VALENTINO, MEDIEVAL VILLAGE

Audio File length: 2.35
Author: STEFANO ZUFFI E DAVIDE TORTORELLA
English / USA Language: English / USA

You are now in the Medieval Village that was built within the Parco del Valentino along the banks of the Po River.

Although it certainly has some ancient Roman origins, Turin saw its largest phase of development starting in the second half of the 1500s, and has very few monuments from previous centuries. This shortcoming was compensated by creating the Medieval Village around the end of the 1800s. You should know that at that time, a passion for so-called "Historicism" had spread throughout Europe, which consisted in the restoration of old buildings and new "in style" buildings, also for highlighting a country's national identity through architecture.

The village is designed as a summary of characteristic regional monuments, which were carefully reproduced and built close together to simulate a village of prevailing Gothic style: most of the reproduced buildings date back to the 15th century. Perhaps this architectural collage will look "fake" to you, but you can't deny that its whole certainly isn't ugly, and that the paved road that crosses the village and passes by arcades, fountains, and towers is a blast from the past that has a certain charm.

Go inside through a gate equipped with a drawbridge, under a tower. Once you've passed the Albergo dei Pelligrini, or Pilgrims' Hotel, you'll head down a street lined with reproductions of ancient houses from several historic towns in Piedmont, with terracotta windows and turrets that pop up here and there. At the center of the village you'll find the Gothic-style church: it was formed by combining architectural and decorative elements of seven holy buildings that actually exist! At the end of the road you'll reach the square with the osteria, or tavern.

The porticoed climb takes you up to the village's most spectacular building: the Rocca, or Fortress, which is a successful combination of several castles in Val d'Aosta and Monferrato: a mixture of military sternness and noble amenities. You can also go inside to see reproductions of great cycles of frescoes within its halls. Under an awning you can admire some war and siege machines, and just behind that a small garden with medicinal herbs, as well as a vegetable garden that's cultivated according to ancient techniques.

 

FUN FACT: LIPU (Italian League for the Protection of Birds) has found a valuable ally in the village, which happily helps encourage swallows to nest there. Apparently it's working: to date, there are over twenty nests!

And with this we have finished our tour of the Valentino Complex in Turin. MyWoWo thanks you for staying with us, and will see you at the next Wonder of the World!

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