I recently had the pleasure to visit friends in the beautiful city of Turin in the north of Italy. Although I have always heard good things about Turin, it was my first time to this part of Italy and on arrival I was quite taken aback at just how different it appeared to the other parts of the country I know and love. Over the few days we were there I came to love the sights, the sounds and the friendly, relaxed people we encountered.
Geographically speaking, Turin sits on Italy’s largest river, the Po, and is surrounded on the western and northern side by the Alps allowing for stunning views throughout the city. The architecture is largely Baroque and there are many green spaces giving the city a general sense of calm.
I have already mentioned in previous World Sounds entries that the one sound that epitomises Italy for me is church bells. We spent a lot of time walking around Turin over the few days we were there and this allowed us to visit a number of churches along the way.
Chiesa di San Giovanni Evangelista
The Evangelical church of San Giovanni was built in the nineteenth century and is located on one of the main avenues leading to the river Po, the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. The church features a bell tower sitting at 45 metres high, which I stopped to record as we walked past.
Gran Madre di Dio
I had entered Gran Madre di Dio church to admire the beautiful interior without realising the Sunday mass service was just finishing. I stood discretely at the back and when the service ended recorded the organist as he played whilst people left.
Santuario Della Consolata
We had been walking for a good few hours and decided to stop for a drink in the beautiful Piazza della Consolata square. This is also the location of Santuario Della Consolata church, so curiosity got the better of me and I headed inside. From the outside, the impression is quite minimal, yet once you step inside you are amazed by stunning polychrome rococo decoration. The Sunday mass was nearing it’s end so I discretely stood at the back and recorded the closing remarks of the priest’s sermon, followed by the lord’s prayer.
After admiring the interiour of the church, we headed back out and sat down at a small bar in the corner of Piazza della Consolata. A few drinks, and a couple of hours later I realised the church bell tower was ringing each hour. With nine o’clock approaching, I set up my recorder opposite the church, hit record and headed back to finish my cocktail.
I hadn’t intended to record too much in Turin as I wanted to spend some quality time with friends. But there were some lovely soundscapes to experience, particularly those in and around the many churches scattered around the city so I couldn’t help myself. I would have loved to have explored further afield – the surrounding countryside seems to be very attractive. Hopefully next time I visit, I will have time to venture further away from the city and enjoy the sights and sounds of the surrounding countryside.