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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at .

The Shroud of Turin, Turin, Italy: May 20-23, 2019

The Royal Church of San Lorenzo
This morning after breakfast in Cortemilia, the hotel owner/chef's mother-in-law graciously agreed to drive us the short distance to catch the local bus to Alba. In Alba we caught a train to Turin.

My knowledge of Turin was limited to two things: first, it was the site of the 2006 Winter Olympics and second, the Shroud of Turin is here. I've always been fascinated by religious relics and practices so I certainly wasn't going to pass up my chance to see such a famous relic.

The Shroud of Turin is believed to be the length of linen cloth in which Christ's body was wrapped. It has blood stains and the imprint of a human figure. Further, it is believed to show evidence that the corpse was crucified with nails, was beaten, was whipped, was crowned with thorns, and after death was pierced in the side.

The Shroud has a long history of ownership and disaster although no historical evidence exists before the 14th century. In 1453, the Savoys (the Savoy dynasty existed since the year 1000 in the Alpine area between Italy, France and Switzerland) obtained the Holy Shroud. After suffering fire damage in 1532, the Shroud was moved in 1576 to Turin. The Shroud was housed in a chapel of the Royal Church of San Lorenzo until in 1694, it was finally placed in a Chapel and altar designed by Guarino Guarini and specifically built for it. The Chapel is between the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist and the Royal Palace.

In 1983, the House of Savoy gifted the Shroud to Pope John Paul II and the Holy See but the Shroud continued to be housed in its chapel within the Royal Palace.

In April 1997 a devastating fire severely damaged the chapel which was undergoing a restoration at the time. Luckily, the Shroud was not in residence during the restoration process.

In 1988 three laboratories (Tucson, Oxford, and Zurich) used Carbon 14 dating on a small piece of the Shroud. It was dated to between 1260 and 1390. Coincidentally, in 1390 the Shroud was declared a fraud and the "artist" confessed to creating it.

In 2002, the Shroud was sent to the Vatican for restoration. Patches and darns from earlier damage were removed during the textile restoration. The removal of the patches allowed the backside of the Shroud to be photographed and scanned.

Despite the Carbon 14 dating, some say the finding is not reliable because pollution and contamination suffered by the Shroud would have influenced the results. The Vatican has yet to  weigh in on the authenticity of the Shroud.

While the Guarini designed chapel continues to be under architectural restoration, the Shroud temporarily resides at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in an inert gas environment in an airtight, laminated bulletproof casket. Inside the Cathedral, videos in many languages explain the history of the Shroud and show the post-restoration images of the Shroud.

The present resting place of the Shroud of Turin
The crucifixion sculpture reflected in the
glass surrounding the Shroud's resting place
Our visit to the Royal Palace allowed us access to the Guarini designed Chapel in its not quite renovated state as well as a fascinating, vertigo inducing, virtual-reality tour of the dome with VR goggles.

The interior of the Guarini designed dome
Front Entrance to the Royal Palace in Turin