Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Turin's Oriental Art Museum

Besides being the very first Italian capital, Turin has always been a leading and trendy city in Italy.
Many national symbols like sport, fashion, automobile industry, cinema and Eataly were born right in this city, where you can also find a number of unique museums, collections, regular exhibits and big events.

Among Turin's big museums there's the Oriental Art Museum, a real gem as it has the largest Asian collection in Italy with its 1,500 works coming from China, India, Cambodia, Japan, Iran, Pakistan and even Tibet. A whole section is devoted to the Islamic art too.
This amazing museum is located in the 17th century Palazzo Mazzonis conveniently located near Via Garibaldi, the pedestrian shopping street and in the Quadrilatero Romano neighborhood, the historical ancient Roman area, near the Porta Palazzo market.

The legend has it that even the French thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau lived in this area of Turin in 1731. Even though there is no evidence, we like to believe it is true for this is one of our favorite areas in Turin where you can do window shopping, find out new indie stores and even enjoy a great meal in the week-end in one of the many restaurants.
Finally, this museum has a unique appeal as it literally welcomes you and leads by hand through ages and geographical areas you wouldn't otherwise have the chance to see.

The building itself is very charming and its courtyard is divided into a Japanese garden with a tiny pond and some plants, on one side and a zen garden on the other.  
Many events and family days are organized throughout the year to share this amazing collection with curious visitors and inquisitive kids. Workshops and thematic visits highlight specific sections and talks are also offered to shad some light about a specific art style or period.

There are many impressive works preserved and exhibited in this museum, one of the most famous is a print of the Hokusai's Under the Great Wave off Kanawa.
So the best days to visit the museum are when this famous print gets out of its protective storage and can be viewed and admired and on the first day of every Chinese Lunar Year.
In fact, the museum includes a series of 12 statues, one for each astrological sign and an official ceremony is held to celebrate the passage of the animal.

Reliefs of dancing Ganesh and Indian Gods, laying golden Buddhas, Samurai armors, Tibetan mandalas and Islamic china are just some of the wonders you can see in Turin's Oriental Art Museum.
Reach it from Via Garibaldi turning in Via Sant'Agostino up to Via San Domenico 11.


Once your visit is over, if you walk back on Via Sant'Agostino, you'll find some cozy and picturesque eateries like a tiny tea room with cupcakes, clafoutis and cookies and a savory pizza, focaccia and farinata bar set up like a sailors' retreat.

Turin will amaze you and  you'll also find your bliss;)

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