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Piazza Statuto and its monument are an ideal starting point for a tour of Magical and Historical Turin. The square, located at the end of Via Garibaldi, can be seen as the western entrance to the historic center of Turin. Piazza Statuto is dedicated to the Statuto Albertino (Albertine Statute), proclaimed by King Carlo Alberto in 1848 from the balcony of Palazzo Carignano.

The appearance of the square originated from Vittorio Emanuele II’s desire to renew the city, which had become the capital of the Kingdom of Italy. In 1863, work began under the supervision and funding of a British company. Based on a design by Giuseppe Bollati, the English were interested in utilizing the buildings in the square in what was then Italy’s most important city.

Unfortunately, the year following the opening of the construction site, the decision was made to transfer the capital to Florence. This diminished the interests of the British company, which abandoned its construction. The square was then completed at the expense of the Municipality of Turin. The works were finished in 1865, giving it its current appearance.

Piazza Statuto

Giovanni Battista Beccaria

Giovanni Battista Beccaria was tasked by King Carlo Emanuele III in 1759 to calculate the length of the meridian arc crossing Turin and Piedmont during the late 18th century. Beccaria placed a stone in the current Piazza Statuto and another at the end of Corso Francia near Rivoli for measurement purposes. Using trigonometric calculations and triangulations, Beccaria presented his results in 1774, estimating a length of 112.06 km—an extraordinary achievement for the time. Interestingly, today’s recognized length is only slightly shorter at 111.37 km.

Over time, the two stones used for measurement were forgotten and covered. During French rule in 1808, General Sanson sought them out. Eventually, identical obelisks were erected atop these stones. The Rivoli obelisk was inaugurated on October 8, 1808, while the one in Piazza Statuto was inaugurated on December 7. Unfortunately, the Piazza Statuto obelisk now stands abandoned in a neglected garden.

Piazza Statuto
Beccaria obelisk

Piazza Statuto and its monument

The Monument to the Fréjus Rail Tunnel, located in the center of the gardens, was inaugurated in 1879. It celebrates the completion of the railway connection between Piedmont and France through the Fréjus mountain tunnel. The tunnel was completed in 1871. The monument takes the form of a pyramid constructed from massive stones extracted during tunnel excavation.

At the top of the pyramid stands a statue representing the Winged Genius of Science. Adorned with a five-pointed star on its head, it pays homage to the scientific achievements that enabled the tunnel’s construction.

On the monument, you can also observe suffering marble figures (Titans) depicted as if climbing the pyramid. The complex is intended to symbolize reason triumphing over brute force.

Piazza Statuto
Monument to the Fréjus Rail Tunnel. (The Genius is without star on the top)

Stories and legends about Piazza Statuto

As mentioned, Piazza Statuto is also the ideal starting point for a tour of Magical Turin. The square’s allure lies primarily in its esoteric stories and legends, shrouding Turin in mystery and the occult.

Firstly, since Roman times, this location (outside the city walls) was where convicts were executed and the dead were buried. The rationale was that it lay to the west, where the sun sets and darkness emerges. Thus, according to the norms of the era, it was a fitting place for those guilty of specific crimes.

Even today, the square maintains this ancient aspect, opening to the west while narrowing toward the east, giving rise to Via Garibaldi.

Highly controversial is the Winged Genius sculpture. Some argue that it is not a Genius but rather an angel, the most beautiful of angels: Lucifer. Notably, it bears a five-pointed star on its head, a magical and Masonic symbol simultaneously.

Furthermore, the position of its left hand suggests a desire to repel and crush those who laboriously climb toward Knowledge. In the monument, these climbers are symbolized by the Titans.

Piazza Statuto
The Winged Genius of Science

Near the Fréjus monument, one of Turin’s main sewer system entrances exists. Some view it as access to Alchemical Caves, while others believe it serves as the gateway to Hell.

Cinema Statuto and numerology

The fame of Piazza Statuto as a magical place is heightened by the dramatic fire at the Statuto cinema. On February 13, 1983, a fire broke out, likely due to a short circuit. During the screening of the film La Capra (The Goat), the audience attempted to escape, but safety exits were closed. Tragically, 64 people died from smoke inhalation.

Statuto cinema

This incident holds esoteric and symbolic implications:

  1. The date: February 13. The number 13 is often associated with the devil.
  2. The film was a “second viewing” and in its 13th week of screening in Turin.
  3. The 64 victims were evenly distributed: 31 men, 31 women, one boy, and one girl.
  4. The sum of 31 (men and women) is a reversed 13.
  5. It occurred during Carnival, with the city parade themed around the devil.
  6. The film’s title, “La Capra,” corresponds to a Devil in the tarot card.
  7. Last coincidence: public transport line number 13 passes near Piazza Statuto.

The mystery of the star

As mentioned on the head of the Winged Genius of Science (or, if you prefer, the Angel) that crowns the Frejus monument, there was a five-pointed star. Besides the esoteric meaning it represents, there is another curious coincidence.

Perhaps due to bad weather, theft, vandalism, or some other reason, the five-pointed star on the Winged Genius disappeared. Do you know when it happened? Well, it occurred in… 2013. There’s that number 13 again.

The star was reinstalled during restoration work on the Frejus monument in 2021. In this case, there are no connections to the number 13. Fascinating, isn’t it?