Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas & Torino

When we last left off, interrupted by the whirl and swirl of Christmas, I was digesting with you the mega-vision put before us by David & Co. It was lovely to leave off thinking about martyrdom for a few days, and celebrate the ONE for whom the Waldensians accepted death.

Back to another challenge: the city of Turin (Torino in Italian), melting pot of cultures, religions and ethnic groups. Home of the Shroud of Turin, and one of the largest satanic churches in the world. Up for it?

Some history first (courtesy of OM Italy!): “The first known human settlements in Torino are believed to have been established around 200 BC by tribes of Celtic origins. These early settlers remained in Torino for about 200 years, until the expansion of the Roman Empire northwards forced them to move further north into Western Europe around the first century. Torino remained a Roman controlled settlement for several hundred years until the eventual collapse of the Western Roman Empire, precipitated largely by the invasion of the Visigoths, who, in addition to the Franks, took control of Tornio at various points in its history. The city of Torino fell into obscurity.”

The Savoy family conquered the city in the year 1280, and the city began to rise in prominence. The Shroud of Turin arrived on the scene somewhere in the 1500’s, during the reign of a Duke of the Savoy family, a defender of Catholicism. The Savoy family was also credited with bringing art, culture and architecture to Torino; the layout and architecture of the city is surprisingly “French” and is often compared to Paris.

The main branch of the Savoy family line died out, and the throne passed to another branch, whose king, in 1848, conceded to religious freedom. During the reign of his son, Torino became the destination of many Italian exiles and liberals. (You’ll see why this is important next post.)

“Torino was one of the first cities in Italy to develop during the industrial revolution and it maintained is position at the forefront of Italian industry throughout the 20th C. It was among the first Italian cities to partake in the unification of Italy and was even designated as the capital of Italy for a time. The existence of the giant Fiat motor car factories in Torino brought about thousands of jobs and led to mass migration of Italian laborers from the South of the country. Today, Torino is considered to be Italy’s second city after Milan in terms of finance and industry.”

So, now you know more than you ever cared to about Torino, right? Nope, just getting warmed up…to be continued…

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