The Gran(d) Torino

My Ancient History with Turin, Italy

When I was young, I had a limited exposure to Italian cities beyond the big three (Rome, Venice and Florence). As a result, my knowledge of Torino was framed by two things: The Shroud of Turin and The Gran Torino. If you are unfamiliar with either, let me explain:

The Shroud of Turin, or in Italian Sindone di Torino, is a burial shroud that people believe was the linen cloth that Jesus was buried in after his crucifixion. It is on display in the Cathedral in Turin and you too can visit, see the shroud and add your voice to the debate about its authenticity. For me, having learned of this in the 70’s on T.V., during the very weird time of That’s Incredible, Ripley’s Believe it or Not and a stream of shows about UFOs, I put this memory in the same part of my brain as other dubious discoveries.

The Gran Torino, apart from a movie with a cranky Clint Eastwood, was a truly bad-ass car from the 70’s built by Ford. On a related note, Turin was considered “the Detroit of Italy”. Stop and think about that for a minute. Is that a compliment or an insult?

Modern Understanding of Torino

The Streets of Torino
More recently I’ve learned much more about Torino that really stokes my interests, and currently is planned to be included in our next trip to Italy. “Why?” you may ask. Well certainly being the home of Juventus F.C. could be fun. Our son bought a team jersey (kit?) on a past trip to Rome and was roundly abused verbally by a string of people who truly hate that team. With that kind of passion, both for and against, it seems like a great opportunity to engage in a lively debate on on the primacy of various calcio teams across the boot.

Also, as mentioned above, the city was known as the Detroit of Italy due to being the home to FIAT, Lancia and Alfa Romeo car manufacturers. I would love to see a collection of old Cinquecento model FIAT cars, mostly because of their beauty, but also to hopefully wipe from my brain the memory of the awful original version of The Italian Job with Michael Caine. If you want to see some cool FIAT 500s, watch the Mark Wahlberg version. (That’s a phrase I never thought I would type.)

The most important reason for wanting to visit Turin is because of the creation of one Luigi Lavazza and the grocery store he opened in 1895. I love Lavazza coffee and feel like it is my duty to make a pilgrimage to the holy land of Coffee in Italia. In my next post, I’m going to try to encourage you to consider Lavazza’s delicious nectar of the gods (coffee) for your next purchase. Until then, if you would like to learn more about Torino, please take a look at the Office of Tourism and imagine enjoying an espresso in such a beautiful location!

A Presto,



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