The northern city of Turin is not on everyone’s “bucket list” (how I loathe that phrase) of places to visit in Italy. Dismissed as an ugly industrial city, “For Italians, Turin is still perceived as a kind of “grim up north” metropolis of heavy industry, with its emblematic Fiat factories“. Maybe this is why a lass from the north of England was rather taken with it.
Just the mountains alone at the beginning of Italy Unpacked‘s visit to Turin show that this is a most undeserved reputation.
Turin is the non-tourist city that really deserves a visit. Yes it does have its great industries: Fiat, Olivetti, Lavazza, chocolate manufacturer Caffarel with Ferrero and Nutella close by too. But you will also find an elegant city known as il salotto d’Italia (Italy’s drawing room) packed full of 19th century art noveau style cafès where you can sit down and really savour a coffee (rather than the rush at the bar espresso affair here in Rome).
And this is not just any coffee, this is bicerin – an unsurprisingly fabulous mix of coffee, chocolate and cream.
My preference is always to walk a city rather than have a specific plan of things to do or places to see. With snow capped mountains peeping down every street, the architecture rich in baroque and it’s status as Italy’s first capital and parliament after its unification, Turin is made for idling strolls. So, lose yourself in the porticoes and squares made famous as a race track in the Italian Job – giving you glimpses of the cafe society as the minis whizz by.
With an incredible collection at the Egyptian museum, a museum of cinema at the Mole Antonelliana, and the Risorgimento Museum (all closed on Mondays – plan your trip carefully) not to mention being the home of the Turin shroud, there are plenty of reasons for a return visit. I just have to get on with that list.
Part 2 Piemonte Foodie Heaven