Piazzo San Carlo

168 m long and 76 m broad, the square has a surface of 12.768 sq. and can contain about 20.000 people; it lies in the middle of the Via Roma thoroughfare stretching from Piazza Castello to Piazza Carlo Felice.

“Freedom is participation”
– G. Gaber

The square, one of the finest and poshest in the city, was designed by C. di Castellamonte in the early 17th century; the city had newly (1559) become the capital of the Savoy Dukedom and was setting about spreading outside the Roman walls crossing this site. The square is lined on its southern side by the twin baroque churches of Santa Cristina (1639), designed by Castellamonte, and San Carlo (1619), ascribed to a number of architects incl. Castellamonte himself. In the middle of the square stands an equestrian statue of king Emanuele Filiberto, by C. Marocchetti (1838), nicknamed by locals ‘El Caval ‘d brons’ (‘The bronze horse’). Several noble mansions look on to the square, among which the Solaro del Borgo’s – formerly Isnardi di Caraglio’s – at nr.183, is worth mentioning.

This square witnessed on Sept. 21th 1864 one of the grimmest events in the city’s history, as reminded by a plate on its southern side: following the decision to displace the capital of Italy to Florence, many inhabitants of Torino peacefully rallied in the square to protest, but the police cracked down on them ruthlessly, and many people lied on the ground.

The square has ever been the hub of the city’s major political and union demonstrations, even more so after WW2. The traditional May 1st processions set out from Piazza Vittorio Veneto – among the largest arcaded squares in Europe – then parade along Via Po and Via Roma and end up in this square for the rally speech, as well as for political and work debates – mainly so in the 1960s and 1970s, after the well-known Hot Autumn.

The square used to be also a favorite of mass parties during election campaigns to meet constituencies.

A quite significant demonstration took place in this square in 1973 with the attendance of several foreign delegations in support of the Chilean resistance.

Recently, the square has been stage, besides socio-political events like ‘Se non ora quango’ (‘If not now, when?’), of religious events like the Pope’s visit in 2005, sports and cultural ones, incl. concerts and fairs.

Thus it can be said that this place represents the popular participation to the city’s political and cultural events: history often unwound here.

Public transport
Metro 1 Porta Nuova stop
Tram 4-15 Santa Teresa stop
Tram 9 Porta Nuova stop
Star 1 San Carlo stop
Bus 11-12-15-55-57 Santa Teresa stop
Bus 18-61-68 Giolitti stop
Bus 33-34-52-58-64-67 Porta Nuova stop
Proposed route to the next peace trail station
5 minutes along Via Roma

University Rectorate

This building is now the official seat of the Torino University and it houses its Rectorate and the great hall.

“If you want peace, educate to peace. Refuse violence and do not collaborate with those using it.”

Among the reforms enacted by King Vittorio Amedeo II in the early decades of the 18th century, there was also the renewal of university education, bound to train the forthcoming body of public officers, which entailed building a corresponding new university seat, started in 1712 and inaugurated in 1920. The foremost court architects partook in its designing and building, such as M. Garove and F. Juvarra.

The building faces Via Verdi and Via Po, the latter street being the thoroughfare of the third widening of the baroque city, designed by A. di Castellamonte in 1673. The building stands around a rectangular courtyard faced with a great open gallery with a double column array. Two monumental staircases give access to a noble floor upstairs used in the past for the teaching. There hangs a memorial slab that the Torino University got in place on Dec. 31st 2001, in memory of the local professors who refused swearing allegiance to the fascist regime seventy years earlier. Out of a 1.200 strong teaching body all over Italy short of a score of them rejected their consent; and the slab reminds of the few who did so in Torino: Mario Carrara (criminal anthropology), a father of Italy’s forensic medicine; Gaetano De Sanctis (ancient history); Francesco Ruffini (ecclesiastical law), investigator of the historical origins of the religious freedom notion; Lionello Venturi (arts history), standing out for his political activity against the fascist regime from his Paris and New York exile, and the only one of this group to survive it – called back to Italy, he taught in Rome.

Quite some Torino University students also opposed fascism: among them, Antonio Gramsci and Piero Gobetti are dedicated a memory here, as being its victims as well.

Nowadays the University, as a hub of knowledge and culture building and conveyance, is a place where peace and nonviolence education may spread abroad. Such issues as sustainability and resources availability and access are being discussed within some curricular courses, and teachers often collaborate also with local organizations and movements.

Additional information
Public transport
Tram 13-15 Castello stop
Bus 55-56-61 Castello stop
Bus 18-68 Po stop
Proposed route to the next peace trail station
5 minutes along Via Bogino and Via Maria Vittoria

Military Courthouse

Since 1968, the Former Military Courthouse was the main rallying and starting point for numberless protests regularly taking place at every trial involving conscientious objectors to military service.

Torino’s Military Courthouse was shut down in 2008; its building stands within the former Royal Riding School compound which was built in Contrada della Zecca (the Mint Quarter) at the eastern rim of the baroque city after a mid-17th century plan and subsequently developed until the late 19th century in order to house the service workings to the Royal Palace and Court.

Scores of conscientious objectors were tried here for refusing their serving in the military out of political or religious reasons.

Conscientious objection to military service was acknowledged as a right in Italy by an Act dated December 15th 1972, following a lengthy national campaign carried out by movements and organizations incl. the Movimento Internazionale della Riconciliazione and the Movimento Nonviolento.

Prior to that term, objectors were tried for ‘disobedience’ or because ‘missing at draft call’. They were sentenced to many jail months, after serving which they would again be requested to enroll; on a renewed refusal, they would be again sentenced to jail, and so forth …, their serving obligation supposed to cease no sooner than on getting 45 years old. Yet, after a few repeated such sentences, the military establishment, to get rid of such a nuisance, would discharge the convict by stating his ‘unfitness’ on the grounds of some fancy ailment.

A well-known case is Pietro Pinna’s, seen as the first post-WW2 objector. He was called up to his military service at the Casale Monferrato C.A.R. (Recruits Training Center) on Feb. 6th 1949, put to trial in Torino on Aug. 30th the same year and put on probation for 10 months, called up again to the Avellino C.A.R., and, on his renewed refusal, sentenced to 8 months’ jailing by the Naples military court (on Sept. 29th 1949). He was set free on Dec. 31st 1949 within the frame of a Holy Year jubilee amnesty under the request to show up at the Bari C.A.R. for his military service. On his coming to the assigned barracks, he was taken to the adjacent military hospital and submitted to a medical check-up, to be found suffering from a ‘cardiac neurosis’ and thus immediately discharged.

Additional information
Public transport
Tram 13-15 Rossini stop
Bus 55-56-61 Rossini stop
Bus 18-68 Po stop
Proposed route to the next peace trail station
The next station is located across the street, in Via Verdi 8, where there is the secondary entrance to the Rectorate

Women’s Home

Women and Nonviolence, Feminism and Solidarity

The Women’s Home, located at Via Vanchiglia 3 in a vintage mansion also housing the Gramsci Institute and the Salvemini Institute, was established in 1979 and has since been a meeting and workshop place to a number of Torino’s feminist groups.
The Home was established as Social promotion Society in 2005, aiming at listening and backing women at large, at fostering a gender culture in every social milieu (self-determination, health, motherhood, violence on women, work, peace), at being a place for everyone to express her own creativity. To this purpose, it arranges training courses and offers several listening as well as psychological and legal support schemes; it houses feminist records; it hosts a number of groups, including the Women in black, a prominent issue of pacifist feminism.
This group was established as a network in Jerusalem in 1988, following the onset of the First Palestinian Intifada, and has internationally spread. The local branch meets up in protest on every last Friday of each month – 6.00 to 7.00 p.m. – on the corner of Via Garibaldi with Via XX Settembre.

“The Women in black
REJECT the rationale of nationalism and of weapons
CHOOSE to speak in the first person
TAKE an individual responsibility as to war and destruction, and the hate and exclusion it entails
STATE through silence their radical remoteness from the propaganda outcry of a country in arms
EXPOSE their bodies to other people’s looks to testify to their concrete unshakeable NO to militarism and violence
DRESS in black as a conscious denunciation way of the overwhelming death culture
PROTEST for any war not to be removed or forgotten, for a righteous peace outlook not to look frail and wobbly, and for millions of women and men of various nations not to be thwarted in their strive for a decent living.”

Additional information
Public transport
Tram 13, 15, 16 Vittorio stop
Bus 30, 55, 56, 61 Vittorio stop
Proposed route to the next peace trail station
7 minutes along Via Verdi

Gandhi’s Statue

In Piazza Cavour public garden, right in the middle of what was known in the past as the “noble quarter”, stands Mahatma Gandhi’s bust (1869-1948), donated to the city by the Indian ambassador Rajiv Dogra and inaugurated on April 18th 2008.

“There is no way to peace, peace is the way”
– M. Gandhi

Gandhi is seen up to present days as one of the fathers of modern India, the one who led it to independence through ahimsa, nonviolence.
As a young lawyer, true to his religious belief demanding ahimsa to be practiced to all living beings, and intolerant of all sorts of injustice, he searched for a struggle method both radical in asserting rights and justice, and nonviolent nevertheless. He found it in Satyagraha -‘force of truth’-, a new word he coined on September 11th 1906.
After several campaigns of his, including the salt march (1930-31), and struggles and years in jail, finally India attained independence in 1947, though not the one that Gandhi had been longing for, due to the bloody feuds between Hindus and Muslims, which resulted into the country’s partition into two states (India and Pakistan), and the following year, to the very murder of Gandhi by a radical Hindu blaming him for his overly tolerance of Muslims.
Nonviolence becomes through Gandhi a mass struggle of a whole people for the first time and will be successfully used several times thereafter: by the Afro-Americans’ civil rights movement led by M. L. King, by the Polish rallied in Solidarność, by Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, by the resistance movement in the Philippines, and many other movements not yet on the pages of history books. A few such success stories have been documented in the video collection ‘A force more powerful’, carried out by S. York and M. Zimmermann in the late ’90s.

Nonviolence is the credible alternative to violent revolutions, so often defeated, and a precise method of conflict resolution as well; as a matter of fact suggesting a nonviolent conflict transformation to a worldwide political agenda, so far unfortunately resorting always to military means alone, with disastrous outcomes.
Gandhi believed that politics and economics should aim at ensuring a worthy life to all, through swadeshi – ‘self-reliance’; he foreran current debate on environmental and social sustainability, by questioning the myth of infinite growth.
The Torino Film Festival, in collaboration with the Sereno Regis Study Center, awards every year since 2011 a special prize, ‘Gli occhiali di Gandhi’ – Gandhi’s eyeglasses – to nonviolent cinema production

Additional information
Public transport
Star 1 Rosine stop
Star 2 San Massimo stop
Tram 16 Giolitti stop
Bus 18, 61, 68 Cavour stop
Proposed route to the next peace trail station
10 minutes along Via delle Rosine and Via Po