Turin has 114 churches, Gran Madre di Dio or Great Mother of God is where the royal family used to go to every Sunday, walking from Palazzo Reale through Via Po, every Sunday.
It is located beyond the Po River in a square with the same name: Piazza Gran Madre. From Piazza Castello it is a great walk to get some sense of Turin, her style and architecture. Before crossing the river you can side Piazza Vittorio (Veneto) the largest square in Europe enjoying the shade or shelter of its arches.
This church was built to celebrate King Victor Emmanuel I of Savoy, as he came back to power after the Napoleonic army retreated; its construction started in 1818 but its works stopped for 10 years and it was finally finished in 1827 together with Piazza Vittorio Emanuele and inaugurated in 1831 by Charles Albert of Savoy.
Some elements of its architecture will strike you right away: the pronaos or portico with the columns, the dome, the statues and the bas reliefs made by the students of the newly born Fine Arts Academy of Turin.
As you can see from the first picture, this church is on top of the stairs making the view of the city really worth the walk 👌 The first thing you see is the six column pronaos - as you will see before getting inside, there are a total of 10 columns and six pillars with Corinthian capitals (the top part of the column decorated with acanthus leaves).
The fronton (triangular frontal part) show a bas relief sculpted in 1827 portraying the Holy Virgin with the Child being paid homage by the Turin decurions who sponsored the church.
|Right side: Religion and St Mark with the foot on the lion|
You can see behind the columns two recesses in the wall, each one has one statue: on the right, St Mark with a foot on a lion and on the left, St Carlo Borromeo. At the sides of the stairs there are two groups of statues: on the right, Religion and Faith on the left.
Religion is represented as a woman wearing a long dress and is looking in front of her without paying attention to the young man kneeling by her side. She's holding a cross in her hand.
Faith is also represented as a similarly dressed woman; in her right hand she's holding a book while in her left one she has a goblet. At her right there is a angel with a cane in his right hand and the left one oriented towards the woman.
|Left side: Faith and St Carlo Borromeo|