When we added Torino (or Turin, as it is sometimes referred to) to our Italy trip itinerary, we weren't quite sure what to expect. I just knew I wanted to visit since it was in the Piedmont Region, which is the area my family on my Mom's side originated from. I was about 90% sure Torino was going to be industrial, boring and probably not vert pretty. However, the Mr. and I were both pleasantly surprised by all that Torino, located a few hours west and slightly south of Milan, had to offer (including some of the best food of our trip,) and it quickly become one of our favorite stops (right after Lake Como). If you're planning a trip to Italy, I'd highly recommend adding Torino to your itinerary! And if you've already been to Torino, let me know your thoughts on it, or your favorite spots there, in the comments!
Like much of our Italy trip, the weather was different than was predicted, meaning we weren't as prepared as we could have been. When it was sunny out, a sweater, jeans and a trench coat were fine (even a little warm at times), but when it rained, I certainly wished I had had a few more layers. This outfit served me well during our visit to Torino and I would definitely suggest something similar if you're visiting the city in the fall/spring.
Talk about foodie heaven. The Piedmont Region, where Torino is located, is the birthplace for so many delicious, well-known Italian foods. Nutella, hazelnuts, truffles, bicerin, baugna cauda, agnolotti, Frangelico, castelmagno cheese, Vermouth, candied chestnuts...the list goes on and on. With so many things, we obviously didn't get to try them all while we were there, but with my family being from the region, I'd grown up with many of the dishes (some I of which I remember and some that I did not).
Panificio Bertino- This is the incredible bakery owned by our Airbnb hosts. If there's one thing you must know about it, it's that you should go here. It's so good! I'd say we consumed their incredible bread and pizzas about 80% of our time in Torino, meaning they were probably super excited when we left and no longer had two Americans cleaning out their entire stock ;) You can read all about the bakery here.
Caffè al Bicerin- This cafe has been around since 1763 and is said to have the best bicerin in Torino. We only tried the drink at one other cafe so I can't say for sure, but this one was definitely was definitely way yummier. Do be mindful of their hours as the first time we went over they were closed (at a time that it definitely seemed like they should have been open). We almost didn't make it back as it was torrentially down pouring out, but I'm so glad we did. It was absolutely divine. Just as we were finishing our drinks, a group of old local men came in for their own afternoon bicerin. Obviously, if it's a spot the old locals are gathering in, you know it's a good one.
Guido Gobino- A divine chocolate shop; make sure you get giandujotti (hazelnut chocolate)....you'll thank me later.
Porto Di Savona (menu)- If you're looking for a spot to find delicious versions of many local favorites, then this is your spot. It was definitely one of my favorite meals of the trip; the restaurant gets very busy so plan to wait a bit (it's nice area to walk around in, though) or make a reservation. I got a seasonal special, tagliatelle with squash blossoms and a cream sauce, and the Mr. got the tajarin (a pasta) with castelmagno cheese (one of the cheeses local to the region). Both dishes were excellent and I would highly recommend them, although to be honest, everything on their menu full of local favorites sounded amazing. For dessert, we settled on the nougat semifreddo with nuts and coffee, and it did not disappoint.
We also got gelato at Eataly (they had some unique flavors that we definitely don't have here in NY), and we bought a few treats (like truffle sausage for only a few euros) at local markets to snack on/have for lunch.
Reason number 176243890 that I love Airbnbs. They allow you to connect with locals in a way that no hotel ever can. If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, I'm sure you'll remember me mentioning/seeing the bakery that our Torino Airbnb hosts owned. Not only did they graciously allow us to eat more than our fair share of their insanely good breads, pizzas and baked goods (and if you think I'm lying about how tasty they were, then trust the line that was almost always out the door), they also allowed us to go behind-the-scenes of their bakery, not once, but twice. Truly, there are no words for how amazing the entire experience was. Of course, special people and special experiences deserve a special post all their own so I'll be sharing more on the bakery soon. In the mean time, just know that I can't recommend this Airbnb enough. Do note, however, that there is no wifi but there are plenty of spots around the city in which you can connect.
Chiesa dei Santi Martiri- One of the most stunning churches I have ever been in. So many intricate and ornate details...it literally took our breath away!
Piazza San Carlo- An absolutely beautiful square full of wonderful architectural details; there are a few coffee shops and such, but it's not overly touristy, which is nice
Vittorio Emanuele I- One of the main bridges in Torino, located right at the end of Piazza Vittorio Veneto; great to walk across and get some views/photos of the River Po
Umberto I- Another bridge for walking across; I liked this one better and thought it was more beautiful
Monte dei Cappuccini- A beautiful late-Renaissance-style church that overlooks the city. It's a bit of a steep, but not very long, hike up to the top, but along the way you walk through some beautiful neighborhoods and the views at the top are pretty breathtaking. Unfortunately, it was cloudy when we went up so we couldn't see them fully, but, on a clear day, you can see the Alps. The church is also open for viewing and is very pretty inside.
Borgo di Medievalle- A castle located in Parco del Valentino; both are beautiful to walk through and see, with many picturesque stops along the way and looking out over the River Po. There are also a few restaurants located within the park and places to rent bikes and boats (so it appeared) but we chose to just walk.
Eataly- If you've been to the Eataly in NY, well, this one in Torino, the original one, is nothing like it. While you can barely get into ours because it's so packed, this one was so empty you could do cartwheels through it. Unlike here in the states, where the store is seen as a destination carrying things you can only get in Italy, in Torino it seems the locals view the store more as commercialized thing. I still enjoyed checking it out, especially since I visit the one here all the time, but it was definitely a hike to get to so keep that in mind if you plan to go.
We took the train from Milan to Torino. It was a beautiful ride with lots of views of the Alps, so if you also happen to take the train here, make sure you keep your eyes peeled and cameras ready.
The first afternoon in Torino, we wandered around the streets, and checked out some churches, like Chiesa dei Santi Martiri, as well as Piazza San Carlo. The next day, our full day there, we spent some time in the bakery then headed out, check out a local market, walked through the squares then across Umberto I, up to Monte dei Cappuccini, then came down, walked through the park to Borgo di Medievalle, and then walked all the way to Eataly. From Eataly, we took the metro back to the center of the city before heading to get bicerins at Caffè al Bicerin. While 2 1/2 days was definitely enough time to see the highlights, I think we both would have liked a couple more days there to check out some of the other restaurants, maybe catch a match at the Juventus stadium, and spent some time outside the city at one of the well-known wineries or hunting for truffles.
Speaking of truffles, in Italy, fall is prime truffle season. There are truffles everywhere on everything. If you can make it, there's even a truffle festival in Alba, another town in the Piedmont Region.