Shroudless in Turin
Story by Matthew Breen
Headed to Turin, Italy for the 23rd annual Turin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, naturally I was curious about the famous Shroud of Turin, which may or may not have once wrapped Jesus. Apparently, they won’t let you just try it on. So I satisfied myself with the gigantic film festival, themed “Da Sodoma a Hollywood,” with literally hundreds of new films, shorts, tributes, retrospectives, thematic series and even some porn.
Turin is older than dirt -- having been founded in circa 28 B.C. -- and medieval buildings, including the Castello Madama in the town center, still remain. But the city is cleaner and friendlier than Rome, having been scrubbed for the Turin Winter Olympics in 2006 and not experiencing the flood of vacationers that Rome receives.
Torino" is a center of design and art as well, featuring the Contemporary Art Center and The National Cinema Museum with it's gorgeous exhibit of film history, special effects and historic paraphernalia. The National Cinema Museum is also the self-described 'highest museum', housed in the Mole Antonelliana; the city’s symbol, the tower has a panoramic lift elevator that goes up to the tower’s tip with views of the city’s red roofs, the river Po, and incredible alpine vistas.
The city’s historic center is surrounded by gorgeous arcades, useful for sight-seeing and window shopping especially in the rain. The romantic, cobblestone Roman Quarter has a great variety of shops, bars and restaurants and is terrific for warm-weather strolling, day or night. There is also plenty of great shopping if you find yourself shroud-less!
Queer nightlife is sort of mercurial in Turin, with club nights coming and going and clubs opening and closing. Check out Clubbing magazine and Publicità Pride, both free gay magazines that cover the entire region and list gay events, bars, restaurants, saunas and performances.