Home Maidenhead News and Events Visit to Italy's Unification Exhibition in Turin 2011

Visit to Turin for the 150th Anniversary of the Unification of Italy

Two members of the Maidenhead Women’s Group for European Friendship have just returned from a splendid four day visit to Turin on the occasion of the celebrations for the 150th Anniversary of the Unification of Italy.

Turin is a city with long history, beginning in Roman times when it was established as a provisions centre for the Roman army because of its strategic position in the river Po valley, south of the Alps. In the modern era it has been heavily industrialised - Fiat and Lavazza both have their headquarters just outside the city.  Compared with Milan it is little known but the spotlight is on Turin this year because it was here that the initiatives and events which culminated in the unification of Italy took place.

Turin is a handsome, well-ordered city, its centre including three squares built in Baroque style (each with several exquisite Belle Epoque cafes serving delicious coffee, also hot chocolate, a local speciality!).  Its Egyptian Museum and Museum of the Cinema are renowned and there are several magnificent palaces. Our group focussed on the special exhibitions created for the 150th anniversary year.  “Making Italians” (“Fare gli italiani”) is a spectacular multi-media exhibition – painting, sculpture, photography, radio, film and television recordings and the worldwide web - to show what defines Italian identity.

An adjacent exhibition shows Italian flair and achievements in design and technology.  “Beauty and the Art of Life”, at the rebuilt former Royal Savoyard Palace, tells the story, through 350 paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, books etc., of how 11 Italian cities in turn have contributed over two millennia to the development of Italy, its identity and wonderful culture.  Sadly there was no time to see many of the other exhibitions including those celebrating Italian food and wine, design and technology, transport of the future and environment.

Among the Italian visitors to Turin were many school groups of all ages and a huge number of “Alpini”, all choosing to have their annual reunion in Turin. The lively atmosphere in the city at this time, as well as the superb exhibitions, made this one of the best city visits our two members have ever made.

Prepared by Jill Hume, May 2011


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