The Seven Deadly Sins of Turin
21 January, 2015
The sins of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride were singled out as the deadliest by early Christians, and yet their popularity remains unchecked. Turin, with its sublime beauty, its elegantpalazzosand boulevards, and enchanting personality, is a great place to indulge your favourites.
Lust is commonly regarded as being produced by excessive thinking. For abundances we have the Palazzo dell’Accademia delle Science,containing the Museo Egizio Museum, which holds the most important collection of Egyptian archaeological treasures outside Cairo. But nothing is more opulent than the Piazza Castello. This square boasts several museums, theatres, and cafés of note. There we find the Museo Civico d’Arte Antica in the fabulous Palazzo Madama, a castle that is half medieval and half Baroque, and the museum contains modern and contemporary works of art. At night it’s easier to reach the state of lust. The city’s best night spots are in Murazzi del Po, amongst the archways next to the rive, between the Vittorio Emanuele I and Umberto I bridges. Much to be recommended are the clubs Hiroshima Mon Amour (Via Bossoli, 83), the United Club (Corso Vigevano, 33) which is the meeting point for the city’s rock scene, and Blah Blah (Via Po, 21), in a former cinema.
For unbridled consumption of food and drink to the point of satiety and beyond, try a breakfast or brunch at the morning food specialist Andrea Perino(Via Cavour, 10), a favourite of such luminaries as Alexandre Dumas, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Giacomo Puccini. Or have an excellent cup of coffee at the welcoming Caffè Mulassano (Piazza Castello, 15). This art nouveau café, decorated with gilt carvings of bronze, wood, and leather, was once frequented by the Savoy family and by performers from the adjacent Teatro Regio. Here you’ll find the city’s best stand-up espresso. To continue with luxurious excess, there’s the Caffè San Carlo (Piazza San Carlo, 156), an unbeatable option. There’s nothing like its cakes and sweets, made to recipes more than a century old. To end the day with some serious overeating, your best choice is Sfashion (Via Cesare Battisti, 13), for Turin’s best pizzas, with thick dough and traditional Neapolitan ingredients. But your gluttony needn’t end there. Keep in mind that the first chocolate in tablet form was made in Turin when you visit Al Bicerin (Piazza della Consolata, 5) to try some. In addition, in March the city hosts a famous chocolate fair, known as Cioccola-tó.
Greed is a sin of excess in the acquisition of wealth. The elegant tree-lined boulevards and porticoed promenades feature the city’s most expensive fashion boutiques. More affordable clothing is to be found on the pedestrian mall on Via Garibaldi, and in Via Po there are amazing shops selling records and vintage or alternative clothes. But we can also find just the opposite in Turin, the birthplace of Arte Povera (“poor art”), a revolutionary artistic movement in the 1960s, whose members employed humble materials to awaken memories and symbolisms through sculpture and installations. The movement had a major international impact thanks to artists like Gilberto Zorio, Giuseppe Penone, Mario Merz, and Michelangelo Pistoletto.
Sloth is related to ordinary laziness or the lack of motivation to do anything. It’s a well-known fact that during a trip the days are often exhausting. That’s why it makes sense to schedule in some relaxation time, and the best place to chill in Turin is Parco Valentino, the park on the banks of the Po. A number of open-air bars and restaurants operate there from late spring to early autumn. And at night, there’s nothing better than to walk back to your room at the Hotel Dogana Vecchia (Via Corte d’Appello, 4), built in the early 19th C. Mozart was a guest there, and so was Napoleon. The location in the Quadrilatero Romano makes it one of the city’s best hotels.
Wrath may be described as a disorderly, uncontrolled sentiment, such as that which can be provoked by one of the world’s greatest historical mysteries: The Holy Shroud of Turin, revered by many as the burial shroud of Jesus ever since 1898, when photographic techniques revealed the negative imprint of a man’s face and body on the cloth. The Museo della Sindone is in the crypt of the church of the Sacra Sindone (Via Santo Doménico, 28). Another building that can disquiet us is the Museo Nazionale del Risorgimento Italiano, located in the Baroque Palazzo Carignano, a former residence of princes.
Envy is characterised by the coveting of someone else’s possessions. And that’s the predominant feeling among visitors to the Museo dell'Automobile as they eye the four-wheeled gems on display, the most marvellous cars on the planet. But to turn our envy a deeper shade of green we should visit Turin’s cathedral, the Duomo di San Giovanni (Piazza San Giovanni), built in 1491-1498 on the site of three old churches. In one of the chapel the actual Holy Shroud of Turin is kept.
On nearly all lists of sins, pride is regarded as the original one and the most serious of all. It is identified as the desire to be more important or attractive than others. In the past, the local football teams led the league at a distance from the rest. In the 1940s Torino FC was the undisputed leader, winning five consecutive titles, but the entire teams died in a plane crash in 1949. Four decades later it was the turn of Turin’s other first-division team, Juventus, starring the three-time Golden Boot winner Michel Platini. But there are other sources of pride, such as one of the city’s most famous symbols, the 167-meter tower Mole Antonelliana (Via Montebello, 20), with an aluminium spire, reaching closer to heaven than any other building in this magical city.
Report by Isabel y Luis Comunicación
Pictures by Turismo Torino e Provincia
21 January, 2015