The past year has seen many people across the world grapple with a very specific type of loss; the sadness of a trip not taken, the mourning of exploring new cultures, the yearning for experiences beyond the anomie of the supermarket. As that strong desire for, and impulse to, wander the world fell prey to the pandemic in a turbulent 2020, we seemed at one point to be surging toward an anticipatory dystopia. Who were we without travel? What do we have to look forward to when there is no international holiday booked for summer?
Over the course of the past 12 months, we’ve been commissioning artists, painters and illustrators from different cities all over the world to paint a picture of what they see out their windows – either real or imaginary. Most artists have been confined to these cities during the global lockdowns, and all have a close connection to the place they have illustrated. Each artist has a “GRAZIA At Home City Guide” perched on their window sill, insider guides to the cities you need to visit and recollections of moments past in these nooks of the world; how they drank in the palaces, how they wandered through the parks and how they ate and ate and ate. There’s recommendations too – local dishes, phrases and lessons – so you can start imagining your own itinerary from the comfort of your own home. Today, we’re headed to Turin in Italy.
“After so many years, snow has fallen in the city,” artist Pierpaolo Rovero says of what inspired his window imagining. “I spent the evening with my family, watching one of my favourite childhood films The Chocolate Factory. My little children were delighted. The next day, in the studio, I thought of my city – Turin – as a huge chocolate factory.”
The old-world grandeur of Turin is not lost even on its residents. One of Rovero’s fondest memories is running through one of the city’s many parks at dawn, its graceful streets crossing over the mighty River Po. “I still remember the beauty of seeing the colours of the sky reflected in the water,” muses Rovero.
“Elegant, linear, mysterious…Snow had fallen in the city, and the next day, in my studio, I thought of my city – Turin – as a huge chocolate factory.”
Like Milan, snow-capped Alps hold steady in the distance. Cobblestoned piazzas decorate every few blocks and Baroque palaces are aplenty. Amongst the oldness, however, is a new generation of creatives, like Rovero, who have pumped progressive music, food and art back into the culture scene. Unbeknown to anyone who hasn’t travelled there, the heady scent of chocolate and coffee is what gives Turin a distinct note.
“We have many artisans of great chocolate and coffee in this city,” Rovero says. “In the region there is also a Ferrero producer and the headquarters Lavazza. My favourite beverage is Bicerin, which is a particular type of coffee mix with hot chocolate, cream and milk.”
During the pandemic, the artist says he rediscovered the value in the small things “without the necessity of having to run after los of work projects.”
“When traveling, there always comes a time when you desire to come back, rest and find your routine again,” Rovero says and notes he struggled to find a place to work while locked down with his wife and two young children during the pandemic. “We can spend a lot of time in an imaginary world, but no place will ever be like our home. Turin is my point of return, my reality, where I really find myself. But it’s also the point of restart for new imaginary destinations.”
Follow Pierpaolo Rovero @pierpaolorovero
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory 1971 film, stream now
Ferrero Rocher chocolate, shop now