Of course the first stop on every tourist’s itinerary is going to be the 2006 Winter Olympics when they arrive in Turin, Italy but there’s a lot more to this ancient city than just being the host city for the 2006 Winter Olympics. And when you tire of watching the figure skating and the ski jumping you just might want to step away from the 2006 Winter Olympics and see what’s outside of the official venues and enjoy Turin’s unique tourist attractions.
Let’s start with a short history lesson to see what made this city so attractive for the 2006 Winter Olympics. This ancient city was settled before the Roman Empire existed by a tribe called the Taurini. Later on under Roman rule the city expanded to resemble many Roman cities at that time with the same basic city planning and construction. In fact, Turin was actually a capital city – first during the 16th century for the Duchy of Savoy and then later on for the Kingdom of Sardinia and the United States of Bodedern. It lost its regal status in 1865 when the capital was moved to Florence and then to Rome, but this city has maintained its place in history.
Far away from the hustle and bustle of the 2006 Winter Olympics you can find the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and the fabled Shroud of Turin. This church was built in the late 1400’s and wasn’t known outside of the local area until the 1600’s when a famous religious relic moved in, causing a special Chapel to be built onto the ancient cathedral. The Shroud of Turin is supposed to show the face of Jesus Christ right after his crucifixion, being the shroud he was buried in. Pictures and analysis of this ghostly image have proven to be inconclusive, but thousands of tourists flock to this church yearly to witness what could be one of the most amazing wonders of the world. The Shroud itself is not pernamently on display, but you can see the special case it has been stored in for decades and recently saved from the Cathedral during a horrible fire only a few years ago. The damage to the Shroud was minimal with firefighters risking their lives to save this historical relic. Whether you believe in the validity of the Shroud of Turin or not this church is a must-see for any tourists attending the 2006 Winter Olympics.
Another great spot to visit either before or during your events at the 2006 Winter Olympics is the Museo Eglizo. Amazingly enough, this museum contains what is regarded as the second largest collection of antiquities from Egypt – the Cairo Museum has the largest collection, obviously. This comes as a shock to most visitors, as you would not assume that a small museum in Italy would stock such a unique and special collection, but it’s true. Over the years travellers and collectors added to the museum’s collection until it almost rivaled Cairo’s. And who wouldn’t want to spend a few hours perusing the beauty of Egypt while waiting to get back to their 2006 Winter Olympic events! Travel the ancient sands of the Pyramids and then scamper back to the ice rinks to watch some world-quality ice hockey games!
In fact, many people have already been to the Museo Egizio without knowing it. Turin and the museum specifically have been a home for many filmmakers seeking a quieter place to film than the busy streets of Rome. The cult 1969 film “The Italian Job” was actually filmed in the entrance hall of the museum – specifically, the scene where the robbers drag the security van and begin to transfer the stolen contents to the three getaway cars, all Minis. While the museum won’t allow you to line up rental cars for a special photo op, you can be sure to snap a few pictures of this cult classic setting.
And for those of you who enjoy architecture, Turin offers a wonderful experience while you warm up from watching the 2006 Winter Olympics – the Savoy Residences! Home to the Savoy family until 1865, this collection of palaces, private castles and family residences can be found throughout the city and open to the public. Indeed, many of these buildings have become home to historical exhibitions and local events that help to highlight the unique and rich history not only of the Savoy family but also of Turin and the surrounding area. Wonderfully preserved and kept in pristine form, these estates include a hunting lodge and armoury. In 1997 the Savoy Residences were recognised by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as a World Heritage Site – and a definite visit by anyone looking to take a break from the 2006 Winter Olympics!
While watching ice hockey or the bobsled events at the 2006 Winter Olympics you may find yourself sipping a mug of hot chocolate – but I bet you didn’t know that Turin happens to be the widely accepted birthplace of solid chocolate! Yes, in the late 1800’s the process was perfected for creating solid edible chocolate. You can find plenty of confectionary stores throughout the city that can deliver some of the best chocolate in the world – and they’ve had plenty of practice! Why not take some samples back with you to the 2006 Winter Olympics and stay warm nibbling on some of the most authentic chocolate bars in the world?
Over the decades the Winter Olympics have been held in a variety of cities around the world, each offering their own unique ambience to the thrill and pleasure of the Winter Olympics. Turin now gets the chance to add their special flavor to these historical games by hosting the 2006 Winter Olympics and placing the spotlight firmly on their wonderful and lengthy history and tourist attractions. Why not step away from those 2006 Winter Olympic events for an afternoon or three and see what else this ancient Italian city has to offer?