Cassandra's Travels to Turin

Turin, the city where the kings of Italy unified their kingdom, is a wonderful place for a winter weekend break.

Walk from one end of the city to the other under its arcaded streets, stop in the elegant chocolate shops selling Gianduja or be tempted by the delicious bread shops like Panificio Guala for the best Grissini or Rubata in Piazza Statuto. Have a glass of Ratafia - a heart warming (and little known outside Turin) cherry liqueur. I love discovering quirky things about cities.

I walked with friends to the liberty area of the city with its elegant houses, ornate doors and windows. Nearby is the old Campidoglio. This charming (and little known) part of Turin has cobbled streets, two story houses originally for the workers in the early 20th century factories, and an amusing collection of modern street art created by Mau. The artists liked painting on buildings- sunflowers in a window, a couple kissing and rays of sunshine.

We went back to the Piazza San Carlo to the beautiful Whist Club for lunch. Golden damask sofas steeped in grandeur, waited for guests who arrived across the exquisite parquet floor that led, on one side to the mirrored ballroom and to the other the dining room where dishes of freshly cooked pasta awaited us.

In the afternoon I walked along the corridors of the Palazzo Reale. In the armoury, life size horses were decorated with colourful plumes and ornate saddlery. To one side swords (whose metal work of the scabbards reminded me of the Whorl cuff I had designed from a trip to Japan) fanned out in a glass cabinet. Further on, the Turin Shroud was displayed above the chapel.

I wondered back across the city to an exhibition of the French photographer: Robert Doisneau. I loved his photograph: Picasso's Breads. He had an amazing way of observing and recording men at work, on film. These two quotes say much of this great man:

''I feel the same gratitude toward the Renault factory, where, for five years, I dragged around a bag as heavy as a dead donkey. There, between flashes of magnesium powder, I learned about the world of those who get up early.'' (Robert Doisneau, À l'imparfait de l'objectif, Editions Actes Sud, 1995)

''The photos that interest me, that I find successful, are those that don't come to a close, that don't tell the whole story, but instead remain open for other people to walk beside for a while, to continue as they wish: a steppingstone to a dream, in a sense.'' (Robert Doisneau, 1979)

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