With its elegantly wide avenues and bustling covered porticos, Torino (Turin) is a jewel of the unified Italy. Its facade is a study in Baroque, Rococo, Neo-Classical and Art Nouveau architecture, while its heart is personified in the warm and dignified grace of its citizens. In Torino you are continually reminded of the city’s historical pedigree and how that unique heritage has left an indelible mark on the face of even the Torino of today. A legacy of change and progress has permeated all of Torinese society, cultivating an unwavering spirit to innovate and lead, as evidenced through both its civic and industrial endeavors. It is not by sheer coincidence that Torino is the birthplace of the Risorgimento, an industrial hotbed fostering the likes of Fiat and Alfa Romeo, a springboard for the Italian cinematic arts, and a vanguard of Modern and Contemporary art and literature in Italy. There is an unmistakable energy that eminates from every corner of Torino – a throbbing, restless type of energy that can only come from a well-worn city that has known progress and strife and still catapults itself forward into the unknown. Rooted in yesterday but with a rebellious eye on tomorrow, Torino is as much a part of the fabric of cultural Italy as Pavarotti or the Pantheon.
In no particular order, five things we love about Torino…
1. Housed in the glorious 17th century La Mole Antonelliana tower, Torino’s National Museum of Cinema takes its visitors on an inspiring journey through cinematic history. From pre-cinematographic “magic lanterns” to modern motion picture memorabilia, work your way through the museum’s spiraled configuration of avant-garde exhibits showcasing everything from film crew activities and film genres, to set design pieces and famous costumes. End your visit with a ride on a glass elevator that takes you to the top of La Mole for breathtaking views of Torino and the surrounding Alps.
2. Delicately wrapped little golden-orange boxes line the mahogany shelves of artisanal chocolatier and hometown favorite Guido Gobino’s charming little shop. The smell of richly delicious, sinfully scrumptious cocoa hits your nostrils while eager shoppers happily buzz around and order at the counter. One bite of Gobino’s famed gianduja chocolates and you too will worship at the alter of hazelnut and chocolate.
3. Eat your way through Italy under one roof and explore the country’s industrial heritage all without leaving the same block. Eataly Torino, an enclosed food megalopolis devoted to all things Italian and delicious, rises in the shadow of the Lingotto, Fiat’s famed former headquarters. Explore Renzo Piano’s re-design of the Lingotto into a glass and steel ode to innovation before grabbing a seat at one of Eataly’s coveted mini-bistros, where you can consume and imbibe the country’s best regional delicacies.
4. Since 1858, Baratti & Milano has been serving up steamy, creamy coffee and chocolate drinks, like Torino’s famous bicerin, within the luxuriously gilded Beaux-Arts confines of its coffee and confections parlor. Historically frequented by Savoy royalty and the 19th century intelligentsia of Torino, this society mainstay is the perfect place to catch a glimpse of the city’s romantic past.
5. No visit to Torino, or to Piemonte for that matter, is complete without indulging on the local favorite: Vitello Tonnato (or Vitel Toné in the native dialect). Typically eaten as a secondo (second course) during the summer or as an antipasto (appetizer) during the winter months, the dish is comprised of thinly sliced marinated veal bathed in a creamy tuna, anchovy and caper sauce. The beauty of the dish lies in the quality of the veal and in the freshness of the ingredients used to prepare the sauce. Unconventionally delicious, Vitello Tonnato is a must for anyone serious about enjoying true Piemontese cuisine.
About the author
Dejou Marano is Co-Founder of CountryBred and Founding Editor of The Bred Blog. Splitting her time between Los Angeles and Europe, Dejou seeks to bring the imagination and wonder of Europe to all travelers through her never-ending pursuit of undiscovered cultural gems and experiences, which she shares through her travel writing.
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