Of course , being in Turin, we had to hunt out the Shroud or at least it’s whereabouts. It is displayed only rarely and spends most of its time apparently rolled up in a splendid chest. Still, we had a viewing of the replica, saw the chest which contained the Shroud and got the story. The shroud is held in the rather unassuming duomo of Turin, nothing too grand to detract from the raison d’être. When we were there, we shared the tour with a group of Japanese who showed such scant regard for the chest and its content, it was quite a shock before I realised that of course, it’s a religious thing and the Japanese are not of that religion.
So in the end we had ample space for ourselves, which was a bit of a disappointment as no photographs were allowed even of the chest and squeezing off a furtive iPhone shot became a tricky manoeuvre. Achieved nonetheless………
As a postscript to this we were told about the Shroud Museum, which we really ought to go and see. So we did. It’s tucked down a side street in the very heart of Turin with the same unassuming anonymity we found at the duomo, that I felt the buildings must have been related by architect. Once inside, we started to get that da Vinci Code feeling. No one was less than 75, all spoke in hushed tones and we were led deeper and deeper into the heart of the building, culminating in turning a corner and entering a small church set within the confines of the main building. Everyone there firmly believed in the shroud as a true piece of history and indeed it’s a compelling and easily believable construct when you hear it and see the replica of the shroud.
Nevertheless, it was with a certain amount of relief that we exited the building into sunshine and entered the nearest bar into a beer……..