We love Turin!
Having visited many French cities, including Bordeaux and Lyon, we decided to welcome in the New Year in Italy. We hopped on the TGV and enjoyed a six-hour ride that took us through Burgundy, Lyon and the stunning French/Swiss Alps to Torino.
Turin was our destination of choice because, having traveled quite extensively through Italy, I was keen to get to know the northern cities and Turin seemed like the perfect medium sized, arguably a little overlooked city to enjoy a quiet NYE after we’d both worked over Christmas.
Described by Le Corbusier as the city “with the most beautiful natural location”, whenever you peer up the large grand streets you can see the snow-capped Alps. The Alps aside, Turin was a bit of a home away from home. Turin’s often called ‘the Paris of Italy’ because its architecture is very similar and there is even a Parisian quarter in the city.
We stayed in the neighbourhood of San Salvario, which is just south of the centre and home to lots of good bars and restaurants. Its one of those neighbourhoods – not far from a train station – that has attracted creativity and new business but you will see corners full of drug dealers as you wander to the craft beer bar. It was fun to stay in an area that is still very local and we got to try out our barely existent Italian. Also, the 24 hour Carrefour fast became a regular haunt as we perused all the incredible Italian delicacies. I can’t be the only person who is obsessed with foreign supermarkets surely?
Let’s be honest one of the main reasons we went was, of course, for the food. Turin is where the original hazelnut chocolate spread, called gianduja, was created (it inspired Nutella), created aperitifs such as Cinzano, is home to the amazing agnolotti (meat ravioli) and invented the Bicerin – a chocolatey coffee that is so good on a crisp winter’s day. Throw in great Barolo wine and pizza and you’ve got to get a bit packman in this city. Sipping a Bicerin in one of the stunning historic deco cafes after a chilly walk is basically heaven. Also, the Guatemalan coffee at Sabor was fruity and punchy.
We walked south to a former industrial area of Lingotto to visit Eataly, which is basically a theme park for greedy people. We ate some and drank some Italian craft beers before popping into the former Fiat factory across the street, which is now a slightly 90’s shopping mall in an iconic building by Giacomo Mattè-Trucco’s, which has a race course on the roof. It’s one of the setting of the 60’s The Italian Job.
On New Year’s day we kicked off our 2018 with a bang and I’m not just talking about the strong Espresso we had with breakfast. Turin is home to the world’s second-most important Egyptian Museum, after the one in Cairo and we spent hours gazing at the incredible collection of artifacts in this beautiful museum. The connection between the city and Egypt dates back to the Savoy era, when King Charles Emmanuel acquired several hundred remains that became the foundation for the current collection of more than 30,000 pieces. The best preserved Egyptian tombs in the Galleria dei Sarcofagi(Sarcophagus Gallery) were mind-blowing and the museum is so well-cared for and thoughtful that it helps alleviate some of the sadness that these items are not in their homeland.
After all that excitement, we were hungry again so we went to Kipling‘s on the picturesque Piazza Giambattista Bodoni. The cod cake, carpaccio, spaghetti, veal and Tiramisu that we devoured was delicious (see Instagram for MANY food pics).
Whether walking in one of the cities incredible pallazas – Piazza Vittorio Veneto flanking the river Po or the more intimate Piazzetta Santa Teresa and Piazza della Consolata – or strolling through the park, Turin is a city that is friendly, relaxed and totally full of charm. We left the city very full and very relaxed so basically completely content.