So, I’m too lazy to sign up for a real Flickr account, and I’ve maxed out my uploads for a month. So above you will find some new pictures.
In the doldrums between the beginning of fall and the xmas high season of consumer craziness, Turin seemed to be sleeping. (or my SADS was rearing its ugly head, and I was sleeping) Each evening the sun goes down sooner and sooner, and most nights are encased in a thick fog.
I was feeling pensive for much of last week. Two of my students cancelled on me, so I had some free time. I literally have done everything I can think of, tourist-wise at least, here in Turin, except for a couple of castles.
So, last Tuesday and Wednesday I decided to see if I could cram any more culture into my head and soul, with visits to both Palazzo Reale, and La Venaria Reale. Tuesday’s Palazzo Reale was more of the same, with silk covered walls, giant chandeliers, ballrooms bedecked in the baroque style, and various bedrooms filled with matching furniture (the horse statue and the green ballroom pics above are from this place). This palace in particular has not really ever fallen out of service, so is more or less intact, and has been renovated several times. It was unfortunately a snoozefest, marked by the old Italian guide literally standing 6 inches behind me in what could only be an attempt to make me move through the rooms faster (I was in the last tour group of the day). Um, it’s not my fault your English audio guide takes forever to describe each room, back it up old man! [Though, you do get points for actually having an audio guide…]
Wednesday, however, blew me away. For a variety of reasons, but mostly due to my long slow goodbye to Torino, I have been feeling melancholy. So of course in the middle of a rainy, grey, and foggy week, is the perfect time to visit a tumble-down palace ! In my defense, it was sunny when I woke up, and made my way towards the train station, but in true Torino style, the weather promptly turned into the background of a spooky horror film.
La Venaria Reale is a counterpoint to Palazzo Reale. Neglected for decades, and only renovated fairly recently, it was basically a shell of a building. The region has decided to restore it (including its HUGE gardens in order to become the “Versailles of Italy”) as they did Castello di Rivoli, with a contemporary view. Most of the rooms are painted in white tones, highlighting what’s left (not much) of the crumbling stucco work, frescoes, and paintings. There are projections of actors in period dress talking about aspects of court life, and an odd contemporary vision of the scullery involving burning antlers and a big slide show. So, given that the actors were all talking in Italian, it was becoming another snoozefest.
But then you sweep aside a giant red velvet curtain and literally walk into light…into the “Galleria Grande” designed by the architect Juvarra. Holy crap. Yes, I was already feeling bummed, but I was literally almost moved to tears. I believe it’s the most beautiful room I’ve seen in all of my travels. Since I was there during the middle of the week and during the off-season, I was in the long hall by myself (especially since all the museum proctors took a smoke break at the same time) and I found I almost couldn’t leave. If not for the sun beginning to set, and the need to catch the last shuttle home, I would have laid in the middle of the floor for hours.
But, it was time to go.
At home, tensions with the roommate are at an all-time high, so when Carlo ‘invited’ me over for some fun times, I jumped at the chance. I had to walk a good mile or two to his attic apartment, and at 12 AM, the fog was the kind of fog that perhaps you could describe as pea soup. Visibility was maybe 12-20 feet, so luckily I knew where I was going, but it was rather spooky, and cold. Alas! A combination of factors led to a complete and utter (and a first…) failure in the sex department. Perhaps it was the spooky walk through the fog, where at any moment Jack the Ripper could appear with a gas lantern in his hand. Perhaps it was my general moodiness or my guilt about Michele. Perhaps it was the way that Carlo did this weird moaning thing that started to seriously get on my nerves, or that sex with him (who doesn’t own lube? I mean, really…bad gay!!) was like sticking a Genovese Salami into a cocktail straw. Eventually, I gave up, apologized, and slunk home…
Thank goodness that Thursday was cookie baking day, so I was able to eat my feelings, and was well prepared for that Sunday….
~ by Daniel on November 24, 2009.