A casa–San Mauro
by Laura A
We’ve now moved from the residence hotel where we spent our first month in Torino. Instead we are living on the outskirts of town in the apartment of some friends of ours. Our furniture has arrived in port, but we are still in negotiations with various apartment owners. And then there is always some work to be done to the apartment you choose, and we’ll almost certainly have to buy a kitchen. So it will probably take about another month before we’re ready to move into our long-term home in Torino. We’re hoping that our furniture will be allowed to move in before we do.
Our friends’ tenant backed out at the last minute, so it worked out for both us us that we stay here while they look for another sub-letter. Now get two bedrooms, a stove, and a washer for a much lower rate than the residence. And hopefully our friends get a little more time to find another tenant while they get settled back into NYC.
Our new home is in a suburb of Torino that doesn’t look so attractive at first glance. There are lots of more recent, sprawly apartment buildings at all sorts of angles along a busy road. Our view out the window is a typical suburban combination in northern Italy, the faint outline of the Alps in the background and construction cranes (sometimes called “the national bird of Italy”) in the foreground. Our bedroom is right next to an intersection, so we hear traffic stopping and starting all day and night if we open the windows. There’s a lot of concrete generally.
But take a walk a couple of blocks back from the roadway, and the scenery improves dramatically. It’s like there’s a little town back there, with its own church, bar and pizzeria. Our friends told us that this is the neighborhood where all the people used to live who did laundry for the Torinese, because no one was allowed to do laundry inside the city. (Perhaps this was the origin of my 18 euro laundry bill in the city each week?)
Walk a couple of blocks further and you get to a bike/walking path. The path is next to the Po, the sun sparkles on it in the morning, birds sing, horses neigh, people ride bikes and walk their dogs, church bells ring (the old kind), and it just keeps going and going. I took a walk this morning to the bridge to S. Mauro, and then crossed over into the town itself. It’s less than a mile away and both bridge and town are very picturesque. Near the bridge I saw people filling up water bottles (still water for free, 5 cents for carbonation) and even milk bottles, at a vending kiosk. When I got to the other side of the bridge at a little before ten in the morning, the sun was just warming up and people were coming out in droves. There was a bike event starting along the river. A bar with outside seating was open next to the walkway and people were sitting there reading newspapers and talking to the waitress. I walked as far down the river as I could and watched some grebes and herons for a while.
On the way back, I looked out over the river at the open view. I was surrounded on three sides by Alps (rather faint, but there) in the distance, and on the fourth side by the Collina, or hill, very close with houses on it. When I looked south over the bridge towards the direction from which I had come, I could see the Mole Antonelliana, the main landmark of Torino, in the distance. My friends tell me there’s a market in the town on Mondays. It feels almost like I’ve moved to the country. This should be an interesting month.