Gran Torino


Panoramic Stadio Di Olympico

You know you’re about to have a great time in a city when you lose your wallet within hours of landing in it.

I travelled to Turin (or Torino if you’re Italian) recently to take part in the European Music Council’s meeting to create a European Agenda for a Youth Music Policy; which all sounds very fancy indeed.  The weekend was based around workshops which in turned proved to be a stimulus for the agenda.  I worked with the Spiritus Mundi group and also took part in the seminar on Music Education.   Both were great, however this is not why I’m writing about this trip to such a beautiful Italian city.

Whilst in the city I managed to see most of the main ‘attractions’ during the hours of day and of night.   I say this because Torino is a beautiful place to be during the hours of darkness due to the way in which everything is lit up. (see photographs below).   There were many wonderfully peaceful catholic churches, grand piazzas, amazing restaurants & cafes and obviously the alps don’t look to bad either as they surround the perimeter of Torino.

I visited the ‘Duomo which is the resting place of the Turin Shroud, this has been damaged so many times by fire, water etc. . that it is now kept inside a display cabinet.  It felt absolutely silent and peaceful inside the Duomo and as you’d expect it is highly guarded by the legendary ‘Alpini‘.

Spending some time near the River Po, you can’t help but notice the huge church devoted to the Gran Madre Del Dio (Great Mother of God).  This church was beautiful both during the day and at night as you’ll see from the photographs, what interested me more though was the Capucinni Monastery on the hill next to the church.   My curiosity got the better of me and I took a wander up the long winding path to the friary of the monks.   A phenomenal view of the city was my reward and a quick visit and prayer in the church on the hilltop sent me back to the banks of the river.

Lastly I couldn’t have visited Torino without experiencing an Italian football match!  Having done my homework I knew that Torino were playing away at the weekend but I still had a chance to go and see Juventus.  Which I did, it was truly amazing!  90 minutes of amazing football as Juventus beat Lecce 4 – 0 with the help of El Capitano Allesandro Del Piero who appears to has a hero-like status for this team.

Back to the wallet though.  I had arrived and checked into my hostel and decided to venture into the city around dinner time for something to eat and a glass of wine.   After seeing some of the city and having some delicious meatballs, campari and red wine I took a bus back to the hostel.  In the cafe at the end of the road I took a few minutes to have a beer and send a text message to say Goodnight to my beautiful wife.  It turns out I had left my wallet on the counter as I tried in Italinglish to speak to the  bar man.   However as the whole trip progressed I discovered that St Padre Pio of Pietrocina & St Francis of Assisi were the only two Italian monks that had my back on this trip.  It turns out St Anthony of Padua also had a hand my wallet turning up I expect.  Lastly a huge thanks to all my new friends I met on the trip – You know who you are. . . thanks and stay in touch!