A Weekend in Turin (Torino)

Today I return to Torino (aka Turin)! I can’t believe I’ve never blogged about my favourite Italian city. In November, I visited Francesca’s hometown with her and loved it, despite it pouring so hard the city flooded (the same storms that devastated Cinque Terre). Here are some ideas on how to spend a weekend in Turin.

Palazzo Madama

Torino exemplifies a city that actually benefited from hosting the Olympics, which in 2006 aided Torino’s transformation from an industrial town (Fiat) to a very lively, cosmopolitan city with cafes, galleries and modern and ancient museums. 

 Monte dei Cappuccini

High above the city, the Monte dei Cappuccini glows under an art installation. 


Truffles! We traveled to nearby Alba to attend the festival. The Piedmont region of Italy (in the north, near France) is famous for it’s truffles and chocolate, and other wonderful things to consume. We can thank Torino for vermouth, ice cream on a stick and the slow food movement. There’s also a lovely beverage called Bicerin=hot chocolate+espresso+cream : )

The fam! Pictured here: Francesca’s cousin Paolo, her grandparents and her mom, whom we stayed with. This photo was taken at her grandparents’ apartment, where we enjoyed a wonderful lunch that included polpette. This is the Italian word for meatballs, but in Italy, polpette can be made of meat or vegetables, and her grandmother made them with eggplant. Sooo good. So so good. She was really frying away in that kitchen of hers. 

Eggplant polpette.

Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace of Turin) of the House of Savoy, which ruled the kingdom of Italy until the mid-twentith century. Some more interesting info from Wikipedia:

“Turin, like the rest of Piedmont, was annexed by the French Empire in 1802. The city thus became seat of the prefecture of department until the fall of Napoleon in 1814, when the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia was restored with Turin as its capital. In the following decades, the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia led the struggle towards theunification of Italy. In 1861, Turin became the capital of the newly proclaimed united Kingdom of Italy[15] until 1865, when the capital was moved to Florence and then to Rome after the conquest of the Papal States in 1870. In 1871, the Fréjus Tunnel was opened, making Turin an important communication node between Italy and France. The city in that period had 250,000 inhabitants. Some of the most iconic landmarks of the city, like the Mole Antonelliana, the Egyptian Museum, the Gran Madre di Dio Church and Piazza Vittorio Veneto were built in this period. The late 1800s were also a periop of rapid industrialization, especially in the automotive sector: in 1899 Fiat was established in the city, followed by Lancia in 1906. The Universal Exposition held in Turin in 1902 is often considered the pinnacle of Art Nouveau design, and the city hosted the same event in 1911. By this time, Turin had grown to 430,000 inhabitants.”

At some point during our adventures in the rain, my socks became so soaked that I needed to buy a new pair, which I did in this shop. Conveniently, the button on my coat chose this time to pop off and the lady at the register volunteered to sew it back on for me. So sweet! Customer service does exist in some parts of this world.

Charlie Bird jazz pub: pizza, music and wine! This place was awesome and I definitely plan on going back. 

They’re not as bad as the Spanish, but Italians love staying out late (so, so late). I like to be in bed by 11, but occasionally I’ll be a sport. Here’s a little trick I learned at this place around 2 a.m.: a shot of espresso followed by absinthe will wake you right up. Zing!

In addition to partying, gallery hopping and listening to music, Torino offers opera, theatre and plenty of other places to visit, including the National Museum of Cinema, the Egyptian Museum of Turin (home to the largest collection of artifacts outside Egypt) and the Shroud of Turin, supposedly the cloth Jesus was buried in (located in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, the Shroud is only displayed once a decade. Around Easter, CBS posted this interesting blurb).