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A Spring tour of Turin and Piedmont: from the pharaohs to the race course in ‘The Italian Job’

1 June 2019

From 23rd to 27th May 2019, FAI UK members, including supporters from US and the Netherlands, experienced full immersion in the culture, art and history of Turin and the surrounding Piedmont region.

Anna Somers Cocks, a trustee of FAI UK and part-time resident of Turin, volunteered to be the guide. “I love showing off the city because it has never been on the average tourist circuit but has many artistic high points and surprises. For example, I relished being able to say, ‘Everyone for the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition (Musei Reali, until 14 July 2019) to the right; everyone for the museums of criminal physiognomy and fruit, to the left'”.

The group learnt about and saw some of the greatest works of two baroque architects, Guarino Guarini and Filippo Juvarra, who made the reputation of Turin and Piedmont as places of refined but dramatic architecture. Our supporters also heard about the architects’ patrons, members of the 1000-year-old Savoy dynasty, whose determined campaign to rise from being dukes to kings (of Sicily in 1713, then of Sardegna), enabled them eventually to become kings of a unified Italy.

The fame of Turin’s Museo Egizio is now international, and the group understood why when it was given a tour by one of the museum’s Egyptologists of this, the second most important collection of Egyptian art and artefacts after the museum in Cairo.

For a link with modern times, the group saw iconic locations from the hit 1969 film ‘The Italian Job’.

The guided tour of FAI’s own Castello della Manta, with its decorative late Gothic frescoes of courtly heroes and heroines, was a considered a particularly entrancing morning by many participants.

The trip included a light-hearted production of ‘Un’italiana in Algeri’ by Rossini at the Teatro Regio, as well as the experience of seeing historic private homes and gardens as guests of their owners, who entertained them for lunches and dinner.

Find some photos of the trip here.

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