April 13 – The colonnades

Wandering along the colonnades is one of the joys of being in Turin. They were designed to connect the royal residences and keep royalty dry in the rare wet weather. They tend to have themes – one (Via Po) is full of second-hand book stalls and antiquities as far as the eye can see. Others house cafes and chocolate shops and others very posh stores selling the latest fashions. No Marks and Sparks.

I asked Chat-GPT to give me a history of the colonnades, and this is what it came up with:

The colonnades in Turin, Italy are a defining feature of the city’s urban landscape. The history of the colonnades can be traced back to the 17th century, when the House of Savoy began to transform Turin into a grandiose capital city.

The House of Savoy, a noble family that ruled over the region of Piedmont in Italy, sought to create a city that reflected their power and wealth. To this end, they commissioned a number of architects to design public spaces and buildings that would be both grand and functional.

One of the most notable features of these designs was the use of colonnades, which were long, covered walkways that provided shelter from the elements and created an elegant, uniform appearance in the city’s streets.

The first colonnade in Turin was built in the mid-17th century on Via Po, a major thoroughfare in the city. This was followed by the construction of additional colonnades in the years that followed, including those on Via Roma and Piazza San Carlo.

Over time, the colonnades became an integral part of Turin’s urban identity, and they continue to be a popular feature of the city today. Many of the colonnades have been preserved or restored over the years, and they serve as a reminder of Turin’s rich history and architectural heritage.

I couldn’t have put it better myself 😉