So I thought that it was a good time to get together again. So I took a high speed train (.Italo) from Bologna – which takes only 2 hours traveling at speeds up to 180 mph.

I had rented a cheapo AirBnB not too far where Max lives but far from the center. While the price was right it turned out to not be such a great choice since it took generally at least 30 minute by bus to arrive at the historic center which is much more interesting than where I was staying. After arriving on Friday evening I took the subway to the stop at the end of the line and as I was exiting the subway there was a sign. It said that the next day, Saturday, there would be a sciopero (strike) by transit workers. The way this usually works in Italy is that the strike is only for part of the day (thank goodness). So the strike started at 9:00 AM and lasted for 3 hours, then the bus/tram/subway service was to resume at 12:00 for 3 hours and then shut down again. What a pain!

So the next morning I got up early enough to take a bus to the center and I went to the Museum of Cinema in, of course, the historic center. It is housed in what seems a strange building called “Il Mole” which is a major symbol of the city.

Il Mole

Usually I can only tolerate an hour or may a bit more in a museum before everything seems to look the same but this time I was in the museum for an amazing 4 hours. It started with very primitive attempts to provide images (other than paintings) and progressed to projectors, mechanical means of showing motion and finally to film itself. Included were a lot of film clips from various movies and also those showing the process of making the movies – think of lights, some sort of crane that moves the camera along with cameraman, sound stage construction, etc. There are script writers, costumers, composers and musicians – the list goes on. I really had never quite realized how complicated the movie making business is.

Early projectors

Series of images to form a VERY brief moving image

Not a lot of faith in film at first

Movie projectors – a lot of progress here

There was a special exhibit of animals in movies. The real ones and fake ones. There were film clips of the animals in actual movies as well as films of animals with their trainers. I was especially taken with one of  a trainer with an enormous bear that acted almost like a big dog who liked to have his ears scratched.

A sign for the special exhibit

Fake animals

Animatronic sea turtle

There is this great room where there are lounges in front of big screens. There’s also an elevator that goes from the ground floor to the top of the building for a grand panoramic view of the city.

The lounges and screens – note the big bear with his trainer on the left.

View of the museum exhibits surrounding the big central room – note the elevator descending.

The ceiling with the elevator ascending.

There are also a few permanent and sometime humorous exhibits.

Entrance to one exhibit

Inside the above exhibit

I had wanted to take Massimiliano and his wife out to a nice dinner of Piedmont cuisine on Saturday and asked him to make reservations. A couple of days before I arrived he sent me a message that there was a problem. Torino has to soccer teams, Juventus and Torino. When a city has more than one team it seems that they play each other one a year and this is called a “derby”. A new (and relatively useless) word for me. In any case Max is a HUGE fan of Juventus and it would be sin to miss watching the game. So we had pizza and beer at his house and watched Juventus (on of the best teams in the country) crush Torino.

The day I left I had some time to kill so I went into the city to look around and see the Royal Palace. Originally built in the 16th century it was was seat of the House of Savoy. So there is a lot of history there and since Italy had a king until 1946, he resided there after the unification of Italy in the 19th century. It is now a museum and like almost all of the museums in Torino was unfortunately closed on Mondays.

The Royal Palace

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