When in Turin, wandering the noisy city streets is as fun as it can get, but one could find great pleasure, too, in simply gazing upon the big great city from afar. It’s true, there are no Piazzale Michelangelo or Tour Montparnasse here, but Turin’s alternatives come pretty close to perfection in what concerns panoramic viewing:
Since I mentioned it in a previous post, here are some quick info about the hot-air balloon overflying Turin – aka The Turin Eye:
- the balloon is anchored, so don’t expect to be floating around like in a Jules Verne novel
- it lifts up to 150m high
- flights last up to 20 minutes
- the number of passengers taking the ride may vary, being decided on the spot before each take-off, by the pilot himself, based on weather conditions/wind
- the weekly schedule of the flights is published each Sunday and may suffer daily updates on the official website (check the “orari di apertura” section)
- there’s no need to book your departure in advance, except for groups larger than 5 or for exclusive trips
- if you are not willing to wait in line (the longest takes about 20 mins), you can purchase a “priority boarding” pass allowing you to skip it
It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me the Red Army Choir, Orchestra and Ballet in concert at Teatro Colloseo, Turin on November 6th 2016 is one of the most interesting and alluring musical events of the fall. Here in Turin we’ll have the opportunity of seeing perform the The MVD Ensemble, founded under the patronage of the Ministry of Internal Affairs back in 1939, one of the two groups who have the official right of calling themselves “The Red Army Choir”.
The Italians have this quite charming (and a little bit funny) expression describing one’s hearty appetite and ability to enjoy food – “essere una buona forchetta” in literal translation corresponding to ”being a good fork”. It is not something to shy from or to be embarrassed by, but rather a condition to be embraced and praised, since in this country food is serious matter. Maybe a bit too much, sometimes.
This year we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the internationally famous MITO SettembreMusica Festival, which fills both Turin and Milan with music savvy visitors and classical music and romanticism and dreamy atmosphere. This year the festival lasts from September 2nd to September 22nd and revolves around the timely theme “Fathers and Sons”; featuring creations covering over 800 years of music, it concentrates upon not only famous lineages, but also on artistic heritage shared by mutual interest and affinities. Melomaniacs will get in touch with the evolution of classical music, its impact upon our daily mundane lives and the various links existing between composers from different ages and styles.
This post is exclusively dedicated to the mountain lovers and to those looking for some peace & quiet oto avoid getting caught up in the maelstrom of their city life. My very personal top 3 spots within a 130 km radius (and/or a two-hours car ride) from Turin would be:
Vallée de la Clarée – a marvelous valley in Val-des-Près – the French Alps, near to Montginèvre, Briançon and the French-Italian border. There are oh-so-many day trips to make, with lakes and beautiful mountain scenery at only 2 hours of hiking away (if armed with a backpack full of energy bars & ham sandwiches and loads of water), with fantastically cheap camping and caravan sites up in the wilderness (!) and with lots friendly people proud to be mountaineers.
Mont Viso (3841m) – this is actually in Italy and it is the highest peak in the Cottian Alps, the pride and joy of the entire Piedmont, since many believe this is the mountain featured on the Paramount Pictures logo. To attempt a direct climb would be a bit risky (not to say foolish) without preparation, but one can enjoy the view from Pian del Re (2020m) – from where Po River flows – or from Pian della Regina (1745m, you can also camp here); since 2013 it entered the Unesco World Biosphere Reserve Network.
Colle del Nivolet (2612m) – situated at the heart of Grand Paradiso National Park, reachable from the picturesque Ceresole Reale and displaying a string of enchanting lakes that will accompany you up to the top, where one can enjoy a delicious local dish at the Savoy Refuge (2534m) before preparing for the last push.
Don’t get me wrong, this top 3 is indeed made out of awesome spots not to be missed, but Italy in general and its Northern regions (Piedmont, Aosta) in particular feature some of Europe’s best places for hiking: Colle del Moncenisio, Col du Galibier, Colle del Agnello and many others could easily be added to my list. Explore and enjoy!
N.B.: Pay attention to the moment of the year you are planning your trip, the road to some of these destinations is closed to the public from mid September until the spring.
With September not so far away and the city of Turin finally coming up to life after the hot summer, it is safe to say it is going to be a busy autumn with the many many things launched upon the unsuspecting visitor/tourist prancing the city streets.
In the headlines is the much-awaited Madre Terra Salone del Gusto, held in Turin from September 22nd to September 26th and featuring special events and panels dedicated to preserving the Earth and the natural resources becoming so scarce nowadays, biodiversity and the need to change damaging culinary habits, all under the compelling umbrella of the Slow Food Movement, born here in Piedmont in the 1980’s and turned into an international phenomenon impossibly to ignore, essential for the future on & of (!) the planet.
Take, for example, Barolo, Langhe. Brainstorm for about 3 seconds. The result must include, for sure, vineyards & wine, music & Collisioni Festival. Fewer know that the latter, is, actually, a LITERARY and music festival. Furthermore, the participants will keep exclusive company this year with the likes of Svetlana Alexievich, Richard Ford, and Michel Houellebecq.
For one of my first posts, I chose to introduce you to one of my favorite spots in Italy (and maybe in Europe – although I still have so many places to go, things to explore). Not to mention it is only one hour and a half away from Turin (80 km that is), by car, taking the highway towards Pinerolo and then following directions for Villar Perosa, Perosa Argentina, Villaretto, Mentoulles and finally Chambons. There, turn right towards Pra Catinat for a 10 minutes ride between the clouds.
So, without further ado, I introduce all hiking lovers and wild-at-heart nature fans among you to Puy and Pequerel, two wonderful and picturesque mountain villages (i.e. borgate) situated in Val Chisone, Piedmont, right at the center of Orsiera Rocciavrè Regional Park.
Everyone who knows me also knows about my undying love for Pearl Jam and their music, not to mention Eddie Vedder’s lyrics and voice. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that my first post of this section – and, why not?, the motto of my work here – is one of their most uplifting creations.
Taken from their 1998 Yield album, and quite resembling Led Zeppelin’s Going to California (but hey! if there were no inspiration and influences in music there would be no music at all), Given to Fly remains a timeless work of art (of the rocking kind) and will put its stamp on generations to come, no doubt about it.
‘… he still gives his love, he just gives it away
The love he receives is the love that is saved
And sometimes is seen a strange spot in the sky
A human being that was given to fly’