A week in Turin, Italy

Last fall we spent a week in Turin (Torino), Italy.  It is in NW Italy, west of Milan, at the foot of the Alps.  We rented an apartment with friends.  It was a great neighborhood, just a few blocks from Via Po, one of the main streets of Turin.

Via Po

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Nice views from our apartment

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Around the corner from our apartment was the Mole Antonelliana.

20181012_201256358_iOS C the Mole

The Mole Antonelliana is a major landmark in Turin.  A mole, in Italian, is a building of monumental proportions.  Designed by architect Antonelli in 1863, it was built to be a synagogue.  Because of cost overruns and a falling out between the architect and the Jewish community, the city of Turin took it over in 1876, trading another piece of land for the synagogue.  It was eventually finished in 1889.  At 550 feet, the Mole Antonelliana is the tallest unreinforced brick building in the world (built without a steel girder skeleton).  It is now home to the Museo del Cinema.


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Our first morning in Turin we took a city walking tour. 

We started near the Porta Nuova train station.

IMG_7121 C Porta Nuova - train station


City water fountains feature a bull, the emblem of Turin.

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IMG_7125 C Piazza San Carlo - Chiesas Santa Cristina & San Carlo Borromeo

Piazza San Carlo

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On the corner of one of the buildings in this plaza is a “picture” of the Shroud of Turin. 

DSC05947 C1 inset of the shroud of Turin


Many streets in Turin are lined with arcades and there are also lots of shopping arcades.

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DSC05952 C    DSC05953 C corner of Pietro Micca & Giuseppe Barbaroux


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The district of Aurora has very narrow streets and is one of the most ancient areas of the city.

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DSC06055 C Porta Palatina

Porta Palatina is from the 1st century BC.  It was the northern gateway when Turin was a Roman walled city.

DSC05966 C Porta Palatina

  Emperor Augustus


DSC05963 C Carredrale di San Giovanni Battista

The Duomo di San Giovanni Battista, built between 1491-98, is home to the Shroud of Turin.  The shroud is stored away but you can visit a museum dedicated to it.

DSC06053 C the Duomo

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The Cathedral Bell Tower was built in 1469.

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DSC05972 C Roman Theater ruins

Next to the Cathedral are ruins of a Roman amphitheater.


DSC05978 C Piazza Reale & Castello

Piazza Castello is Turin’s huge central square.  At one end is the Royal Palace, Palazzo Reale.  Built around 1646, it was an historic palace of the House of Savoy.  In 1946, it became the property of the state and was turned into a decorative arts museum.

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DSC06155 C Palazzo Madama

At the other end of the piazza is Palazzo Madama.  It was built in the 13th century on the site of another one of the city’s Roman gates.  It was the original seat of of the Italian parliament and is now a museum.

DSC05987 C Palazzo Madama & Castello degli Acaja

DSC05985 C Cavalieri d'Italia  DSC05986 C


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Sidewalk sand art


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Piazza Carignano

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DSC05991 C Piazza Carignano

DSC05994 C apartment of the Princes


Piazza Carlo Alberto

DSC05995 C Piazza Carlo Alberto

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We finished our tour at another large piazza, the Piazza Vittorio Veneto, next to the Po River.

DSC05999 C Piazza Vittorio Veneto

DSC06001 C across the Po - Gran madre di Dio

Across the river is the picturesque Gran Madre di Dio.

DSC06000 C Chiesa Gran Madre Di Dio


We could always spot the Mole to find our way home.

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A cute shop in our neighborhood.

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Next up will be our side trip to a truffle festival…

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Back in Funchal, Madeira

One of the Canary Islands, Madeira, Portugal is the last bit of land before sailing off across the Atlantic to America.  Funchal, the largest city on the island, is a popular cruise port.  We’ve been here a couple times, but there is always something new for us to see.  Click 2013 and 2016 to see pictures from prior visits.

DSC05725 Funchal C

This visit, we took a bus up the hill above Funchal to the village of Monte, which is 1800 feet above sea level.  This is the old train station where the bus dropped us off.

DSC05726 Old Monte Train Station C

A popular touristy thing to do up here is ride a toboggan, on the road, down part of the hill back toward Funchal – controlled by two guys with a rope.  We did not do this.  But I took pictures of the crazy people who did….

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DSC05727 Tobogan C

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This looks like an accident waiting to happen to me!  This is the first turn, then they wind back and forth down the hill – on the street – with cars around.  Will remembers doing this when he was a kid on a visit with his parents.  (They were returning to the states after his father’s army posting in Italy in the 50s.)

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Our Lady of Monte is a church on the hilltop with great views.

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You can see our ship, the Prinsendam, in the harbor.

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A chapel from 1489 stood on this hill.  It was rebuilt in 1741 and again in 1818 after an earthquake.  Charles I of Hapsburg, the last emperor of Austria, died here in 1922 and is buried at this church.

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We wandered through this pretty little park.

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DSC05753 Parque do Monte C

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We took a cable car from Monte down to the waterfront. 

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DSC05775 Cable Car ride C

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Looking back up the hill.

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Time for a snack!

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DSC05793 Bolo do Caco C  DSC05794 C

DSC05796 Ham & Cheese C

DSC05798 Old main square C

As a result of a flood in 2010, some engineering work uncovered remains of old stone-built structures, along with the stone pavement of the original Customs Square.  It was also known to be the location of the Pillory from 1486. 

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Ribeira de Santa Luzia

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Funchal Cathedral

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And back to the port.

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Sailing away from Funchal, on our way across the Atlantic and home.

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This was a great trip!

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