July 8, 2010

Fabric of Torino

Posted in Trek through Italy at 7:08 AM by goingbeyondzebra

It was a Saturday. The interns were being dropped into Turin with a map, a picture of places we were supposed to find, and a list of Bible verses that we were supposed to find photographic representations for. Three of us had never been to this city before, but we all knew a little about its history and reputation. We had three hours.

Turin (called Torino in Italy) is a place of spiritual unrest. Many feel that Torino contains important spiritual points for both “good” and “evil”. It is believed that underneath the Piazza Statuto, one of Torino’s main squares, lies the “Gate to Hell.”  This Piazza also supposedly forms a point in a triangle of evil magic that stretches from Torino, to London, and to Los Angeles. Surrounded by a history of death and burials, this area is a key point in the satanic lore surrounding Turin.

In stark contrast, a few streets away rests the Shroud of Turin, a length of cloth revered as a holy relic. Some believe this cloth was used to wrap Christ after His death and contains His image. Here also lies an axis in the believed triangle of white magic, which contains Lyons, France, and Prague.

Satanism and mysticism perhaps have such a strong pull in this city because of its high concentration of varied religions. When the Catholic Church was persecuting and exiling those with different beliefs, Torino opened its doors as a haven for all religions. Anyone from Jews to Muslims came to this city, causing the Church to consider it a place of cults. This reputation built until it almost became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once marked as an area with a high concentration of cultish actions, cults flocked to the city, which built its reputation further. Now it holds one of the largest satanic churches in Europe.

We made our way across the city, snapping photographs when something caught our interest. Jonathan was even approached by a poor Gypsy begging for money. The poor and homeless are a frequent site in this city. Then abruptly, the area changed. No longer were we in a dirty city street, lined with a mixture of old and new. Suddenly we were walking along a marble path, lined with stores usually reserved for the elite. Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Rolex, these were just a few of the names that met our eyes. What happened? Were we still in the same city?

This conflict between the wealthy and the poor, between faith and materialism, is just another string adding to the fabric on tension woven throughout Torino. Next to a plaque commemorating a Waldensian pastor who had been hung and burned for his beliefs, sat a stand of balloons for sale, bouncing in the breeze of people passing by. A poor woman grasped her child as she sat on the steps of an old, Catholic Church. These are just a few of the things that met our eyes as we walked through the city.

Even the architects of Torino seemed to understand the conflicts within the city. Carved faces contorted into snarls and glares intermingle with angelic figures and statues of crosses and saints. Dark stones mix with light in contrast of colors and patterns.

Our quest ended at the Porta Palatina, what had once been the gates to the city during the time of rulers such as Caesar Augustus. We felt heavy, as if a pressure were squeezing around us, ever tightening its grasp. Having seen much, we left with a desire to learn more, and hope to return to this city before the end of our trip to hear and observe more of the symbolism and history entwined within the cloth of Torino.



1 Comment »

  1. Rhonda said,

    I really enjoyed the history lesson and the vivid descriptions. It gives you an idea too of the unseen spiritual world.

    Love you and praying for you!

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