It's been a while I wanted to start a new serie of posts called "Tell me why I like Mondays" or something like that, since in the past 2 months I've been collecting some interesting material about how blissful a Monday can be in spite of its bad fame; but then I've realized it would have actually been a sort of bummer.
I'll explain you.
I guess that 99% of workers who spend 8 hours a day / 5 days a week in an office might suffer from the so called Monday Syndrome.
I actually also know someone who suffers from a Friday Syndrome, because he kinda freaks out at the idea of leaving his office life - but now I don't mean to do shallow psychological interpretations nor be judgemental about the proportion of satisfaction that his private life might have compared to the professional one.
Let's talk about me, and I surely belong to the 99% suffering from the Monday Sydrome, starting feeling gloomy already on Sunday night, willing to smash the alarm against the wall as soon as it rings (if only it wasn't a 400 € smartphone), and feeling like being at the dentist's as soon as I step inside the linoleum hall of my office.
I actually once felt relieved at the idea of having to go to the dentist, because it meant being able to go out from work earlier. See how wrecked I am??
Well, but since a couple of months my Monday Syndrome no longer exists.
I know that now you might with eyes wide open and you're about to beg me to tell you the magical recipe I've found to longer suffer from it; but, well, the point actually is that my counterpoison is not really a medecine: it's a sort of surgery, which has cut out the trouble at its roots.
That is, since March I've only been having just a working Monday.
So do you understand the logical contraddiction behind it?
I cannot boast for having found the cure to my allergy while I've actually simply kept myself away from the allergen.
But I wanted to share with you anyway the (ri)discoveries made during these Mondays of freedom; so, avoiding to proclaim obvious healings for the Monday Syndrome, I'm just inviting you to follow me during these strolls along an alternative Turin, half-desertic and charming.
Magic of Turin.
It's one of the crucial points on the map of the city's legends, both because it is considered the positive energy pole, the one that gathers the "good" forces, and because it is somehow connected to the location of the Grail: it should be a sort of street sign that tells where it is, a sort of evidence that only Robert Langdon and few other elected ones would be able to decrypt... but according to some others the Grail is actually here.
Here it is how it appears seen from Piazza Vittorio Veneto, with the wide and airy square acting like a fan to it, and the hill on the background framing it.
Maybe you still hadn't got it, but I have a photographical soft spot for the streetlamps...
They some of my favourite photo subjects.
And I like the fact that every city has different streetlamps: it's like a sort of identikit as well, something telling about its personality.
Turin's ones have this kind of small crown on top, as if to remember its past as a Queen, and perfectly coherent with its present noble allure.
Ok, but now I'll stop taking pictures of streetlamps and we can go on towards the Gran Madre.
The name itself, "Gran Madre" ("Great Mother"), doesn't sound like a Catholic name, does it?
Sure, Virgin Mary is the Mother of God, according to Catholicism; but Great Mother sounds more like a pagan appellation, something connected to the Old Religion.
And in fact the legend says that the Gran Madre church has actually been built over the remains of an old pagan temple, dedicated to the Egyptian goddes Isis.
And what is an Egyptian goddess doing in Turin?
Well, legend doesn't tell this; but after all the goal of a legend is not giving rational explanations, but actually giving more charme to those which apparently only look like coincidences - like for example the fact that Turin's Egyptian Museum is the second most important in the world, straight after the Cairo's one.
...And the mistery of the Gran Madre is all connected to this statue.
It represents the Faith, and, look, it is holding a goblet in its hand.
Faith is contemplating horizon... and actually I must say that the panorama she is looking at is not that bad.
They say that with the other hand she is pointing at the place where the Grail is hidden.
And, uhm, okay - that's something.
A direction, at least.
For everything else... you must have faith!
Its twin statue, at the opposite side of the church, bears a cross and symbolizes the religious devotion.
Turin is a city of saints and of demons; but, as for now, we currently are on the triggering pole for good energies, so we can think about saints only, at the moment.
Gran Madre church is quite bare and simple inside.
I don't know, maybe I've read too many Dan Brown's books and I was expecting to find some evidence for the Grail's quest, some mysterious symbol or some code to decrypt; but my profane eye didn't notice anything like that.
So I'd say we can go on with our walk, climbing up to the hill.
Turin's hill is a sort of world of its own, and I like it very much.
It used to be the VIP area of the city, but nowadays it is not anymore, because the "VIPs" do prefer other areas closer to the centre; therefore its Art Nouveau villas got a sort of shabby and decadent appeal that make them even more charming to me.
[and, just for the record, Italian horror director Dario Argento apparently agrees with me, since he's been setting in this area some of his movies. Actually some of the villas do have an eerie allure, but, since I'm a black cat, I must admit I love them so much]
For Turin's inhabitants, "going to the Cappuccini" means... making out; but on this Monday morning of Midmarch that I've chosen to go up to the Monte dei Cappuccini there were no couples looking for any privacy, just some Russian tourists and two girls chatting on a bench.
On the Cappuccini mount there is a church, a monastry, the Mountain Museum and a breathtaking view over Turin.
Just some minutes ago we were down there, where there is the river... and now we are contemplating it from above.
And over there, behind the Mole, there are some ugly buildings grey & orange: my office is there!
I must admit that, seeing it from this position, together with the awareness that it's Monday morning, gives me a certain shiver of sadic pleasure ;)
Whatever, from here panorama is really pretty, the day is sunny, temperatures are starting to get mild but still a tiny bit chilly, in a pleasant way...
I wouldn't go away anymore from here, but there is still another place that I'd like to check out today.
But before going I still have a picture to take:
Public fountains in Turin all have this same shape, with the water gush coming out from the mouth of a little bull.
We call them Turét (little bull in Piedmontese dialect).
The paving around the church and the fact of being surrounded by woods makes you almost forget that you are in a city... but here is the Turét reminding you that, with an interesting contrast between what can be considered a typical urban element and the surrounding of pebbles and green.
But let's move on towards the next stop.
Villa della Regina is a beautiful 1600s villa which is situated here in the hill according to the will of some Savoy king.
It actually has quite an interesting story, but I fear I'll have to tell it another day, because, as soon as I've reached its gates, I've found out that it's closed on Mondays.
For this time both me and the Russian tourists who have followed me have to get content about peeking it from the outside.
Don't know about them, but I surely want to come back here soon and tell you more about its story, both with words and with pictures.
I'm returning back by foot, in order to discover some hidden corner of the hill while I'm going down.
Gran Madre keeps on dominating, both the skyline and the fantasy of the graffiti artists.
Who knows, maybe it sometimes would really want to be attached at an hot air balloon and hang around a bit.
I wonder where it might want to go?
Maybe it would go to reach the Grail?
But also the Cappuccini sometimes peek out of the buildings...
And, since Turin is trying to become international, but it's still so bond to its traditions, you can see that the shops signs bear writings in four different languages: Italian, English, French and... Piedmontese dialect!
In a shop window I also find a little reminder...
And then I go towards the University Quarters to have lunch in a café with a piadina.
Also the Cinema Museum is closed today, and it feels a bit strange to see the Mole without its usual queue in front of it.
I wouldn't know if the Mole can be objectively called beautiful; but for us from Turin it actually is a sort of symbol of the city, peculiar and unique, it is something belonging to us, and, whenever I see it, I always greet it fondly.
It might be not that pretty, but it has its own harmony, and we are being reminded about it from the tattoo it is wearing on its side - that is the lights installation done by Mario Merz with the Fibonacci Sequence.
Fibonacci Sequence is a series of numbers identified by the homonymous Italian 1200's mathematician where each term is the sum of the previous two (so it is: 1 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 5 - 8 ... and so on).
The relation among these numbers verges towards the algebrical irrational number called golden section, which is present in many natural elements (in the shells spiral, for example) and which, according to the Ancient Greeks, is the translation in mathematical terms of the concept of beauty and harmony.
This is a bench exactly behind the Mole where I used to spend many lunch breaks (sandwich breaks, actually) during my university years.
I can aee it is still beloved ;)
Well, I still go to have an ice cream at Grom, in order to end well the day.
Gothic Cat e Siamese Cat claim that Grom ice cream is the best we have in Italy.
I personally think I could name at least 4 or 5 place in Turin only that, to my taste, do serve a better ice cream; but I surely don't mind Grom as well.
And anyway it has already become a sort of institution.
It was in year 2003 when Federico Grom and Guido Martinetti opened the first place in Turin.
Nowadays they have 4 gelaterie in Turin, there are some other all over Italy and they have even reached USA and Japan.
They strength surely is... marketing, since they've been able to build a very strong image mostly based on the quality of their ingredients.
They all come from local natural garrisons and no doubt you can taste the quality.
Price is a tiny bit higher comparing to other less famous gelaterie who still use products having the same range of quality; but as we know the mark has its price too.
So - now I'd go back home.
But you can stay, if you want to keep hanging around in Turin!
Thank you for your company during this walk, I'll wait for you for the next one!!