The highest point on the left bank of the Po, dominating the Park of Amusements, is occupied by the Public Works Exhibition, which is linked to the Railway Exhibition. The galleries of the two exhibitions form a single curved line of colonnades, surmounted by pediments and domes which on the one hand look out over the hill and on the other stand out, with their imposing mass, against the bluish background of the Alps. The large square, divided into flowerbeds, slopes gently down to the entrance of the temporary Pilonetto bridge.
The Province of Turin is at the beginning of the exhibition of public works. Just as the city of Turin gave us proof of its activity in its pavilion at the entrance to the Victor-Emmanuel courtyard, so the Province of Turin is exhibiting here the state of the important problems it has to solve. This Province, with a surface area of 10,233 km. and 1,147,555 inhabitants (in 1901), is the fourth largest in Italy, after those of Cagliari, Rome and Sassari, and also the fourth largest in terms of population, after Milan, Rome and Naples. Let us not forget that this area of land includes a large part of the mountainous zone, with great unevenness of terrain to be overcome, impetuous torrents to be regulated, and vast areas subject to avalanches to be reforested.
After examining the map of the province itself in the hallway, divided into zones according to altitude, we immediately find the studies for the channelling of the Po in the first room on the left.
The rectification of the course of the Po and its navigability is one of the economic problems of greatest interest not only to Turin, but to the whole of Piedmont. This subject, which is very topical, is linked to the studies that are currently being carried out to make the Po navigable from Pavia to Venice.
The maps on display show the project for a navigable canal from Turin to Pavia, passing through Monferrato, and a second project to make the river navigable upstream of Turin, by correcting its course between Moncalieri and Casalgrasso. Napoleon I went even further in the designs inspired by his genius and had the project for a grandiose canal, navigable from Savona to Turin, studied, passing through the Apennines. But even by connecting to the sea via the longer route from Pavia and Venice, waterborne trade would already bring a considerable increase in traffic to the entire Piedmont area.
In the first room, the Provincial Delegation immediately brings us to the heart of the road issue with an exhibition of paving materials, from the broken stones of the Po to the gravel of the Sangone, from the serpentine of the Canavese to the various limestones of the Dolomites. This subject, arid in itself, is made attractive by the relief of the Piossasco Quarries, which the Province of Turin is exhibiting.
This relief, on a scale of 1:500, is about 1 by 2 metres. The two huts used to transport the materials extracted from the quarries have been reproduced; in the lower hut the mill that breaks and divides the materials into six different sizes operates. Next to it, the two huts currently in use are reproduced on a scale ten times larger (1:50). The material extracted from the quarries is 40 cubic metres per day and its cost price is about 7 cents lower than that of the material on the market.
The relief was executed by the mapmaker Dominique Locchi, with the help of his son Titus. A second grandiose relief, which covers the whole province of Turin and the surrounding areas, is on display in the Alpine Village by Mr. Locchi. It is on a scale of 1:100,000 and is 2 metres by 1.50 metres; it goes from Val Varaita in the south to Brig in Valais in the north; from Santhià in the east to St. Michel in the Arc valley in the west. The whole of the great chain of the Alps is included in the relief in question, from Mount Viso to the Gran Paradiso, to Mont Blanc, to the Matterhorn, to Monte Rosa, as far as the lake of Geneva and the Simplon group, and offers a mass which rises from the plain, producing an effect full of movement. All the railway problems that are troubling Piedmont, from the Briançon line to those of the Cenis, Petit and Grand St. Bernard and Mont Blanc, can be studied and followed with pleasure and knowledge on this level.
Let us continue our tour. The road materials are followed by the diagrams. These tell us how much it has cost Piedmont in the last 50 years or so, from 1866 to 1910, to maintain the roads. Then there are various special maps, from the inter-municipal roads, administered by the Province, to those leading to railway stations and connecting isolated municipalities.
The room is completed by a completely different kind of service, which is also the responsibility of the Province. These are the accounting records of the Royal Lunatic Asylum and the Provincial Hospice for Foundlings, with plans for new, larger buildings that meet modern needs.
The second room is entirely devoted to the reforestation service carried out by mutual agreement between the State and the Province of Turin. The studies and works begun are shown, accompanied by numerous photographs for the systematisation of the four mountain streams, the Prebec, the Fornol, the Torrent des Vignes and the Lemina.
The "Chaire ambulante" and the "Bureau technique d'agriculture" for the Province of Turin exhibit agricultural samples and the "Station agraire expérimentale" of Turin, with the collaboration of the "Scuola agraria" of Caluso, various albums.
The Province of Turin has also opened a special competition for road machinery in the special road exhibition that we will soon find on our tour of the Pilonetto.
©Guide Officiel de l'Exposition Internationale de Turin 1911