Tuesday, February 28, 2023

St. Augustine Church

 More than ever the world need the collective prayers to restore peace, democracy and human rights in too many parts of the world, thus we are resuming our church pilgrimage in Turin with one of the many little churches in the Roman lanes, downtown Turin: Chiesa di Sant'Agostino in Via Sant'Agostino at the corner with Via Santa Chiara, near pedestrian Via Garibaldi.

First of all put Via Sant'Agostino on your Turin eatery list as you will find plenty and for all tastes and needs! This lane connects Via Garibaldi to Piazza Emanuele Filiberto where more trendy eateries are located. In fact, as the temperatures go up, Piazza Emanuele Filiberto gets a distinct Montmartre atmosphere highly loved by both locals and visitors.



We feel the need to point our that this is an area where all palates and dietary needs will feel at home because all the kitchens of this hood shop at the nearby Porta Palazzo market daily. Yes, vegans have a whole deli and restaurant here too!

The St. Augustine church is one of the oldest Turin churches, dating back to 1047 when it was dedicated to the Apostles James and Philippe. In its first versions it changed from its original plain Romanesque architectural style into its Piedmontese 'Gothic' style made in bricks, with hut-like roof, three naves, polygonal apsis and bell tower.



For many centuries, all the inmates sentenced to death, as well as all the inmates who died in prison were buried by the nearby cloister. The executioner had the privilege of being buried in this church, under the bell tower.

During the 16/17th centuries it was fully rebuilt and finally, in 1548, it was assigned to the order of St Augustine (founded in 1244) who started the construction of their convent. In 1551, this church was renamed Saint Augustine Church but it was officially consecrated only in 1643.



This is also where some French soldiers were buried in 1706 during the siege of Turin. This church underwent more renovation works in the following centuries.

This church has three naves on a basilica plan (that looks like a short cross). Today the central nave has vivid colors and hopefully more renovation works can bring more colors to the side naves too. 



Inside you can see two important funerary monuments, one sporting two dragons; the altar piece representing St Nicholas; on the first altar, the statue of the Holy Mary. 

In the right nave there is a painting by the D├╝rer's school (1530-1540) while in the chapel of the Holy Mary of the Divine Delivery, on the left nave, you can admire a fragment of a 1400 fresco portraying the Holy Mary found in 1716 in the chimney of a neighboring house that was being demolished to build the convent. This chapel is also where the association supporting the new mothers was created in the 18th century.

The contrast between the burials of criminals under the bell tower and the chapel of the Divine Delivery make of this church a mysterious place even today!


in the old cloister the neighborhood kids can play today



E-mail Lucia: turinepi@gmail.com 

for your walking tours, tastings, concierge service and private classes

 


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