Glimpses of Christmas Past: Photos from Turin 2017

Joe and Patricia Gartman have spent the Christmas seasons from 2017 to 2019 in Italy. Here are photos from their time in Turin in 2017.

Big wooden games and advent calendar in turin

We arrived in Turin early in December. There was a huge advent calendar set up in Piazza Castello. Every night the fire brigade arrived with a truck-mounted cherry picker to open the next window.

Nearby were the Grandi giochi in legno – the “Big Wooden Games” – a play area well supplied with wooden toys, and lots of children to enjoy them.

Photo of LED Christmas tree on Piazza Castelo in Turin

Across the square, a giant Christmas “tree” made of thousands of LED lights changed colours and shapes in time with Christmas music.

photo of Santa Cristina's elegant Christmas presepe in Turin

At Christmas time, throughout Italy, a presepe – a three-dimensional Nativity scene – can be found in every church.

In Chiesa Santa Cristina, on Piazza San Carlo, we found a simple altar scene that, in its elegant design and ravishing colours, looked like a three-dimensional Renaissance painting.

Kingdom of flowers lights on piazza san carlo.jpg

Outside La Chiesa di Santa Cristina, the iconic square’s lampposts of Piazza San Carlo were topped with neon “cages” around multicoloured lanterns.

This was part of the 20th edition of Turin’s Luci d’Artista festival, which featured light displays created by well-known artists.

Luci d’Artista lights on Via Po

We found other Luci d’Artista installations on Via Po (hundreds of heavenly objects), Via Roma (constellations picked out in blue against a starry sky), and Via La Grange, where the text of a children’s book was suspended in brightly shining sentences across the street.

Words by Joe Gartman, Photos by Patricia Gartman.

See more photos of Italy in our archive.