My perfect day in Torino starts with a good, strong cup of Espresso coffee: Torino is home to Lavazza, one of the most important roasters in the world with an over one-hundred-year history.
When visiting this Italian region you will discover that it is home to the Slow Food Movement: despite this I always say that, yes, we are the land of slow food, but coffee is the only thing that is fast in this country. Italians tend to spend very little time indulging in coffee: if you have already been to Italy, you must have noticed that Italians stand at the counter, consume their shot of caffeine and they’re gone. Feel free to do it the Italian way, but if you need a break halfway through your sightseeing day, you can also choose to take your time among many historic cafes that have been around for more than a century: they are cozy, nestled under the city’s porticoes and full of architectural and decorative history.
After a coffee, your day in Torino continues with a walk in the center of town where you can choose to either wander around in the 16th century Piazzas and more recent walking areas or visit one of the city’s museums. On a crystal blue day I suggest to experience vertigo with a trip in the lift up Mole Antonelliana, Torino’s most famous landmark and home to the Cinema Museum with its collection distributed over 5 levels. This is the only museum that I suggest for families with children under five.
The route continues to the center of the city, Piazza Castello: scattered all round this area are the city’s great museums:
- The Egyptian museum, with the largest collection (30,000 items) of Egyptian artifacts this side of the Nile River.
- The Royal Armory, the Savoy family weapons’ collection;
- Palazzo Madama, an incongruous but nonetheless intriguing jigsaw of very different historical periods, home to the Ancient Art Museum;
- Palazzo Reale or the Royal Palace: built in the 17th century: the Savoy family ruled their kingdom from here until 1865
- The Risorgimento Museum if you wish to learn more about the Italian history you missed: in 1861 this city was the first capital of the newly united country of Italy.
Halfway through the full day itinerary, a lunch break is paramount! Italy is pizza and pasta land but there’s still lots more to discover: have you ever tried “farinata”? If you are a passionate chickpea consumer, this is a must-try.
Let’s go back to those vintage cafés and top off lunch with Bicerin, a layered drink of melted chocolate, coffee and milk cream.
The afternoon of my perfect day in Torino is spent strolling along the banks of river Po towards Parco del Valentino, a green lung for locals with its Borgo Medievale (Medieval Hamlet) and the Castello del Valentino, a closed-to-the-public imposing summer palace dating back to the 16th century.
We started off with a cup of coffee, but just before dinner we must check out any café in the downtown area to experience the unmissable “premeal”, the aperitivo: alcoholic or not, it is intended to stimulate your appetite but it generally comes with a buffet so large that dinner afterwards is optional.
Thanks for sharing such a fabulous itinerary with us, Carol! If any traveler is headed to this Northern Italian city in 2012, consider spending some time with this extremely knowledgeable and fun local guide. You get get in touch with Carol via her guide profile page.