The last week in Torino the rains started and it was hard to find a day when it felt OK to be out. It rains in London, of course, but it’s a manageable rain – with few exceptions. In Turin the rain is incessant and heavy, with only short breaks. We did wander, when we weren’t indoors keeping dry and slowly filling cases.
The streets of central Torino – Centro – can be grand but in between these wide boulevards are the quiet narrow streets. Imagine this in central London – even in the back streets and alleys!
I’m also fascinated by the inner courtyards. Just off via Garibaldi there’s a courtyard that leads into other courtyards, each with its own shops and apartments and little cafes. It was raining this day and things were very quiet. It’s like a hidden oasis from the mad shoppers, who are never stopped by rain.
The Piazza San Carlo is a very grand square. Krish was amused by the statue since his favourite crisps are the San Carlo brand. He said that every time he saw the statue he needed to thank the man (is it even San Carlo?) for this taste treat. The square is used a lot for events. In this case they are getting ready for the Chocolate Festival that was taking place the week after we left. Bad timing!
The annual festival of artists’ lights was starting to take shape. We saw a few as we left. This one had projections of lacy patterns over the paving stones. It looked so pretty. In fact, Piazza Carignano is the prettiest square in Centro. If I return, I want to explore it better.
Today Krish was going on a tour to Thales Aerospace and I stayed behind. It was a lovely clear morning.
I stopped by the pasta shop to buy some ravioli. I feel like my Italian has halted and I need more practice! However, at least I can buy what I want and make myself understood. It’s vocabulary and fluency that I need to build.
I’ve decided to stop by the lovely little toy shop in the Quadrilatero and also visit the Santuaria della Consalata, since I had loved it on my very brief visit earlier.
The toy shop was chaotic as expected from the window and I had a lovely (English) chat with the owner about ‘Made in China.’ Bottom line, the items made in China are about a quarter of the price of those made in Italy, Germany or Czech. That’s a huge difference.
I went in to the Consolata and again was struck by how beautiful it was. There are several domed areas and each is different. Little chapels, a prayer area with confessionals, altars, an organ, balconies… This is a real treasure and, although I prefer plain, humble churches, this one has really caught my imagination. I wander around as quietly as I can among the people praying, and I light a candle to my mum and dad and whisper a silent thank you to them.
I head over to the little square at IV Marzo and treat myself to an ice cream. I choose lemon and sage (can’t taste the sage), and Crema d’uova. It’s delicious. I took a photo to show how very small the cups of gelato are. I haven’t ever wished they were bigger. It’s just enough for me.
Up on the large dome at the Duomo that houses the shroud, I see they are hard at work, the orange construction vests contrasting with the grey of the dome and the scaffolding.
And then through the Porta Palatina, noticing the building near to the entrance. I’ve not looked at it as closely before and it’s apparently one of the oldest in the city.
Today we thought of a plan – we would go to Lavazza to check out the bistrot (cafeteria) and see how the construction was coming along, and we’d tour the opera house – Teatro Regio. We hoped we could dodge the raindrops. It was decidedly soggy but we didn’t want to let this keep us indoors.
The Bistrot is a cafeteria within the Lavazza Complex on via Bologna. We were pretty sure that, although this is intended for Lavazza employees, the public were welcome and we were right. One of the receptionists handed us each a card where we would register the food we’d buy once upstairs.
There are some fancy looking electronic coffee machines on the main floor – one euro for a cup. Then a lobby, a lift, and stairs up to the cafeteria first floor.
Its like a school or hospital cafeteria in there, a sort of food court look. Two stations against the far wall that sell pizzas, pastas, and main dishes. And one central station for salads and soups. We can’t see any drinks and there is only fruit for dessert. Healthy! There is, however, a couple of self service stations for free water (still and sparkling) and a bank of bottles of olive oil and vinegar. Nothing else.
We browse around and settle on a main of grilled calamari and duchesse potatoes, and Krish has a last minute choice of a pizza with no tomato but cheese and walnuts. Then I’m intrigued by a pink vegetable soup so we pick that too. Verdict: Not bad. Nothing to rush back for. Lavazza, perhaps you could give your employees a price break – our bill was 19.20.
From the window we can see they are coming along quite nicely with the garden that will stand between the cafeteria building and the offices but it won’t be done by the time to leave this city.
From here we wander into town. It’s still drizzling. Krish wants to visit the British bookstore and then we’ll look around before heading for the opera house tour.
First we go through the Parco Reale and I notice how much the terrain has changed since we first arrived.
We’re puzzled by not seeing the lights that are supposed to be between the park and Piazza Castello but will need to check this out another time since the rain has started to get a bit more serious.
The opera house has a fantastic gate and, if you’re lucky, as you walk through they will be playing opera on loudspeakers. I took a video but missed the music this time.
The rain is putting paid to doing very much so we decide to stay more or less inside – in gallerias and under porticoes until 3pm when we can buy tour tickets. It may be raining hard but Turin looks pretty good in the rain with its lovely squares and shops. And the British book store is nicely chaotic too.
Some of the stores have beautiful windows. I wonder who shops in them.
As well, Liat has told me about a grocery store, Fiorfood inside the Galleria San Federico so I go to check that out. It’s very fancy. There are several rooms with expensive food goods, as well as upstairs, a large cafe, then a dining room and kitchen on the mezzanine. It’s eye candy!
Walking past the Egyptian museum we see another free museum that seems to be about space and size. We now don’t have enough time to check it out but I make a mental note in case we can squeeze it in during Monday or Tuesday. The rain is heavier again and we’re feeling pretty damp so, although it’s now time to buy our tour tickets for the opera, we’re done! Going back to the flat to dry off and rest seems a much better idea.
I’m really not minding that the rain forces us to relax and keep ourselves entertained after all.