The Mystery of Religion and History of Film

I have always known about the Shroud of Turin, but didn’t realize it was here in Torino (Turin) myself until my friend Alice asked if we had seen it in a Facebook comment. Located in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, it is considered a pilgrimage stop for believers. The size of the cloth is 14 ft. 5 in x 3 ft. 7 inches. It it is only on display certain times of the year and not this July or August. This morning we were able to see the display in the church that had the facsimile of the face of Christ enlarged so you could see the detail. Many knelt before it in prayer while others may have pondered the question, “Is the Shroud of Turin real.” Some scientists say it is a forgery made during the medieval period when reportedly someone even confessed to making it. Other scientists say that the people in medieval times did not have the technology to produce such an artifact. The Vatican has neither accepted nor rejected it. The current Pope wrote a beautiful statement upon seeing it about how we are fortunate to be in a beautiful place of prayer and peace.

Since it was so sunny out we spent some time walking from piazza to piazza past elegant stores, churches, and other old buildings. Some of the piazzas had fountains where children joyfully played in the water. This city has such a blend of old world and new. Right outside our hotel where sleek trolleys glide by, we discovered a retro one parked.

Lunch was at Baratti & Milano, an elegant cafe since 1858. Stepping inside is like stepping into a time warp. Servers wear black and white with bow ties, napkins are embossed, and toasted ham and cheese sandwiches are served on China plates. We also tried Bicerin which is the signature drink of the city. It’s hot coffee, melted chocolate, and real whipped cream.

Outside one the piazzas we passed a man with a pile of sand on a tarp. It looked like he was making a sand castle but later when we passed it again, we saw he had created a beautiful dog with glass eyes. I think it looks real.

Only 8 minutes from our hotel is the National Museum of Cinema. It’s housed in Mole Antonelliana. It is an amazing museum that winds from the ground floor to the dome following the history of cinema. We saw very early pictures drawn on frames that you can spin in a circle and look through slits in the sides to get the figures to move, and stereoscopes. One picture showed people going to a theater to take a trip around the world by moving from chair to chair to look at photos through a stereoscope. I liked this quote on an information board. “Photographic views were a way to discover the “un-seen” and to preserve a memory of the “already seen.”

There were old cameras dating back to the 1800s and all sorts of movie clips or sets you could visit.

What was truly amazing about the museum was just standing on the balcony that wound its way to the top. At times, the lights dimmed, dramatic music played, and a light show of images played on the ceiling. I was really astounded to discover that the glass elevator we rode on yesterday to the viewing platform, rose up on wires suspended out in the open from the dome as if in a circus. I have never seen anything like it. One of the last exhibits was an Orson Wells film projected on ceiling where people lie on their backs and watch it on the ceiling. I thought that was unusual.

Back at the hotel we decided to have refreshments on the upper terrace on the fourth floor where they have actually planted grass. It’s fun to look up at the Mole and see people in the tower.

Dinner tonight was at M**Bun. Its slow cooked fast food. We had grilled chicken sandwiches with salad, homemade potato chips, and tiramisu. I tried the Mole Cola, their local version of Coke and it was good.

We spent some time walking through different piazzas and, one of them, Piazza Reale, was full of families enjoying a young pianist. One young boy jumped right in the fountain that shoots out of the sidewalk, but his family didn’t care. Several vendors walked around with balloons covered with blinking lights. We concluded the evening having a glass of wine in their outdoor bar area right on the square. It’s a pleasant evening in the 60s. We will miss Torino. Tomorrow we travel to Aosta in the mountains.

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