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Photos by Lucia Ranieri

The Chiesa della Gran Madre di Dio (Church of the Great Mother of God) is located in front of Piazza Vittorio Veneto, on the other side of the river beyond Ponte Vittorio Emanuele I.

It was from this bridge, dedicated to him, that Vittorio Emanuele I returned to the city on May 20, 1814. His forced exile in Sardinia due to Napoleonic rule had lasted 16 years. To commemorate the return of the House of Savoy, the city decided to build a church in this location. The project also included distributing bread to the poor on May 20 each year.

The church was designed by Ferdinando Bonsignore in 1818 and was inaugurated on May 20, 1831, in the presence of King Carlo Alberto.

Gran Madre di Dio
Chiesa della Gran Madre di Dio – The Faith

Built in neoclassical style, the Chiesa della Gran Madre recalls the Pantheon in Rome. The imposing entrance staircase elevates the church a few meters above street level. This architectural feature provides a captivating view from Piazza Vittorio Veneto and Via Po. The area along the river where the church stands is lower than Via Po and the rest of the city. Without this elevation, the church would not be visible, and we would miss out on this fantastic panorama.

At the foot of the staircase stands a statue of King Vittorio Emanuele I, while two statues representing Faith and Religion flank the sides. The Mother of God is depicted in the bas-relief on the pediment, where the city’s decurions pay homage, as well as in the main altar statue.

Altar statue

In the center of the nave, through an opening, you can see the crypt of the church, which since 1932 has housed the remains of approximately 4,000 soldiers who died in Turin hospitals during World War I.

The Symbolism of the Chiesa della Gran Madrem di Dio

The Symbolism of the Great Mother The church also has lesser-known aspects related to beliefs, legends, and mystery. There is rich symbolism that suggests it is a construction tied to mystery and esotericism, to the point of identifying it as a place of the ‘Black Turin.’

On the other hand, many positive details balance out the occult signs, placing it within ‘White Turin.’

View of Piazza Vittorio

Due to this dichotomy, we have chosen to include it in the category of ‘Gray Turin.’ However, it is undoubtedly a must-visit location on an esoteric tour of the city.

Black vs White

The table below summarizes and compares the two aspects.

The church is consecrated and performs regular Catholic parish services.Almost as if to distance itself, the owner is not the Catholic Church but the Municipality of Turin. 
Its characteristic shape resembles an upside-down cup, a clear reference to the Holy Grail.It appears to be a pagan building. The church is completely devoid of crosses. Additionally, the bas-relief on the pediment, where the city’s decurions pay homage to the Mother of God, recalls depictions dedicated to the gods-
The symbol of the Grail is also evoked by the statue on the left (Faith), which holds the cup in her left hand. On the back of the statue on the right (Religion), we can observe an inverted papal tiara placed on the ground, symbolizing the decline of papal power and the twilight of religion. It appears that this prophecy dates back to Nostradamus.
On the forehead of Religion, there is also a triangle with an eye inside, which would represent the Eye of God.The eye is also one of the most well-known and common esoteric and Masonic symbols. In ancient Egyptian culture, it represented the son of the goddess Isis.
It appears that it was built on top of an ancient temple of Isis, which was also known as the Great Mother.

The Holy Grail

According to tradition, the two statues should provide an indication of the location of the Holy Grail.

Some believe it is in the direction that Faith is looking. However, the statue lacks an iris, so the direction remains somewhat vague.

Chiesa della Gran Madre di Dio

Chiesa della Gran Madre di Dio – The religion

Others suggest that the Grail would be located at the point indicated by Religion. Unfortunately, the statue is so elevated that it generically points to the entire city.

It is also said that the three most important relics of Christ are always in the same place. Turin already houses the Holy Shroud in the Cathedral and a piece of the Cross in Santa Maria Ausiliatrice. Therefore, the Holy Grail must be somewhere in the city.

Research begins from this church!