Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Turin's July 4th

The 4th of July is just around the corner but Turin has just had her own summer celebrations and in BIG style πŸŽ†

Turin City Hall

Every Italian city, town, village and remote hamlet perched on the Alps has its own patron saint, Turin has St. John the Baptist traditionally celebrated on June 24th.
In Italy, the patron saint celebrations can take many forms: people parade with the Saint statues and there are special services at the church or cathedral - depending on the size of the town.
But in Turin ... for once, we like to defy our local 'sprezzato' (1500 word that means studied nonchalance) understatement (God forbid we show off!) and double up our celebrations 🎊

Typically, the patron saint days are also holidays and the locals take advantage to leave town especially, if they can have a long week-end and the weather allows for a nice change of scenery.

No matter when it falls during the week, in Turin, for Saint John the Baptist we have everything double: as on June 24th is holiday, we start the celebrations on the eve: on June 23rd.

On both days (June 23rd and 24th) there is always a parade in historical costumes all around downtown. On June 23rd evening, there is a bonfire burning in Piazza Castello, where the royal palace is and on June 24th, we naturally have our 4th of July fireworks by the Po River aka the longest river in Italy, the Italian Mississippi River. We are very fond of our river because it flows across all Northern Italy, providing the water for our rice paddies.

behind the bonfire, the Royal Library hosts the self-portrait of Leo Da Vinci

The 2023 edition of the St John's celebrations was a special one because it almost looked like what we had BC (before covid19). 28 different cultural associations took part in the parade, and this time we also had a picturesque goliardi group!

Goliardi are a medieval university tradition. Originally they were the college students who took life easy and carefree, who partied and had fun, making jokes and getting drunk. More or less what the fraternities and sororities do on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. 

Just like in the Middle Ages, goliardi wear a long pointy hat and a cape. This is how you see them around town and also during the parade, except that last June 23-24 it was so hot (36C/98F) many were shirtless, including the girls.

our Lat Am community took part too!

Roughly 350/400 people paraded in the hot and humid weather in their thick costumes, twirling a large flag or playing music like at Disney World, except it was in Turin and everything was real.

The Turin's crest and symbol - a bull - always sticks out of the bonfire pile and the direction where it falls toward while burning is an omen: if to the back, Turin will be lucky in the coming months, at least till December 31st when the next bonfire is organized. If it falls forward it is a bad omen...

We are happy to report the bull fell backward 😎

Palazzo Madama half Medieval and half 18th century, where the Savoy queens lived

In the past 20 years, the St John's fireworks have been controversial. Half the locals loves them while the other half has tried to get rid of them saying they were old-fashioned and the pets get scared.

During the covid19 years, Turin had a populist mayor who replaced the fireworks on the river with a drone show that was visible only by 80 people in a tiny area. The current mayor though has brought the fireworks back in the program and he even took part in the parade.

Turin's mayor: Dr Stefano Lo Russo

So what wasn't there?

One specific lady with a gorgeous 18th century dress either white or black and 3-4 Gianduia and Giacometta besides the official couple.

Gianduia is the Mardi Gras (Carnival season) character representing Turin, Giacometta is his girlfriend. Usually there is one official couple from the most important folklore group and 3-4 others joining the parade.

This year we only had the official one πŸ‘† and a skinny young version...

Also on June 24th the street leading to the river was half closed to the traffic because 60k people were expected to flow in to enjoy the show along the river and in Piazza Vittorio aka the largest square in Europe!
The luckiest people though were those who made it to the hill facing Piazza Vittorio and the River because they had the best view of both city and show.

the doctor during the 1600 bubonic plague that decimated half of Europe

Amici, mark June 23rd and 24th down for your summer Italian itinerary. This is really the climax of our summer, all the businesses are open, the city isn't crowded and you can fully enjoy our natural Bridgerton atmosphere just with costumes spanning 400 years 😁instead of being limited to the Regency era.

More pictures on our Instagram and Facebook accounts.

in September you can also see the Pietro Micca Parade to commemorate our 1700 hero

E-mail Lucia: turinepi@gmail.com 

for your walking tours with and without tasting(s), private classes (available online too) and concierge services to help you better organize your travel over to Italy.

No comments:

Post a Comment