Turin is a wonderful city to visit, the food is great and there is plenty to see and do regardless of the weather. On our last full day in Turin we decided to catch the funicular up the mountain to see the baroque Basilica Superga and to hopefully get a glimpse of the snow covered mountains that provided such a scenic backdrop for the city. To get to the Basilica from the city centre you can catch a tram from Piazza Castello and get off at the Sassi stop which is not far from the Superga Station. The ride up on the funicular takes about twenty minutes and offers a glimpse of the private residences of locals as it climbs to the summit of the Superga hill.
The Basilica was founded by Duke Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy in 1706 and is dedicated to our Lady of Grace. The design of the basilica was the work of a Sicilian architect, Filippo Juvarra and construction took 14 years to complete. On a day when the sun was shining and the sky a vibrant blue, the golden exterior glowed and I, along with a few others, went a little crazy taking numerous photos of this magnificent building. We entered the basilica for a brief visit, it was surprisingly still open because we had been told that the hours were limited at this time of year. Inside we found walls covered in graffiti dating back to World War II and a beautifully decorated interior of the dome situated over the main alter. Not long after entering we were given the signal that the basilica was closing so we were unable to climb the spiral staircase up to the balcony of the dome where you can apparently see a spectacular panoramic view of Turin and it’s surrounds.
We gave the Royal Tombs and the Royal Apartments a miss preferring to be outdoors and walk around the Basilica via a well trodden garden path. It is Autumn when we visit, the colours of the foliage range from green to golden and the temperature is just right for being outside. Some visitors are having a picnic in one of the parks, others are relaxing on park benches and taking pleasure in their surroundings. Instead of seeing the tombs of the princes and kings of the House of Savoy we saw the site where a plane crashed in 1949. On the plane was the legendary Grande Torino football team, the entire team was killed along with their management, technical staff and accompanying journalists. A monument sits to the side of the path which runs behind the basilica, flowers, pictures and memorabilia pay tribute to those who perished.
When it comes time to leave we discover that the next train down to Sassi is not due to leave for another hour or more. The small bar in the station offers freshly made panini to eat with your beverage of choice, you can sit at a table in the garden or on the balcony, both offer a good view. The weather was perfect and so we made the most of it and enjoyed a fresh salami and cheese panini and a glass of vino while waiting for the train. The views from the bar and the terrace above are wonderful even when it is hazy, I can only imagine how spectacular the alps and the city look on a clear and crisp day.