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Report 1114: Bergamo, Venice, Lerici, Piemonte, Friends & World Cup Mania

By girasoli from Hawaii, Summer 2006

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Page 20 of 23: Palazzo Reale, Shopping, Rain, and More Shopping

photo by girasoli

one of the stores on Via Roma in Torino

Thursday morning, after another delicious breakfast, I dressed for possible rain, which was in the forecast. Wearing my new funky green and black Nike sneakers, I headed out towards Piazza Castello to try once again to take the tour of the Palazzo Reale. One of the seams of my sneaker started rubbing against my skin. I stopped in the Goldenpoint store on Via Roma to buy a thicker pair of socks, which helped. This store sells socks, bathing suits, and intimate apparel. After stopping in a few more shops on the way, I reached the Piazza Castello and went back to the ticket area at the Palazzo Reale. This time, I was able to purchase a ticket and only had to wait 10 minutes for the next tour to begin.

The tour guide arrived and off we went. We followed him up a beautiful staircase to the first floor. This was the floor we would tour. Palazzo Reale was one of the residences of the Savoy family. The first few rooms we toured were pretty common (similar to other palaces I have toured in the past). The tour guide spoke in rapid Italian and much of the vocabulary was new to me. I could pick out a few words here and there, but learned more information about the rooms from the descriptions written in four languages on boards placed in each room that we toured. I usually was the last person to head on to the next room as the descriptions were pretty detailed and took me a few minutes to read.

There was a second man whose job seemed to be to make sure no one wandered away during the tour. He was the last one to follow the group into each room. I thanked him for letting me spend a few extra minutes in each room reading the boards. He asked me if I could understand the tour guide. I told him that I could only understand a few words. He was very kind and even started to provide me with more information about some of the rooms. He spoke very clear Italian and was easy to understand.

My favorite rooms were the dining hall, which had a beautifully set table with fancy china, glasses, and silverware and the ballroom, which was huge and very elegantly decorated. The last stop on the tour was the famous Scala delle Forbici (Scissor Staircase). This staircase did not have a description provided in English. The tour guide went into a very long description of this room. My friend, the other tour guide, asked if I understood. I did not and so he then proceeded to explain the significance of the staircase.

After finishing the tour of the Palazzo Reale, I toured the Armeria Reale (Royal Armory). The armory was located next to the Palazzo Reale. It houses an extensive collection of weapons, both ancient and more modern. I am not generally a fan of weapons and armories, but this one was quite amazing.

By this time, I was getting hungry. I stopped for lunch at an outdoor café on Via Garibaldi. I ordered a caprese salad and a cheese, eggplant and zucchini baguette. Via Garibaldi is another street, which is full of shopping and also has many sidewalk cafés. After lunch, which was just okay, I went into the Nike store. One of the salesmen immediately complimented me on my shoes. He said he also had a pair. After stopping in a couple more stores, I decided to check out the Contrada dei Guardinfanti area, which is the oldest part of the city centre. It was located close by. I took some pictures and wandered into a few more stores.

The sky quickly darkened and it began to rain. Luckily Torino is a city with many porticoes (covered walkways) and so I managed to stay pretty dry as I headed back towards my hotel. It started to thunder and I could see the lightening flash across the sky. I am not a fan of lightening. I ducked into the FNAC store, a huge store that sells computers, computer accessories, DVDs, CDs, and books. I went downstairs and spent the next two hours in this store. I ended up purchasing two DVDs. The woman at the cash register asked me for my passport when I tried to pay with my visa card. This was the first time I had been asked for my passport in my seven years of visiting Italy, except of course at the airport and when checking into hotels. I did not have my passport with me but did have a copy. She said that was fine. After getting my receipt, I headed back out where the skies were clearing.

For dinner, I headed back to the Contrada dei Guardinfanti area to a restaurant, which I saw earlier in the day. I planned to order some sort of pasta dish but when I saw this delicious pizza go buy, I ended up ordering a pizza again. I also had a delicious tiramisu for dessert. The cost was €11 for the pizza, the dessert, and the water. This confirmed that something was not right with my bill at Urbani.

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