17 June 2007.
After a few hours in the train, the scenes from the train windows told me that I had arrived in another Italy: the Tuscan hills had changed into the endless rice fields of Piedmont. And Turin is different from Florence. They say that the capital of Piedmont is the most French city in Italy—or, scherzando, the most Italian city in France—but my first impressions were that this city is much more Italian than the Florence populated by foreigners.
It is however true that the Italy of Turin is not the stereotypical kind of Italy. How could it be, when the most important museum is the Egypt Museum? The feeling I get is that while the Florentine looks inward and lives off being a Florentine, the Torinese instead looks forward and makes a living doing something meaningful. Turin is not occupied being itself: it is itself being occupied with something outside itself. And as a philosophy of life, the Torinese way of thinking seems more valid.
As I had only a couple of days to explore the city, I got only a superficial glance on most of the things. Some of my favorite things were the impressive Egypt Museum, the pleasant early nightlife at the Murazzi by the river Po, and finally the people. Everyone I met and talked to in Turin treated me like a human being instead of a clueless tourist to be duped.
In addition to staying at the capital of Piedmont, my friend invited me for a little stroll in the town of Bra, the birthplace of the Slow Food movement. Other than giving the locals a little material to gossip about for the next few days—Bra seems almost small enough to allow everyone to know everyone—we went to check out the enoteche to add to my collection of bottles to bring home with me.
One of the last things I did in Turin was to admire the views from the Mole, a spectacular building now housing the National Film Museum.