Monday, June 22, 2015

Torino (Turin)

Q: What do I have in common with Pope Francis?

A: We both spent a day in Torino (that's Turin for you Americani) last week.

After I finished my exams, I took a little adventure to northern Italy (more on that later), and on my way home I spent a night in Torino.  Mainly, I went to see the Shroud of Turin, what some believe is the burial cloth of Jesus.

Of course, we couldn't take pictures, but here's an image from the official website of the Shroud.  Yes, it has it's own website.
I won't weigh in on its authenticity, but there were two things that made an impression on me.

First, maybe the more miraculous part of seeing the Shroud is the sense of mystery that it helps us recapture.  We were put into a group of about 75 people, and we were led into the Cathedral where the Shroud was on display.  We were given about 5 minutes of silence to look at it and pray before it.  Every day and every five minutes for about three months, a similar group of people stopped and stood in silence and prayed.  I think this hits our desire for silence and for mystery in our lives.  We are people who like to be in control and know what's going on.  But, with the Shroud, we don't know (and will probably never be certain) exactly what it is.  As one wise theology professor always reminded us, "We can say a lot of things about God, but at the end of the day all we can really do is bow before God's Mystery."  It think that's what our little group (and many others) tried to do for a brief five minutes.
"The greatest love"

Second, and at the risk of being a little irreverent, maybe the greater mystery was the fact that it was so well-organized.  And this is Italy!  Anyone who has read this blog knows that, in my experience, organization is not always Italy's cup of tea.  In fact, Italy is more like a jolting, jittering cup of espresso!  So to see something run so smoothly made me smile :)
They even had directional signs that didn't lead to a dead-end.  It warmed my heart a little!

Afterwards, I wandered around Torino and took in some of the sights.  I'll leave you with a sampling of what I saw. 

The tower of the Film Museum punctuates the skyline.

Torino is a city mixed with new and old.

When Italy was first united, Torino was the capital and residence of the king.  This is the Royal Piazza.

Outside of Cairo, Torino has the best Egyptian Museum in the world.  Are you looking for your mummy?

Sarcophagus fit for a king.

The ancient Egyptians didn't use pillows, but a head rest.  Seems like that would leave a crink in the neck.

The Sphinx.

I'm sure the audioguide said something interesting about this statue.

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Consolation, patroness of Torino.  (Come on, I had to get at least one church in here.)
I ended the day with a "bicerin" - the official drink of Torino.  It's a layer of dark chocolate, then a shot of espresso, followed with heavy cream.  I was actually a little shaky after drinking it....but oooooooh, was it good!


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