The Devil’s Bridge in the Lanzo Valleys

Today I want to talk to you about a magical and misterious place, symbol of Lanzo and its valleys.

I’m talking about the Devil’s Bridge, or original name Ponte del Ròch (“Stone Bridge” in Piedmontese), was built at the end of 1300 as a direct connection between the Lanzo Valleys and Turin, crossing the Stura river without passing by the neighboring villages. The cost for its construction was 1400 florins and a tax on wine was imposed on the population of Lanzo for 10 years.

In 1564 a door was constructed on the bridge (of which, nowadays, only the arch is visible) and was closed during outbreaks of epidemics, such as the plague, to prevent contagion from outsiders. In September of that same year a toll was introduced, called “the bill of the place of origin”, marked with the seal of Lanzo; anyone without it could not cross the bridge.

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An ancient church just a stone’s throw from Turin

Today I will show you a real jewel located just a few minutes from Cascina 6b; it’s about the Plebeian Church of San Maurizio Canavese in the province of Turin.

Some curiosities

The church dates back to the 11th century and has a Romanesque appearance. The original building was reshaped in the 12th century with the formation of three naves and the preservation of the apse and bell tower. 
Since the beginning of the 1700s, internal changes were made, such as the construction of the side altars and the moving of the main altar.
The central nave preserves a suggestive series of frescoes including a pictorial cycle in 24 episodes, created in 1495 by the Pinerolo painters Bartolomeo and Sebastiano Serra, representing scenes from the life of Christ, from the Annunciation to the Crucifixion and death on the Cross, and a series of prophets portrayed in the underarch of the chapel of the Beata Vergine del Santo Rosario (“Blessed Virgin of the Holy Rosary”), between the 1400s and 1500s, of very fine workmanship.

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A day at the Natural Park of La Mandria

What’s better than spending an entire day outdoors immersed in nature in total relaxation? In my opinion there is nothing more beautiful.

Today I want to take you around the Parco della Mandria in Venaria Reale.

Some curiosities

The Parco della Mandria, adjacent to the Royal Residence of Venaria Reale, was the first regional park established in Italy in 1978, but its history is much older.

This area, today approximately 2.000 hectares, was born in the 16th century as a hunting reserve for the royal family of the Savoy and equipped for the stay of the king and the court. King Vittorio Amedeo II inserted a horse farm for the royal stables from which the name “La Mandria” (the herd) derived. Afterwards, King Vittorio Emanuele II had the Borgo Castello and other buildings built to live there, it seems, with his morganatic wife Rosa Vercellana, also known as the “Bela Rosin”.

Upon the death of Vittorio Emanuele II the estate passed to the “Medici del Vascello” marquises, during which portions of land were sold for the construction of various residences and a golf course. In 1976 it became property of the Piedmont Region, which established the Regional Park of La Mandria.

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Welcome To The Museo Egizio Of Turin

Hi, today I would like to take you on a journey inside the Egyptian culture. Few populations left so many suggestive proofs of their existence, for this reason, I want to take you to the Egyptian Museum of Turin, the world’s oldest museum devoted entirely to ancient Egyptian culture. As regards value and the quantity of archaeological finds, the Egyptian Museum of Turin is considered the biggest and most important museum of the world, second only to the Egyptian Museum of Cairo.

For sure you are wondering what Egypt has to do with Turin?

We have to thank King Charles Felix of Savoy who in 1824 founded the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Turin, acquiring a collection of 5.628 relics collected by Bernardino Drovetti, in addition to the antiquities already owned by the Savoy family.

The Italian Archeological Mission found other relics between 1900 and 1935 which were later added to the museum’s collection.

Nowadays the Egyptian Museum of Turin is located in the Palace of the Academy of Sciences, the impressive seventeenth century building whose construction began in 1679 by the architect Michelangelo Garove on the basis of the original project of Guarino Guarini

Starting from the 1980s a new itinerary for visitors with new exhibition spaces was planned, such as a large room designed to house antiquities from the Predynastic Period and Old Kingdom on the ground floor. When the Winter Olympics were held in Turin in 2006, the statuary was rearranged by the set designer Dante Ferretti. The last intervention radically refurbished the spaces, the whole museum itinerary and exhibition facilities with a view to the great reopening in 2015

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The Palazzina di caccia di Stupinigi

Waiting for spring or summer, when it is possible to walk in the greenery, we have decided to continue the tours among the architectural gems of Turin and its province.

Today we will tell you about the Palazzina of Stupinigi, one of the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy dedicated to hunting and festivities. We will tell you how the origin of the Palazzina were linked to the amusement and how, today, it is the scenario for a perfect and realistic jump in the past, hosting important temporary and permanent exhibitions.

The construction work of the Palazzina of Stupinigi, started in 1798 and was commissioned by Victor Amadeus II of Savoy, for leisure activities, including hunting, the favorite hobby of royals. A pavilion with a few apartments suitable for short breaks, for the duration of hunting trips, has nothing to do with the majesty and ambition of the project of the Royal Residence of Venaria Reale.

However, over the years, the theme of simplicity was slowly abandoned, until the construction of the building that we can visit today, characterized by a sumptuous pavilion dome painted in blue with gold profiles, by frescoed halls which tell the story of the myth of Diana (goddess of hunting and protector of the woods), by a park and the long straight avenue at the entrance, which in the original project allowed to reach the center of the city of Turin.

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The magic of holidays

From the first days of December, around the 8th to be precise, a clear mechanism triggered in me, which I repeat with a certain perseverance and unconscious dedication throughout the month: every time I come back home, I wear a pair of Christmas socks. It’s probably my way of preparing for the upcoming holidays, my ritual follows roughly the natural course of the life of the fir trees decorated in the houses, from the Immaculate Conception to the Epiphany. If wearing Christmas socks before December 25th allows me to emphasize the eager anticipation of childhood, wearing them afterwards allows me to drag on, for a few more days, that ephemeral and by now too fleeting lightness that Christmas brings with it.

So why not keep these sensations alive by making a roundup of Christmas activities that can be done around Cascina 6b?

Let’s stop all the chit-chat, our grandma would say… stop seeing Christmas movies and eating panettone (Italian Christmas cake) leftovers, let’s enjoy the latest markets, the latest illuminated streets, the latest decorations and the latest cinnamon and ginger biscuits. To begin, I would like to tell you about the “Christmas is Real” event held inside the royal stables of the magical Palazzina di Caccia of Stupinigi.

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The Gran Balon, the historic flea market in the heart of Turin

In a moment, the air has become fizzy, and the early sunset brings the desire to enjoy the last rays of sunshine, belonging to a long-gone summer.

We have always thought that October was the month that best identifies Turin, the color of the sky, the streets covered by a carpet of yellow leaves, the scent of roasted chestnuts, the still crowded outdoors areas of restaurants, the street markets and the people walking around with red noses wearing too light jackets.

Talking about street markets, today we will talk about the Gran Balon, the historic open-air market of antiques, vintage and collecting which has been took place since 1985 every second Sunday of the month in the historic center of Turin from 8 am to 18 pm.

This huge market takes place along the streets Lanino, Mameli, Canale Carpanini, Cortile del Maglio and Borgo Dora with all kinds of stalls managed by the most disparate subject: artisans, collectors, and secondhand dealers in addition to the local antiques shops.

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From the Reservoir of Malciaussia towards the Lago Nero (Black Lake)

Here we are again, ready for a new trip surrounded by nature.

We know that we have been monothematic in the last articles, but why don’t spend these summer Sundays running away from the muggy weather and take refuge under the leafy branches of some trees, in a cool place, enjoying a breathtaking landscape?

So, let’s go! Just 60 km from Cascina 6b, in the Viù Valley, is located Malciaussia Lake, a scenic and clear reservoir which triggers peace and quietness from the very first gaze.

The reservoir can only be reached by car during summer season, because during winter the snow prevents the access. In summertime, only on public holidays, to keep under control the crowd of tourists, the access to the car park of Malciaussia Lake is characterized by a toll.

From the reservoir it is possible to admire Mount Lera, Rocciamelone and the Colle of Autaret which reflect their images in the clear waters of the lake.

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Vonzo, an enchanted village in the Lanzo valley

Today I would like to tell you about one of my favorite places.

Just 50 minutes by car from Cascina 6b, surrounded by nature, is located a small village named Vonzo, in Chialamberto district in the province of Turin. Vonzo is characterized by houses made of stone and a long tradition.

As soon as you get out of the car, the perceived sensation is that of leaving the chaos of the city for an old-fashioned atmosphere, characterized by small streets made by stone only accessible by walking, houses with embroidered curtains and doors that are always open, by locals’ small dogs with bandanas where it is written “even if I pretend that I am starving, I have already eaten”, by the sound of fresh water gushing from fountains, by the scent of coffee and freshly cut grass.

It can be said that Vonzo is a small village, a full-scale nativity scene, where children can play and run around freely because, as our mother always told us when we were little, “you can’t get lost, all the roads lead home”.

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