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9/24/2012

TURIN. CAPITAL OF ITALIAN CINEMA

Turin in Piedmont, next to the Alps, was the first capital of Italy's history.
Those who visit it for the first time are surprised by the beauty of old buildings and large parks, for many artistic and cultural events organized in every season, for teeming vitality of its citizens, which always find the time to take an evening aperitif or  a tour of the shops in downtown.

















Few people know, however that, until a century ago, Turin was the capital of cinema, city of film industry's  national image. 
Elect place for those who created dreams, 
artistic works made ​​of pictures and music, 
thanks to rich film productions now forgotten.









"Cenisio Film", "Itala", "Ridolfi Film", "Società Anonima Ambrosio", "Eula film", "Fert", "Film Artistica Gloria"; are names that only few know, maybe just movie experts. But it is thanks to these productions that the Italian film industry, just after the great invention of the brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière, in the early '900, built its fame.










Just before the first World War, in 1914, the director Mario Pastrone, following the script of the great writer Gabriele D'Annunnzio made in Turin the first Italian colossal: "Cabiria", a film which enjoyed great international success, being on the bill for six months in Paris, and for almost a year in New York.













Again in Turin, Arturo Ambrosio and Roberto Omegna began their adventure from a small photography shop, in the heart of the city, in  via Santa Teresa. The “Ambrosio Film” quickly became one of the most famous production company in Italy.













In 1907, the two businessmen moved their studios from via Nizza to the new stages in Borgo Dora, among Via Verona, Via Catania and via Cagliari, in the same places where today is located the Film Commission Torino Piemonte, a Turin-based company that deals with the management and promotion of the Piedmont as an ideal location for Italian and foreign  movie productions.














The Ambrosio Film, in via Catania, had a building of over 3000 square meters, with modern equipment and studios. In the close via Mantova, were instead tailoring workshops, dressing rooms, make-up rooms and services for filming. All this within only at a walking distance from the city downtown.















In 1907 in Turin was held the first Italian movie competition. And, in 1911, among the jurors sat Louis Lumière and Paul Nadar, two illustrious names of the history of cinema and photography.














All this artistic and industrial heat unfortunately was short-term, with the arrival of the First World War. But, for those who know and seek, many of those old films 
are preserved and largely restored in the 
Cinematheque of National Movie Museum in via Sospello.










The headquarters of the famous National Museum of Cinema, which houses the permanent exhibition is located in via Montebello, just inside the building symbol of the city: the Mole
Antonelliana. Here, in a spiral that runs through five floors , we see  the wonders of movie: memorabilia, sketches of costumes, sets, posters, scripts, autographs contracts, collections ranging from archeology of cinema to contemporary production.




















We gets excited to see Federico Fellini’s scarf and hat, the Marilyn Monroe’s bustier, the original costumes of "Lawrence of Arabia" or Charlie Chaplin’s bowler.














There are also organized special events and staged numerous exhibitions. The same Turin citizens are never tired of taking a walk to the Mole, where they can always learn something new about the cinema and take the opportunity to look at their city from above, going up the panoramic elevator.













The Museum, founded in 19 41 by historical and collector Maria Adriana Prolo, is supported in the projections by  the Cinema Massimo, which is right in via Verdi. Here almost every day of the year are planned retrospectives, exhibitions, meetings with directors and famous names in movie world.















Starting from the most important: the Torino Film Festival (TFF), an international movie festival that takes place every year in November, during this event the city attracts amateurs and professionals, artists and celebrities, all united by the desire to see and make quality cinema.









Productions that need the support of super modern technologies are turning to Virtual Reality & Multimedia Park or Lumiq Studios, born from the ashes of the glorious Fert productions, in corso Lombardia, which has a swimming pool for underwater shooting, graphics laboratories, 3D studios and virtual studios, the Europe largest "blue box", a projection and multifunction room and every wonder of modern cinema technology.














Even the prestigious National School of Cinema has a home in Piedmont: the Experimental Center of Cinematography, just a few km from Turin. Here the students, admitted by national selections, can take courses leading to everything related to the techniques of design and construction of animated images, then be entered direct in the world of movie through internships at major international European production companies.









But that's not all. Turin and landscapes of Piedmont are often chosen by international film productions, which use it as  a live stage; from the ancient city, to the old industrial architecture, including large green parks  next to the mountains and striking lights on the city rivers.




















But the most evocative story, dedicated to this city and the movie, is the film of  Italian director Davide Ferrario: "Dopo mezzanotte" (“After midnight”). 













A wonderful love story about cinema, staged inside the Mole Antonelliana, along the river  Po, in the quiet streets of this city; where the protagonists live in balance between dream and reality, thanks to the magic of Turin, perfect city to settle a movie.




















GIANDUIOTTO

Ingredients:
Serves 4
Cocoa powder 80 g
2 eggs
Sugar 150 g
100 g butter
Macaroons 100 g
Toasted hazelnuts 50 g
1 cup of whipped cream











Preparation:
Put a whole egg and egg yolk in a bowl, incorporate the sugar and beat until the mixture will become foamy.
At this point, add the cocoa and mix well.
Cut the butter into small pieces and place in a bowl, soften the butter by heating the cup with steam produced by the water boiling in a saucepan.
Stir in the sugar mixture and cocoa, stirring well with a wooden spoon or a whisk.
The butter should become creamy,  then blend it perfectly with the other ingredients.
Finely chop the almonds, crumble macaroons and combine the cream, stirring very carefully.
Cover with a greased paper a bit oiled a mold of charlotte, put in the mixture and level the surface.
Place in the refrigerator to chill for a couple of hours.







9/17/2012

THE OLD HEART OF TURIN

The area of ​​the "Quadrilatero Romano" is the example of how to recover  and renew the smallest and oldest side of a city, put it back on stage after years of neglect and propose it to the people as attractive place, without altering the fascination of its ancient history.







This "small portion of  Turin" with its narrow streets, the paved floor reminding us the more famous Trastevere (in Rome), with its old buildings and tinted windows, the small squares crowded with shops and rows of houses, is the oldest part of Turin, the real heart of the city.





We find it among via Garibaldi, Piazza Satuto, Corso Regina Margherita and Piazza Castello.
Its center is located in Piazza Savoia, where  we can see the obelisk erected to commemorate the abolition of the ecclesiastical court (Tribunal of Inquisition) in the city.






The ancient area is the perimeter where, once, was the “castrum”, the Roman military camp at the origin of Augusta Taurinorum,  latin name of  Torino, which doesn’t hide any of its most archaic part, visible in Piazza Duomo.






There we have a real Roman amphitheater, the Porte Palatine
(ancient doors of the city) and many old streets, all straight, neat, parallel, with well-defined intersections; right like in the great military camp, the castrum on the way to Gaul (France).






 Our ancestors built the city according 
to the prescribed rules of wizardry: 
the 4 doors are opened in the corresponding cardinal points,  
while the main street follows  
the path of the sun rising in the sky.





More recently, roughly until around the nineteenth century, the quadrangle housed three local markets, in three of its squares. Piazza d’Italia (now Piazza Palazzo di Città) was the herbs market , in via delle Quattro Pietre (close to Porte Palatine) were sold brooms and, in Piazza Savoia, truffles and poultry. Porta Palazzo is now the largest multiethnic market of Europe; while a popular destination for tourists interested in antique trade shops is the market named Balon.






This is a neighborhood where every building, 
every door, every brick has its own story to tell.






Piazza Emanuele Filiberto was called "district of ice", because up to at least two centuries ago here were fresh locals underground for the storage of goods. There were also special canals that brought water from the nearby Dora, now visible through the underground parking of the square.
Today's via Bonelli, in the '500 was known as the Executioner's street because at the No 2 of this way lived the Turin’s Executioner, who used to walk around all black dressed,

with his bag of tools.





In via Corte d’Appello we had the historic City Court, built on ancient remains of Roman Pretorian Prison. At the monarchy time, this building also housed the Senate.
The square between via Barbaroux and via degli Stampatori, typically medieval area, known as "zona del gambero" (“shrimp zone”) is home to the Historical Archives of the City, containing also papers dating back seven centuries ago.








Remarkable are also some ancient churches scattered here and there, inside the “quadrilatero”; some of which deserve to be remembered.
That one of St. Dominic is the only medieval church, located next to the terrible tribunal of the Inquisition.
The Corpus Christi church is located in the square where, in 1453 people assisted to a miracle, illustrated in the altarpiece.







The church of St. Francis reminds us about the visit of the famous Italian saint in the city, in 1214, and that one of Mercy, also known as "The Hanged’s Church", owes its name to the fact that, inside there, were buried dead men by hanging.
The Basilica of Consolata is the most important of Turin.
Here, on June 20 of each year, it’s celebrate a famous and crowded procession. Devotees living in houses along the way use to spread at their windows and balconies white sheets, in homage to the Virgo that passes through the city.







But Turin has also hosted a real famous illuminist. 
 Via Porta Palatina n° 11 housed for a few years J. J. Rousseau, converted to Catholicism and baptized 
in the church of the Holy Spirit, 
                 nearby Piazza Quattro Marzo.







Walking one day and one night by this ancient area we wouldn’t have enough time  to discover all the stories, curiosities,  the ancient and contemporary beauty of the “Quadrilatero Romano” (Roman Quadrilater). I wonder if the people walking among the trendy bars and fashion shops know about the thousands secrets 
enclosed in this old part of town.
Untill the late 80s, this neighborhood was inexplicably 
forgotten and abandoned; destined to a slow degradation, 
with its shady streets and old ‘800 shops never renewed.








In the early 90's the local community decided to invest resources, to improve its image. The renovation project has been successful: the district now faces the city 
with its 'bohemian style.
The trendy restaurants, wine bars, trattorias, pubs, ethnic and vintage shops are open until late night.
This is the place of the city where we can easily find  Italian artists and intellectuals.












A neighborhood in which to meet the dynamic Turin, 
a gathering of youth, university students and 
people looking for fun, food and relax.











But the most amazing time for the Roman Quadrilateral is a walk in the evening, especially in summer, when the hour of the local aperitif is the beginning of a long, fresh night.
When we find people strolling through the narrow alleys of a fascinating past that wait you to be discovered.













BICERIN
(chocolate liqueur typical of Turin)

Ingredients:
250g of cocoa powder
850g of sugar
2 gallons  of whole milk
150g of dark
hazelnut chocolate, or in tablet
1 pint of alcohol












Preparation:
Mix the milk without lumps with cocoa and sugar.
Warm up by adding the chopped chocolate ,stirring constantly.
Let the mixture boil for 15 minutes.
Let it cool and add the alcohol.
Put in the liquor bottle and store in a cool place or refrigerator, but remember to remove it at least one hour before serving.