Christmas in Torino

Christmas in Torino

Friday, January 3rd, 2020

By now it seems like this blog is almost more of a diary than anything else. I see things that are interesting and want to share but nothing particularly spectacular and since much of the time I am living “in the moment” and just experiencing things I forget to take any photos. So I was in Torino for about two weeks. Yes, I know that we change the name to Turin in English but god knows why. I have become incapable of saying Turin, Rome, Venice or Florence because I’m quite satisfied with the Italian names. At least Bologna is still Bologna in English although most Americans think that’s the name of a lunch meat that is a VERY poor imitation of mortadella – a Bologna originated fabulous salame.

As usual I digress. So now that I’ve been back in BO for a 3 days I have time to reflect a bit. So what did we do other than mundane things like grocery shopping, tending to the cats, watching stuff on Netflix or on DVD? Well, we went to a Christmas mercatino (a street market) in the center of Torino where we mostly looked, bought some questionable little jars with a bit of truffles in them and some nice chocolates. Part of the highlight of that excursion was a street performer in a nearby large piazza. This performer was a juggler and and comic (the two aspects are often combined). Like many such guys – almost always guys – he involved people from the audience. He was good at all of that and I noticed that he spoke both Italian and English rather well. It turns out that he has been living in Italy for several years and is from Philadelphia. I would have liked to chat with him but it was not a good time as he passed the hat amongst the crowd.

Of course there were the Christmas decorations. In Torino there were 25 displays of artistic Christmas lighting displays. They are naturally spread out through the city but we did see several of them in the center (photos to follow) and of course I have include a photo of the Christmas tree in Bologna.

The Bologna tree. Same as last year but always impressive.
The Torino version.

The Torino tree was quite hi-tech. It’s a tree only in basic form but the lights are all controlled by computer and it changes from the blue version to the red/yellow version to a combination of all of the above. Kind of a neat trick but I prefer the real thing.

More lights
And yet more lights
These I only saw during the daytime from the moving tram. Rows of lights of different colors.
Some great window displays at a historic cheese shop.
The Mole (the most recognizable symbol of the city) was lighted

Another high point of the trip was our outing to the Balon, the big flea market in Torino as I described in a former blog post (click here if interested). Like most of my visits to flea markets I usually buy very little but it’s always fun to look especially if there’s a lot of interesting stuff and the Balon certainly has it. At the end of eyeing most if not all of the available merchandise we stopped for lunch at a place that I really liked and certainly plan to visit again sometime in the future. It’s called Sapordivino. It a play on words. “Divine Flavor” and more literally “Flavor of Wine”, i.e. sapore = flavor, divino=divine, and “di vino” of wine. A pretty funky place with really excellent food at very comfortable prices. We were seated in a room at a table for two and after some period of time a group of what I would say were 20 somethings began to arrive. They seemed like a really interesting group that reminded me of when I was that age. There was a limited banter between us and Laura fed a little something to the little pug dog that was a part of the group and who became an instant friend. I wished them all a merry Christmas when we left. I’m still hesitant about talking with people that I don’t know because I don’t feel that my Italian is adequate. Still I’m getting a little less shy about it now which really feels good.

One of the rooms at Sapordivino – this and the next photo come from the web
The same room from the other end
Our room – with a glimpse of Laura

And of course we ate drank and made merry.

Christmas Eve dinner with a tuna based antipasto, scallops and spumante. We also had chard.
Oooh for the finale, pasticinni. Bite sized terrific Torinese pastries.
As a bonus a bit of street art that appeared overnight in front of the railway station.

Comments always appreciated. It let’s me know that someone is reading and hopefully enjoying this stuff.

6 Responses to “Christmas in Torino”

  1. Marcia Allen Says:


    I just typed your name and recalled that growing up, we always called you Joe Earl—almost like one word. Anyway, I enjoy your posts and find it amusing that we live on Turin Dr. here in Colorado.

    I wish for you and Laura a healthy and prosperous 2020.

  2. Joe Says:

    Oh, yeah, I hated being called Joe Earl. Now here, since on my passport I am required to have my full legal name, every document in Italy has Joseph Earl Nance. It’s really a pain in the ass when I have to sign my name which is any time I have contact with any form of bureaucracy. When I need to go to the bank for something (which is fortunately rare) I usually have to sign 3 times.

    I did not know that you lived in Colorado. Before opting for Italy I thought that I might leave the San Francisco bay area and Colorado (probably Boulder) and Portland were under consideration. But now I cannot really ever imagine returning to the U.S.

    Come visit sometime and I’ll show you around.


  3. Joy O'Neal Says:

    I really enjoy your blog because it is composed of your present moments and your telling of them makes me feel connected to you. My life is much less interesting than yours, but I love my moments, and the fact that I am alive and am having them…especially the moments with my grandson, Finn, who is 6. Seeing the world through his eyes is a delight. Seeing your world is also a delight. Thank you! Joy

  4. Joe Says:

    You’re very welcome Joy and I appreciate your comments. Well, I have my adventures but I’m sure that having a grandson is full of adventures. Happy New Decade.


  5. Cynthia Salamy Says:

    Yes, someone’s reading….and enjoying. Thanks for all the pics, they’re always appreciated. Happy New Year with the best of things for you.

  6. Joe Says:

    Thanks for the comment Cynthia. Happy New Decade.


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