It feels good to be back in Turin, even though the smog is worse than ever due to the cold weather inversion and coal-fueled heritage. The streets are sparsely populated this dark evening, since the air is cold and spring is still a distant memory.

I walk along the beautiful arcades at Piazza San Carlo. The large hanging lamps are lit and embrace the large square with a dim light. There are occasional neon signs offering a splash of color, such as Caffé Torino from 1903, one of the oldest cafés in the city.

Caffé Torino Caffé Torino.

The old road Via Roma cuts through the open plaza, connecting the railroad station Porta Nuova in the south to the Piazza Castello in the north. Impressive architecture frame both sides of the street, infusing elements of Baroque and Art Deco.

Galleria San Federico Galleria San Federico.

I dodge the cold for a moment by passing through Galleria San Federico while gazing at the impressive ceiling, almost a hundred years old.

Cities in northern Italy, such as Turin and Milan, are distinctively different from their counterparts in the south. Large avenues in straight lines are lined by elegant architecture, instead of having an organic feel with crumbling buildings on narrow windy streets. It seems to have more focus on business and efficiency, instead of the leisurely “dolce vita” we northerners often associate with Italy. But I still enjoy to walk along the streets of Turin, past centuries of visible achievements.


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