Friday, (June 24), I made my way from Monterosso, Cinque Terre, to the city of Turin. I was supposed to take two regional trains; one from Montesrosso to Genova and then one from Genova to Turin. Remember how I said in my last post that my train wasn’t supposed to be affected by the railway (worker) strike? Yeah, so that turned out to not be true.
My first train from Monterosso to Genova was on time and went smoothly. When I arrived at the Genova train station, I went straight to the schedule board to see where I needed to go to get on my next train. What I found was that all regional trains to Turin had been cancelled for that day. After hours of waiting in lines and negotiating, I found a bullet train that I could take from Genova to Turin. There was only one that day and you could not buy tickets for it in the station, you had to buy them when you got on the train.
I found the right platform and got on. Unintentionally, I got on at the dining car. It was super nice and spacious. I didn’t have an assigned ticket, so I just plopped down and set up shop at a nice comfy table with a great view. Several train workers passed by me but said nothing. I felt like I was getting away with something big.
I arrived in Turin around 2, only a couple hours later than I had originally planned. I got checked in and settled into my hotel, then headed out to explore the city.
I made my way to the Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, also known as GAM. In 1863, the GAM became the first museum in Italy dedicated to promoting and publicly showing a collection of modern art. Today, their collection boasts some 45,000 works of Italian artists from the 19th and 20th centuries.
One of the visiting exhibitions featured the work of Braco Dimitrijević. Dimitrijević is a Yugoslavian artist whose work deals mainly with history and our place in it. In 1998, he did an exhibition in which he placed pieces of art in the animal enclosures at the Paris Zoo. The visiting exhibition in Turin featured photographs from this zoo exhibition. I found this to be the most fascinating part of the exhibition. It’s an interesting concept to think about; how animals and humans interact with art and what exactly defines the proper exhibition space for art.
After finishing up at the GAM, I went to the supermarket to grab a quick dinner.
Day 1: June 25 (first full day)
Ever since I was little, I have been borderline obsessed with Ancient Egypt. I have always found mummies and other ancient artifacts to be fascinating and intriguing. It has always been a dream of mine to go to Egypt. I would love to see the pyramids and other archaeological sites and the world-famous archaeology museum there.
One of the things Turin is most well-known for, other than the Turin Shroud, is it’s Egyptian museum. The sheer size of the place and the quantity of the artifacts reminded me a little of the British Museum. It houses over 30,000 artifacts from all of the different time periods of Ancient Egypt. One of the most noteworthy artifacts is the longest intact, Book of the Dead, written on papyrus paper. The whole museum was heaven for me-very overwhelming and awe-inspiring. I could have easily spent weeks exploring it all.
Aside from the museum itself being so amazing, there was also a visiting exhibition from Pompeii. It consisted of artifacts with Egyptian roots or inspiration. It mostly featured statues and frescos found at the villas of the wealthiest citizens of Pompeii at the time of the 79 A.D eruption.
After finishing up at the Egyptian museum, I grabbed a quick dinner. Right before sunset, I headed to the National Museum of Cinema. First, I went to the top of the Mole Antonelliana lookout tower, which is in the center of the museum. An elevator takes you up about 55o feet to the top, for a panoramic view of the city.
After watching the sunset over the city, I went and looked around the museum. The museum houses all types of artifacts and objects from the beginning of film to the present. It also houses stage items from early Italian movies and other memorabilia. The museum also has a huge collection of film posters.
The museum was just crazy. It was more like a funhouse than a museum. There was also a really cool visiting exhibition of movie posters from Cuba from the 1940’s, when Cuba was first starting to build movie theaters. I stayed and looked around until the museum closed at 11:00 pm.
Day 2: June 26
I got an early start to pack up and grab some breakfast before heading out. I had some time before I had to catch my train to Milan at 11:10, so I went to the Museum of the Holy Shroud.
One of the two main reasons I went to Turin was in hopes of seeing the Turin Shroud (the other was to visit the Egypt Museum). The Turin Shroud is a piece of linen cloth bearing the image of a man; believed to be the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth. Disappointingly, the actual shroud was not on display- it rarely is. They really only put it on display every 5-10 years or for special events. The last time it was on display to the public was last year (2015).
Although the actual shroud was not on display, the museum had several life size replicas of it, as well as blown-up images of the different sections of the shroud. The museum explained the long history of the storage of the shroud over the years; it was brought to Turin in 1578, and has been stored and preserved there ever since. It also described all of the scientific research and analysis that has been done on the shroud throughout history. (Of course) no photography was allowed inside the museum, so all of these were taken sneakily on my phone…
The museum has over 160 objects relating to the shroud and this scientific research, as well as pieces of art from throughout history depicting the use of the shroud. The majority of the art related to the shroud depicted how the shroud was placed over the body. This was interesting because the shroud is very long and has two sides to it, so I’ve always wondered how it was placed over the body.
The museum is inside of the church that houses the shroud when it is actually out on display, the Church of the Holy Shroud. When the real shroud isn’t out, an exact replica is there in its place.
After finishing up at the museum, I headed back to my hotel, checked out, and made my way to the train station.
Around 11, I had to catch the bullet train from Turin to Milan, where I’ll be for a couple days before my family meets me there!!!!