Wednesday, 31 October, 2018
This would be my third Halloween in Torino. The first one I was too tired to go out but Krish and Adrianna did and came back telling me tales of candles, lights, costumes… apparently, Torino was mad for Halloween. The second, last year, I went out too and saw many people in costume wandering about the streets and squares. So this year I was prepared but also curious.
Why is Torino so obsessed with Halloween?
While I was doing research about this, I got sidetracked. Were it not pouring with rain every day and so close to the day I had to pack up and leave, I’d have made this a larger, more elaborate, project – to go visit and photograph all the things that make up this history, part fact, part legend.
The research is a bit overwhelming, to be honest. You need only Google Turin and magic to see the sites which will give you more information. I’ll try to get the main points down. (Edit: I’ve also read this blog entry that slams the whole thing. Decide for yourself. Personally, I’m not unhappy because, as I’ve said above, this is part legend and an entertaining one it is.)
The reasons for Turin’s recognition are rooted in the legend of the founding of the city, born after Zeus had hurled Phaeton, Prince of Egypt, in the river Po. H landed where is now the Fountain of the Four Seasons, located on the banks of the river in Valentino Park. So was founded an Egyptian Turin and Egypt is where magic is said to have begun.
Historians tell us that the Savoy family were always interested in alchemy and the art flourished in Turin. There are said to have been three alchemic caves below the city and the alchemists told Cristina (Maria Cristina of France, the daughter of Henri IV and wife of Vittorio Amedeo I of Savoy who ruled after her husband died) where they were. She never betrayed their secret. Some say they are below the Palazzo Madama, while others locate them in the park of the palace itself. They’ve actually never been found.
Then it seems there are magic triangles. Three points on the map where major cities of magic are located. Torino is in both. The white magic triangle is Prague, Lyon and Turin. The black magic triangle is San Francisco, London and Turin. Turin is the city that has both – of great significance in the world of magic. The statues that mark the points in Turin are for the white, the statues of Castor and Pollux at Piazza Castello, and for the black the Caduti del Frejus n Piazza Statuto, These statues stare at each other across the distance and each has a pentagram on its head.
This explains the mysterious Grotto di Merlinho magic shop is in Piazza Statuto! It’s never been open when I’ve walked by but it’s always intrigued me. (And that’s when I discovered how many magic shops there are in Torino.) Many feel that under the statue – topped by who some believe is Lucifer – is a portal to hell. This is probably connected with the fact that the tunnel that linked Italy to France was there – as well as the entrances to the Alchemic caves. But more about those in a bit.
At the beautiful round Gran Madre church The Holy Grail is said to be buried, pointed at by the gaze of ‘Faith’ holding a chalice. This and the Shroud, then. The plot thickens…maybe.
I also read about the Palazzo Trucchi di Levaldigi (40 Via Milano) also known as Palazzo del Diavolo, the devil’s palace. The legend says that an apprentice wizard tried to summon Satan here and was turned into its ornate creepy door with the devil’s face as a knocker. There are mysterious deaths and ghosts here, they say. The building is now a bank, and it has the highest turnover of night guards in the city. The Torinesi believe in magic. The door is magnificent, with many carvings – the knocker slightly disappointing, not as large as the legend!
Turin has attracted many philosophers, magicians, and authors – Nostradamus, Apollonius of Tyana, Bartolomeo Bosco, Nietzsche… and now me! If I return to Turin, some magical exploration is necessary!
But, anyway, it’s time to move on to the present day Halloween in Turin! And if you want to read more: The New York Times and The Washington Post have articles. Just click!
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