The Holy Shroud of Turin is a marvel unique in its kind: The impression of Jesus Christ’s image on a linen cloth, not just a picture but a impression by contact.
There are still many questions surrounding it, some relate to faith and other look into scientific aspects.
The first mentions to the Holy Shroud date back to the 5th century when, with the fall of the Roman Empire, the center of Christianity gradually moved towards Byzantium.
The Holy Shroud was presumably later on taken from Byzantium to Europe by the Crusaders, ending up at the Duchy of Savoy (on the south-east of modern France).
Already a well-known object of devotion, this relic has changed hands several times until it became the property of the House of Savoy, the local ruling family. It was kept in Chambery till 1578 when it was brought to Turin, the new capital of Savoy.
In 1983 Umberto II of Savoy, Italy’s last crowned king, legged it in his testament to the Holy See with the condition that it should remain in Turin.
It is exposed on special occasions, being the last one from 19 April to 24 June 2015 when thousands of pilgrims from all over the world flooded Turin to both venerate it and to visit many of the other religious shrines here located.
The Shroud is kept locked at Turin’s Cathedral but, nearby, there is a special museum devoted to it and an identical copy can be seen at the Church of San Lorenzo.
In ancient times, thanks to both the Holy Shroud and its geographical position, the Via Francigena (Old French Road) run through Piedmont. It was used by pilgrims from France and more distant places such as Santiago de Compostela or Canterbury to go to Rome or to the Holy Land.
The legacy of the Via Francigena has been a considerable number of outstanding and well preserved churches, abbeys and monasteries unique in their kind and reflection of those ancient times. Many of them still remain the center of a vivid spiritual life.