Today Turin (Torino) is undoubtedly among the pleasant Italian cities to visit. With its museums that certainly offer the historic center offers the whole world, squares and elegant different opportunities to organize an interesting weekend.
Moreover, we do not want to neglect the taste: Turin boasts a long history in terms of elegant coffees and a close link with chocolate that will undoubtedly make the visit even sweeter.
To really discover it, it certainly takes several days, we were there for a weekend and we will tell you in this post what we managed to visit.
Chocolate shops and e historic bar
Turin has always been known as the city of chocolate: a story that began in the past, when the capital was moved to Turin and Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia symbolically offered the city a cup of chocolate.
There are many artisan chocolate shops where you can taste a fine chocolate, we have chosen two. We went to Guido Gobino, where we had a delicious tasting in the internal room. A journey through the more traditional and revisited products, among which the cremino with salt and extra virgin olive oil stands out: a riot of taste. For those with a sweet tooth and fond of dark chocolate, I recommend you try their orange flavored bitter cocoa: a dip in the intense aroma of chocolate.
The Guido Castagna boutique is also noteworthy. Here it is not possible to do tastings, but only to buy the specialties of the maitre chocolatier. According to our taste, his Guinott is the best gianduiotto we tasted during our stay, it does not contain milk and cocoa powder but only hazelnuts and cocoa.
Finally, if you are looking for a good traditional gianduiotto, cut as it was once done with a knife, on the weekend you will find the Ballesio Cioccolato stand directly at the Borgo Medievale in the Valentino park.
As for the historic bars, we chose to visit Baratti & Milano, located in the scenic Galleria Subalpina. With over 150 years of activity, it owes its name to its two founding confectioners. Here they invented the first cremino in history and the café later became a meeting place for intellectuals and the city bourgeoisie. You can choose a coffee table in the gallery or, as we did, one inside where you can appreciate the elegant finishes and the historic counter. We opted for a delicious cocoa and some pastries.
A short distance away, in Piazza Carignano, Farmacia del Cambio is an original pastry shop set in the historic Bestente pharmacy (1833). We took advantage of the beautiful day to sit at their outdoor tables overlooking the beautiful square and taste their dessert called "gianduiotto".
The red brick building of the same name overlooks this square.We advise you to enter its internal courtyard to appreciate its geometric decorations and then come out in front of Piazza Carlo Alberto, to observe how this wonderful nineteenth-century facade differs from the other.
Guided Tour: Somewheretour
Thanks to Somewheretour we were able to discover a truly magical Turin at night. Two trained guides accompanied us for two hours on a path studied through the most significant places in the city to tell us about its link with magic.
We started from places with a darker past, which connect it to black magic and Masonry, and then conclude with those related to white magic. A journey that, thanks to their explanations, allowed us to read with different eyes what surrounded us and better understand past history.
We moved on foot in a Turin illuminated by street lamps, silent and mysterious, reaching even some more distant places with a comfortable minibus. We will not reveal too many details so as not to ruin the experience and the twists, but we confirm that this tour is absolutely not to be missed!
Browse through their different proposals: in addition to the Magic Turin tour, there are many other activities, some more classic and others more unusual to choose from.
Valentino Park and Medieval Village
Located along the banks of the Po, Valentino Park offers a relaxing green oasis a stone's throw from the city. It is really well maintained and embellished with water features, small streams and artistic works created in the course of several national and international exhibitions, such as the beautiful Fountain of the Twelve Months (1898).
More recently, the park has become known on social networks for the modern works of Rodolfo Marasciuolo, which embellish this park even more. Among these, the Lovers' Bench stands out, a bench on which two street lamps are seated and embracing.
Inside the park, also visit the Medieval Village, inaugurated for an Italian exhibition in 1884. It represents the faithful reconstruction of a 15th century village, inspired by real models of different Piedmontese cities. Stroll through its street, purposely built in a zig-zag pattern to create different characteristic views. Inside the buildings, there are also some shops and stands with local products.
In the highest part, there is the Rocca, the only paid section for the visit.
Mole and the National Cinema Museum
In Turin there are museums recognized all over the world, for this short weekend we opted for the Cinema Museum, having already visited the famous Egyptian Museum in the past.
We chose the combined entrance with the panoramic lift that takes you to the dome of Mole for a wonderful panoramic view of the city of Turin and its surroundings. We went there on a sunny day, with clear blue skies and you could see Superga very well in the distance. It was nice to observe the city from above, its beautiful squares and elegant buildings.
The Cinema Museum is a real journey through history: it starts from the archeology of cinema, where you can also experience the different optical devices that marked the birth of cinema. The heart of the museum is built around the main hall, where there are several reconstructions of the sets of important Italian and international works. From here starts a ramp that goes up to the dome, with temporary exhibitions and the poster gallery. During our visit, there was a small but interesting exhibit on the history of Diabolik on the ground floor.
Strolling through squares and arcades
In Turin, marvelous and imposing squares are connected by a capillary network of arcades, which place it in second place in Italy (after Bologna) among the most arcaded cities. Among those that struck us most, there are Piazza San Carlo, the "living room of Turin" with the two twin churches, the church dedicated to San Carlo Borromeo and the one dedicated to Santa Cristina.
Continuing towards the heart of the city you will arrive at Piazza Castello, where Palazzo Madama and Palazzo Reale overlook. With its imposing baroque facade, Palazzo Madama dominates the center of the square. Its interiors house the civic museum of ancient art and the imposing monumental staircase.
A few steps away there is Palazzo Reale, it was the royal residence of the Savoy until 1865. On the gate, as if to protect the palace, dominate the dioscuri, the demigod twins Castor and Pollux on horseback.
The visit begins by crossing several rooms of the palace, finely decorated and furnished. Among those that most impressed us are undoubtedly: the Royal Armory, the ballroom and the chapel of the Shroud. The tour ends by visiting the Sabauda Gallery and the Archaeological Museum.
Walk around the Palace to reach the Dome, dedicated to San Giovanni Battista. The Dome is connected to the Royal Palace through the majestic chapel built to house the Holy Shroud. From here continue to the remains of the Porta Palatina, which in Roman times represented the access to the north of the city.
Return to Piazza Castello and continue along Via Po until you reach Piazza Vittorio Veneto, which boasts the distinction of being the largest arcaded square in Europe. The square ends with the historic Ponte Vittorio Emanuele I, which connects it to the walls of the Po (murazzi del Po) and the Chiesa della Gran Madre. Located in the center of a rotunda, it deserves to be observed closely to search for the various meanings that seem to be hidden in its statues.
Before your trip
- Where to stay? We were guests of the DUPARC Contemporary Suite, a structure just outside the center of Turin, but perfectly connected thanks to the metro which is just a short distance away. The rooms are very large and bright, equipped with all comforts. The bathroom is really large and functional and invites you to relax Inside the structure it is possible to take advantage of the Spa, a pleasant pampering to be given at the end of a day of touring. Jacuzzi, emotional showers, turkish bath and a comfortable relaxation area The structure also offers bicycles with which to reach the nearby Valentino Park and the possibility of charging your own electric car in the internal car park. The breakfast is rich and varied, able to satisfy all tastes, from sweet to savory The service has always been impeccable and we really feel like recommending it!
- Where to eat? We tried 3 very different places:
- For a quick and typical lunch, we suggest you try Gofreria piemonteisa, crunchy waffles, made with flour and water, cooked on a cast iron plate. Very similar to american-waffles, they are stuffed with cold cuts and cheeses or with sweet fillings
- For a more rich but always typical lunch, Fassoneria. Their burgers are 100% delicious Fassona meat, enriched with special fillings
- For dinner, we recommend the restaurant L'Acino. Typical dishes of Piedmontese cuisine, such as the tasty ravioli del plin, the fassona tartare or the tasty baked onion with sausage and cheese
- How to move around? The first day we used the metro to reach the center: efficient and fast service, it is a possibility to consider. On the second day, however, we parked in the convenient parking lot under Piazza Vittorio Veneto. You are immediately in the center and the cost is not that high considering the location (€ 1.50/h)