I want to tell you how much I am enjoying roaming around the city with my new bike. I discovered that Turin have a network of reserved bike lanes summing up to 207 km (128 miles), thus I can actually explore the whole city by bike and you, as visitors, can do the same.
You don’t need a fancy bike, just a simple city bike, like mine, is sufficient to go everywhere, safely and with a lot of fun…not to mention the several natural and architectural attractions you can see.
My latest bike tour took me to the so called “rivers junction park” located at the north west corner of the city. I rode my bike from my home to one of the main squares, called Piazza Vittorio Veneto, (by the way it is among the largest squares in the world), surrounded by covered walkways and dozens of clubs for the night movida.
I took a left on “lungo Po” and rode my bike along a nice straigh bike lane surrounded by trees, so that the summer heat was not hard to face, until I got to the entrance of the Colletta Park or “rivers junction” park. You may not know that Turin is crossed by 4 rivers, 3 of which join into this park. The River Po is the longest river of Italy and also the biggest for volume of water, in fact all the rivers of norther Italy enter into it before its delta on the Adriatic sea, close to Venice. The River Dora Riparia and the River Stura have a storter lengh as they flow into the Po short after their sources.
Once I entered the park I rode just a bit until I approahed the point where the Dora Riparia inputs into the Po.
I could clearly distinguish one river from the other because the colour of their water is prety different: the Po is pretty greenish and deeper while the Dora has a light grey colour because its water come from the Glaciers on the Alps. The volume of water is not the original anymore because several canals have been created before the river approach the city to allow irrigation of the fields for agricultural purposes. However the show is still pretty nice, isn’t it?
Moving further I pedalled under a long boulevard surrounded by trees on both side, keeping me under a nice shade, despite the hot temperature, while the River Po was on my right side.
At the end of the boulevard, approx 2 miles long, the Po river widens quite a lot before receiving the water of the Stura. It is impossibile to see the exact point where the 2 rivers joins because a little wood hides the view, but you can feel it from the very wide basin that is created by the 2. In the picture here below you see the point where the Stura just entered the Po River and in a distance, on the top of the hill, you see the mighty Basilica of Superga, one of the most impressive baroque Churces in Town.
On the way back I decided to take a little detour, so I crossed the Po river just out of the Rivers Junction Park and rode my bike on the other side of it until I got to the round Church of the “Big Mother of God”. The Church was built between 1825 and 1828 to celebrate the return of the King, after the French invasion led by Napoleon. It is round, like the Pantheon, but the locals didn’t like it that much upon its completion and nicknamed it “the new Gasometer” of the city. The Church is nowadays pretty beloved, especially for the secrets some believe it hides.
The monumental staircase of the Church is embraced by 2 marble statues, one of which carries a glass in the left hand and a book on her knees, while her right forefinger points down. Based on the legend, the cup symbolizes the Holy Graal, while the forefingers point to the place where it is kept, in the foundations of the church. Believe it or not there are several city tours based on this story.
From the Big Mother i decided to ride my bike on the Capucins Hill, just behind it. Unfortunately I am not yet well trained, thus the rise was pretty hard. I didn’t make it to the top so I decided to stop at the lower terrace. The view over the city was good anyway. Ins’t it?
Then, it was time to ride back home so I took a right below the foundations of the Capucins old monastery and then a right at the end of the road, which took me to the roundabout of the Piazza Crimea. This is the very beginning of one of the most important avenues in town, dedicated to King Vittorio Emanuele II. In this place an obelisque was placed to celebrate the vistory of the Kingdom of Savoy against the Russian Empire, during the war of Crimea, held in 1855. It was actually a war between the Brits and the Russian, but the Savoys decided to join the British army.
Finally, on the other side of the avenue, i spotted one of the most weird palace built during the so called “liberty-eclectic” period, spanning from the last decade of the1800s to the first 2 decades of the 1900s. It’s just a sample of the arcitectural and decorative style that turned into the cradle of the bourgeoisie.
It was 6.00 pm when I took the last picture, so I rode my bike back home.
It was an interesting afternoon, I re discovered natural beauties I do not very often see and saw some others from a perspective that is different than driving my car.