Saturday, June 16, 2018

Another Good Day in Torino and a Glorious Dinner in Varese's Sacro Monte

Thursday, 14 June, 2018

Today was my 150th consecutive day living in Italy's greater Venegono Superiore megalopolis!

Time flies when you're having fun.

After a good night's sleep in our Torino hotel, we would spend most of our morning exploring the Piemonte's most important city, after Mombaruzzo of course. 

That lunette window was
part of our bedroom's charm

 Woman in Yellow
in an early morning arcade

The Medusa may be beheaded
but you still should not look at her

 Torino has many structures
suggesting power like this one

Every piazza DEMANDS a statue
of a "Hero on Horseback"

 A modest entrance to a
random building

 I thought the phrase was
"Got Milk?"

At this point Laurie and
Dick Bellman sat down for
another café

I left them at a sidewalk table to go see the . . .

. . . landmark Mole Antonelliana

This building is the symbol of Torino with its 167 meter tower complete with an aluminum spire appearing on the Italian two cent Euro coin.

It was meant to be a synagogue when construction began in 1862 but it has never been used as a house of worship. Today it is the site of Italy's National Museum of Cinema.   

Former Italian Prime Minister
Silvio Berlusconi

I returned to Piazza Castello to reunite with Laurie and Dick, but only briefly as Dick was about to board one of those huge, double decker city tour busses to get a better feel for Torino as he was not flying home until Friday.

We, on the other hand, needed to return to our hotel as it was getting close to our 11:00 a.m. check-out time. Once that tasked was accomplished, we headed back onto Torino's arcaded streets so that Laurie could execute her now well thought out shopping campaign.

As for me . . .

. . . I had a chance to take LOTS
of pictures of the many interesting,
old merchant buildings

Italian coffee . . . TI AMO!

Arcaded protected lunch
time tables were ready

The Palazzo Madama

A revered statesman or writer

Maybe both.

Laurie in front of  the
Palazzo Carignano

This was the one time Prince of Torino's modest apartments. It now dedicates 30 of its rooms to the Museo Nazionale del Risorgimento Italiano that we would visit a bit later today.

Camillo Cavour was born here

He was one of Italy's greatest statesmen in the 1800s who spearheaded the Italian Unification Movement.

 Interesting building

Grandpa's Gelato
Hmmm . . .

Piazza San Carlos' entry in the
"Hero on Horseback" sweepstakes

Two churches side by side
on Piazza San Carlo

The Chiesa Santa Christina is on the left, the aptly named Chiesa San Carlo is on the right.

We were nearing our big site of the day, the Museo Nazionale del Risorgimento Italiano housed, as I said earlier, in the Palazzo Carignano.

This interesting museum is dedicated to the struggle to create and maintain the country that we have grown to love, Italy, from its former long standing conglomeration of warring city-states.

A closer look at the Palazzo Carignano

LOTS of bricks were used to
build this huge Palazzo

 Of course the main entrance to the
Palazzo had a "Hero on Horseback"

 "Lady, I would definitely NOT
sit there if I were you!"

We entered the Museo Nazionale
del Risorgimento Italiano

GREAT beards seem to be an
Italian tradition

Except for Christopher Columbus
from Genoa

When you entered the former Prince's
apartments you needed to be impressed

We were.

Colorful flags and Heraldry Shields
alway get my attention

 A Soldier's Life

Faithfully standing guard

The Coronation of Vittorio Amedeo II
as King of Sicily in 1713

I said I love Heraldry

Ancient Madonna and Child

A Declaration of the Rights of Man

I have to wonder if America's current Republican Party leaders have ever looked at a document like this unique one?

The Power of the Press
in a Democratic Society is
a fundamental principle

A Phrygian Cap like the one
worn in the previous cartoon

This cap and its red color are symbols of the revolution and the bloodshed on both sides of the Italian Unification battles.

 Napoleon figured into the
Piemonte's history . . .

. . . quite prominently

Laurie should NOT be doing this to
a young Emperor Napoleon's likeness!

Laurie marveled at the intricate
needle work on this fabric

 King Vittorio Emanuelle I
King of Sardinia 1802-1821

Fortunately for everyone, the King had the legs to pull off the desired look in his Coronation Robes.

A printing press is a key component
to any revolutionary movement

 So is a well regulated Army

 As are a few knife wielding 
radical conspirator

 The Palazzo's ceilings were all
works of art to some degree

Carlo Alberto
King of Sardinia 1831-1849

He was a key figure in the Italian Unification Movement.

A bust of King Carlo Alberto

As usual, GREAT mustache!

 King Carlo Alberto's
ornate ink well set

What a nose!

Shouldn't this style of helmet
be THE prized award at all
surfing competitions?

 Revolutions usually mean
Armies fighting


The site of a newly united Italy's
first Parliament

 The Parliament Room was as
ornate as the rest of the Palazzo

A new, unified Italy required
weavers to make new national flags


What to do when suddenly awakened by a bare breasted woman AND a man holding his own decapitated head in his hand?

Well, he could shoot at them
or toss an all'Orsini hand grenade

 A Zouave soldier's uniform

A group of Zouave dressed soldier's fought in the American Civil War on the Northern side. 

We have seen many of these unique uniforms at our son Michael's Civil War Re-enactments over the years. 

Vittorio Emanuele II
King of Sardinia 1849-1861
King of Italy 1861-1878

The facial hair was OUTSTANDING!

He was the first King of the now unified Italian state.

 Giuseppe Garibaldi
leading his famed Il Mille or
Redshirts from Sicily in the
Unification Movement

A wounded soldier from
Garibaldi's Army

 The Medal Collection of the
Savio Brothers

They were brave warriors from the looks of it.

 "Follow Me!"

I'd follow Vittorio Emanuele II's beard anywhere into battle!

 "We're in this together!"
The fight in Napoli

A final look at
King Vittorio Emanuele II

The new nation of Italy gave rise to the political cartoon as a means of expression.

Lady Public Opinion is not happy
with that man trying to get
out of that tomb

So a priest, a pig and a well
dressed Italian woman meet in . . .

 The USA's Pacific Fleet is
perceived to have lots of weapons

Let this be a warning to all of you,

Bare breasted grape pickers
are always a big hit in Torino

When in doubt, wrap yourself
in the nation's flag and call
yourself a patriot

We are trying to sign him
to play Special Teams for the
2019 Skorpions

I'd buy a bottle from him

 That reminds me, I've got to call
Joe Mollica about Pamplona, Spain's
Running of the Bulls next month

Ancient Weapons of War

 No idea who he is but
his beard deserves to be on
an important statue

Colorful Embroidered Banner

 The Sun

It was definitely out today on this hot Piemonte day.

Alpini hat on the top left

 From the looks of it,
being in the Italian Navy
has its down sides

Ornate Medals are an Italian MUST!

The 30th and final room of this
worthwhile museum again was aimed
at getting you to believe in the power
of the state over the individual

Displaying a Declaration
of the new Italian state

Huge, ornate ceiling in
Room 30

Laurie dwarfed by Room 30's

 For their sake, I hope that hand
grenade was made by the ACME Co.

Too late for him

A well dressed Field Doctor
preparing to treat the wounded

Ten Year Commemoration
of Anita Garibaldi's death

She was Unification hero Giuseppe Garibaldi's wife.

One final look up in Room 30
before leaving

It was a spectacular museum that was well worth the price of admission.

 Lunch with a beer sounded good

Boar meat polenta was a good idea

We wisely shared just one of their large portions.

Polenta is useful for 4 reasons . . .
Serves as soup,
Serves as bread,
Satiates and warms up your hands,

I think that is actually five reasons but why quibble, it was good even in the day's heat.

On Piazza Castello

Emanuele Filiberto
Duke of Aosta

A fitting pick for this War Memorial as he was known as the "Undefeated Duke" as Commander of the Italian Third Army during World War I.

More Soldiers

 An Alpini on the right

"Hero on Horseback"

That reminds me,
we have to get to Las Vegas to see
Jenn, Andy and Kevin soon after
we get back to California

Arcade shade was PERFETTO!

Great looking farmacia

Our last look at Torino was
the Chiesa Santa Christina
on Piazza San Carlo

We were back on the road for the two hour 30 minute drive back to the Villa Skorpion.

We only had a few hours at home to freshen up before heading out again for dinner with friends atop Varese's Sacro Monte.

We were to meet at Enzo and Nency's home to carpool up to Sacro Monte. But first, Enzo surprised me with . . .

. . . Medals from the weekend's
Italian Flag Championships

I could not attend this tournament in Grosetto as I wanted to focus all of my energies on our Senior team's Wild Card Playoff Game that same weekend and the sites were separated by a four hour drive.

On the left is the U15 squad's National Championship medal and on the right is the U17's Third Place medal.


Dinner at the famed Al Borducan

The Al Bourdan offers MAGNIFICENT
views of Varese and its surroundings

With Santa Barbara and Enzo
for pre-dinner Prosecco on the
old balcony

I love the translation attempts
into English

Santa Barbara ordered this dish and was happy.

The dishes and wine that Laurie and I had were as delicious as the ristorante's furnishings were pleasing to the eye.

The Al Borducan's signature digestive is the strong Elixir Al Borducan. Tradition demands that it be sipped slowly, not downed in one shot.

Davide Bregonzio established this amazing hill top ristorante in the 1860s, fought in Garibaldi's Il Mille Army and invented this Elixir Al Borducan.

Quite a life don't you think?

Candle lit with 1930's era
music gently playing throughout
our meal


One last chance for a sugar
high before heading home

The Al Borducan has won its
fair share of culinary awards
over the many years

It's GREAT to
be a Skorpion! 

After tonight's spectacular meal with these wonderful members of the Skorpions family, I again realize that I want to be me if I ever grow up!

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