A journey through history and legend
On the banks of the river Po, at the foot of the Turin’s hill, stands a building that blends history and legend: it is the Church of Gran Madre di Dio. Accessible from Piazza Vittorio Veneto, crossing Ponte Vittorio Emanuele I, the majestic basilica was built in neoclassical style by architect Ferdinando Bonsignore between 1818 and 1831.
Commissioned by Turin’s former administrators, the Decurions, to celebrate the withdrawal of Napoleon's troops and the return of King Victor Emmanuel I of Savoy, the building is elevated above the square in which it is located. The interior has a circular layout and is accessed by a staircase ending in six columns with Corinthian capitals. Look up and admire the dome, inspired by the unmistakable one in Rome’s Pantheon.
Legend has it that the church was built on a temple dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Isis and that one of the two statues outside the building, representing Faith and Religion, is the Madonna holding the Holy Grail. A sign, according to some, that the relic could actually be in the Piedmontese capital.