Flushed with suc­cess in Turin


It is a per­fect spring day in the Ital­ian city of Torino (Turin), ideal for a stroll. Sal­ly­ing forth along Via Cer­naia, through kilo­me­tres of mag­nif­i­cent colon­naded walk­ways, we pass the pic­turesque Pi­azza San Carlo and then Pi­azza Castello with its tow­er­ing an­cient Ro­man fortress. Th­ese squares fea­ture stunning baroque ar­chi­tec­ture.

Soon af­ter, we ar­rive at the Ob­ser­va­tory and take the lift to the view­ing plat­form, where the panorama is spec­tac­u­lar. Far, far be­low, straight streets ar­row their way to­wards sub­ur­bia and a misty River Po; on the hori­zon the snowy Alps blaze in sunshine, dwarf­ing all.

Con­tin­u­ing on down Via Po, we browse over the wares of an­tiques deal­ers and book­sell­ers in Pi­azza Vit­to­rio Veneto, which is al­ready bustling with din­ers. At last we ar­rive on the banks of the River Po, at the en­trance to Parco del Valentino. This beau­ti­ful 40ha park of­fers paths for prom­e­nades along the river and space for ram­bles through hillocks and glades. The ef­fect is very nat­u­ral and pro­vides a haven for birds and an­i­mals. I am de­lighted by one squir­rel, which boldly hops down from a branch to clasp my calf, hop­ing for a treat, I think. There is also a re­con­structed medieval vil­lage that sells hand­made pe­riod cos­tumes and ac­ces­sories.

Af­ter our ex­plo­rations we have to search for a public toi­let and fi­nally lo­cate one well con­cealed in shrub­bery. De­spite our ba­sic Ital­ian, the in­struc­tions for en­try are some­what es­o­teric. Fortunately a lo­cal gen­tle­man of­fers as­sis­tance and, be­cause of our lack of req­ui­site coins, ad­vises me to leap in­side di­rectly on my friend’s exit. I do so, just be­fore the au­to­matic steel door slams shut.

But the pedestal sud­denly lifts up to empty into a chute that opens in the wall be­hind. A thun­der­ous gush of wa­ter en­sues and dis­in­fec­tant floods the floor. Pan­ick­ing, I quickly at­tempt to zip up my jeans, ex­pect­ing wa­ter jets from the walls at any mo­ment. Then a siren screeches and the door flies open, alert­ing passers-by. Fear­ing the Cara­binieri at any sec­ond, we flee.

We soon re­cover our equi­lib­rium, and nearly choke laugh­ing. We re­pair pronto to the Caffe San Carlo to or­der bicerins, an ir­re­sistible house bev­er­age of es­presso cof­fee, drink­ing choco­late and milk. It caps a per­fect day. Send your 400-word con­tri­bu­tion, with full postal ad­dress, to: travel@theaus­tralian.com.au. Colum­nists will re­ceive a se­lec­tion from Aus­tralian sta­tioner Notemaker that in­cludes a MiGoals pass­port wal­let ($29.95), Del­fon­ics can­vas pen­cil case ($16.95) and a cloth­bound Mole­sk­ine Voyageur note­book ($44.95). More: notemaker.com.au.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.