Two and a half months have passed since the last love letter (here and here). I know you, dear readers, are all out there trembling, wondering what happened to my love story, and at night you cannot sleep, like me. I know it’s time now for a new declaration of passion. So, ready, steady, go. Bring a bottle of water and maybe a handkerchief, because this letter will be sweaty because, Turin, I love you even in the scorching summer months.
In the summer, I like to watch you when others admire your battered orange trams. No, not the new ones that look like grey tubers. The other ones, like number 15 or 16, which arrive and it seems that a brass band is approaching. You have to climb them up to get on these trams. The seats are made of iron and wood. You close your eyes, and you find yourself in the 30s, maybe the 40s.
In the summer, I like to watch those three or four who, like me, are not going to the beach or in the mountains or they love to simply get stuck on the highway. They whizz around on racing bikes or colourful city bikes and I know that they do it because they are roasting and the speed gives us some relief, or at least the wheels do not melt on the tarmac.
In the summer, but then again all year around, I like to seek refuge in your branch of Feltrinelli in Porta Nuova station. Two are the reasons: firstly, because at the main entrance there is a blow-up of one of my favourite Italian singers, Ligabue. Although I have seen it for years, every time I enter this amazing bookshop I think I am after bumping into a security guard, or – worse – I think I am after meeting one of my favourite singers, because although it looks like Ligabue is in the same room with me, that is not Ligabue. Secondly, I love this branch because the minute you enter it, a renaissance scent of vanilla surrounds you. Where does it come from? Why is it there? Nobody knows. It’s a secret. State secret kind of thing.
In the summer, but then again all year around, every time I go to Porta Nuova to catch a train, I consciously walk on via Volta, and at the corner with Corso Vittorio, I smile because there is a mirror there, and on the top there is a sign, in English and in Italian, saying “Turin sings life”. And you cannot help but smile, even if you want to scream or cry, because you have to sing life.
Last, but not least for now, I love you because of the Sphinx. No, not those of the equally fascinating alluring Egyptian Museum. The Sphinx that welcomes you from the middle of the roundabout leading towards the motorway to Milan. It’s been there since the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. If I’m leaving, it seems to say to me: “Do not worry. I’ll look after Torino for you. ” If I’m coming home, the Sphinx smiles and whispers: “Turin was good while you were away. Welcome back, you’re home. “