Another city which is well worth a visit in Italy is Turin or Torino in Italian. I must say, it is perhaps my favourite city so far that we have visited whilst living over here. My daughter and her fiancé absolutely love it! This is the second post of the lesser known places to visit after our first post on Perugia.
Where Is Turin?
Turin is the capital of the Piedmont region in Northern Italy and in fact was the first Italian capital city (lesser known fact folks!) from 1861 to 1865.
Known as the Paris of Italy, Turin is known for is numerous art galleries, restaurants, palaces, opera houses etc. There are so many different types of architecture in the city. It is a feast for the eyes wherever you look! The art nouveau architecture is beyond beautiful for me!
It is known as the Paris of Italy due to the fact that the roads are extremely wide boulevards with stunning buildings either side. This is rare in Italy as in most other cities we have visited, the roads are tiny and very narrow! The city therefore feels very airy and open.
The Palaces And Architecture
As Turin was the former capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia and the Kingdom of Italy, it is the home of the Savoy Residences. In addition to the 17th-century Royal Palace, there are many palaces, residences and castles in the city centre and in the surrounding towns. Turin is home to Palazzo Chiablese, the Royal Armoury, the Royal Library, Palazzo Madama, Palazzo Carignano, Villa della Regina, and the Valentino Castle. The complex of the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy in Turin and in the nearby cities was declared a World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1997.
The Turin Shroud
The city is home to the well-known Shroud of Turin. This is a linen cloth bearing the image of a man who appears to have suffered physical trauma in a manner consistent with crucifixion. It is kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in the city centre. The shroud is one of the city’s main symbols and tourist attractions. Despite historical and scientific evidence pointing to it being a 14th-century forgery, it is a symbol of religious devotion. I myself am not religious. However, I found it very moving when sat in the Cathedral staring at the shroud with the true worshipers. It really is quite a special feeling.
There is so much to see in the city that we have been three times and still not seen 70% of what the city has to offer!
Juventus And The Olympics
Obviously you sporty people out there will know that Turin is the home of Juventus F.C. The 2006 Winter Olympics were hosted by Turin. We have been to the visitor centre for the Olympics which is no great shakes if I am honest. However, the view is to die for! It is well worth the climb. You go up the winding road which is reached by crossing the bridge allegedly used by Napoleon over which he entered the city at the time Turin was annexed to the French Empire (along with the rest of Piedmont).
Shopping And Chocolate!
If you like shopping, Turin is definitely the place to go. I much prefer it to Milan which I found very over-rated (quite grimy, expensive and not actually a lot to see apart from the Duomo!). There is a fabulous range of shops to suit all purses. These range from Gucci and Versace to the tiny little boutique shops in the old quarter (well worth a visit!).
Food wise, Turin is famous for chocolate and in particular small triangular prism-shaped chocolate called gianduiotto. You can buy these in most cafes. However my favourite place to buy them in Turin is a chocolate shop called Guido Gobino which is housed in an old pharmacy! Also another famous brand from Turin is the little-known brand of Ferrero! Also, every year Turin organizes CioccolaTÒ, a two-week chocolate festival run with the main Piedmontese chocolate producers.
Turin is also home to the Lavazza brand of coffee. Founded in Turin in 1895 by Luigi Lavazza, it was initially run from a small grocery store at Via San Tommaso 10. There is now a Lavazza museum in Turin. where you can find out everything you want to know about coffee!
Now you know why I love it there!
Where To Stay
We haven’t stayed overnight in Turin as we normally just got the early train from Piacenza directly through to Turin which only takes a couple of hours. Therefore I can’t really recommend anywhere if you do fancy visiting. However, from what I understand, the accommodation is not that expensive so have a shop around.
Go visit, you wont regret it!