With Eurovision landing in Turin any minute now, we decided to shine the spotlight on this elegant host city. Famous for Fiat, vermouth and chocolate, the Piedmontese capital was also the first capital of Italy – endowing it with an incredible architectural heritage. The baroque palazzos and art nouveau cafés that line its boulevards hark back to this historic era, while the alpine peaks beyond crown the cityscape. Here, we’ve rounded up the top things to do and see in Turin.
Food & drink
Turin’s cuisine alone is a reason to visit. As the capital of Piedmont, it’s a place to try some of the finest samples of the wider region’s delicacies – whether that’s a velvety smooth local truffle pasta, a Bicerin (a drink invented in Turin comprising espresso, chocolate and cream) or a vermouth aperitif (also a signature of the city).
The food here is characterised by rich flavours, featuring lots of hazelnut, cheese and meat in stews and risottos. Turin also has a reputation for chocolate; laying claim to creations that include the gianduiotto (a recognisable, gold bar-shaped and buttery soft hazelnut chocolate), and with a chocolate-making tradition that goes back hundreds of years. But the city’s culinary culture goes much deeper than that – while you’re there, don’t miss trying ‘tajarin al burro e salvia’, a dish made with the region’s native, delicately thin-stranded pasta (taglierini, though the locals call it tajarin) laced with sizzling sage butter and then tossed lightly in pecorino cheese and black pepper. Head to Tre Galli or Scannabue Caffè for helpings of homemade pasta, or round off your day with panna cotta, or cooked cream – another local speciality.
Head to the Quadlerato area to explore – it may be old but it has a great buzz to it, filled with popular eateries and bars like La Drogheria in Piazza Vittorio Veneto. Cross the river from here and walk up the hill towards the Church of Santa Maria al Monte dei Cappuccini, where you’ll find the best view of Turin. If you’re keen for a speedier way to get around, take a city cycling tour or a vespa tour followed by a winery visit and tasting.
Architecture & culture
Giardini Reali di Torino, Turin, Italy
Turin’s legacy as the first Italian capital means that it boasts a wealth of amazing buildings, from the old to the art nouveau and more contemporary. Admire Italian architect Renzo Piano’s converted Fiat factory design before marvelling at the Palazzo Carignano, where you can step inside the seat of Italy’s first parliament. Take a stroll towards the graceful Giardini Reali di Torino (gardens featuring fountains and 18th-century statues) and the next-door Palazzo Madama. This particular palace is also a museum, with four storeys showcasing art and relics that date from the Middle Ages up until the Renaissance.
For music-loving travellers, a recently opened arts and music centre called OGR (Officine Grandi Riparazioni) often hosts events with musicians like Kraftwerk and Omar Souleyman. Then there’s the fascinating and exquisite Museo Casa Mollino, the old residence of Italian architect Carlo Mollino that you can now take tours around. Other unmissable cultural attractions include the Cinema Museum, the Automobile Museum and the Egyptian Museum. And if you’re craving nightlife after a cultural day out, head to Turin’s ‘Murazzi’; this area is found on the banks of the city’s River Po and offers music, clubs, bars and restaurants.
Where to stay
NH Torino Lingotto
Former FIAT car factory, NH Torino Lingotto
The NH Torino Lingotto is the ultimate destination for automotive and architecture aficionados. Housed in a former FIAT car factory, the hotel was designed and refurbished under the guidance of mastermind Renzo Piano. Rooms wrap around a green oasis named ‘The Garden of Wonders’, and the rooftop jogging track lets guests work up a sweat with views over Turin.
Residenza Dell' Opera hotel
The Residenza Dell' Opera hotel offers high-ceilinged, spacious and stylish rooms and apartments right in the centre of Turin, within easy walking distance of Piazza Castello Square, the Royal Palace of Turin, and Madama Palace.
B&B Via Stampatori
Charming courtyard, B&B Via Stampatori
Just a short walk from the Palazzo Madama, B&B Via Stampatori is housed in an old palazzo itself. Centred around a charming courtyard, the rooms have been decorated artfully to combine antique furniture and features with modern amenities and design. Enjoy homemade breakfast on the plant-lined sun terrace before heading out to hit the sights.
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