23 October 2009

Torino's Toro

Recently I've been making a few trips to our provincial capital of Torino or Turin, the dialect name which most visitors know it by.  This stylie bull is the symbol of Torino and found adorning all manner of things. I found this interesting explanation of the origins of Torino's name on one of the city's site.

Turin: According to the legend, it was the Egyptian prince Phaethon to found the city of Taurina (around 1523 b.C., even earlier than Troy) where the Po meets the Dora, in honour of Api, an egyptian god having the features of a bull. Taurines, instead, a population having celtic-ligurian ancestors, established themselves here during the III century b.C. in a village called Taurasia, deriving from the indigenous word tauro, meaning mountain, transformed later into the symbol of a bull by analogy. Between 29 and 28 b.C. the Romans founded here the colony of Julia Augusta Taurinorum, subsequently shortened to Taurinorum, in order to indicate where the Taurines lived. This name was ultimately simplified to Taurinos, and, finally, to Turin. 

Torino never fails to offer up some interesting detail that I didn't know or haven''t seen before and this time was no exception. I've walked around Piazza San Carlo many a time and strolled past the historic and over the top, Torino Cafe without fully noticing the brass bull inlaid in the stone at the entrance to this cafe.

According to Fabrizio the thing to do is step on the brass b_ _ _ _ of this mighty beast for a bit of luck, at least that's what legend has it. It doesn't really surprise me as there is a wild boar sculpture in one of the piazze in Florence who has a similar legend and is quite shiny form all the rubbing. The same goes for the right breast of the Julliette statue in Verona as well. So now when you're doing the passeggiata around Torino on the Kings walk under the covered porticos and you come upon a brass bull, you'll know what to do.


Ivy said...

Torino looks like a beautiful town. I didn't know the history behind the name of the city. About Phaethon, he is part of Greek Mythology and have never heard of being an Egyptian Prince before.

Martha said...

There's a "bull of turin" on the floor of the Galleria in Milan, also worn from people stepping on its testicles for good luck.

Bella Baita View said...

Ivy, I'm sure it''s a bit of embellishment about being a prince. That's funny about the bull in Milano.

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