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Now that temperatures finally lowered and streets are full of red fallen leaves, it’s time for a trip in Turin. It’s a somewhat rare thing that a Milanese chooses this splendid city as a destination for a weekend’s or even a day’s trip. But we assure you that you’re missing out if you don’t even know about a city that still preserves its aristocratic imprint, with its quiet atmosphere, its streets filled with little shops, historical places, artisanal workshops.
Turin is a city that, undoubtedly, always knew how to renovate itself by welcoming more than topical cultural, design and fashion realities, with initiatives linked to the culinary field, the most active one these years. So here’s a concise guide on how to spend a weekend discovering the old Italian capital, the kingdom of good taste and elegance.
WHAT TO SEE
Among the countless museum and palaces that Torino offers a visit to the Egyptian Museum is mandatory. it is the second Egyptian museum in the world (the first being the Il Cairo’s one) for value and quantity of finds relative to the study of this ancient civilization, interesting for the adults, impressive and fun for the children.
More recent and unique in its own kind is MAO, the Eastern art museum, that, besides the classic exhibits, has a rich event calendar aimed to present to the public a culture and an identity very different from ours.
For the photography lovers, there’s Camera – Centro Italiano per la Fotografia: 2.000 square meters, the renewed interiors of what once was the first Italian public school, all devoted «to photography as a language, a form of documentation and artistic expression, with the objective to valorize and promote Italian photography».
More than anything else, anyway, our advice is to just walk around Turin’s historical center, to admire the beauty of its palaces, the preciousness of its squares, its chessboard-like street organization, full of shops, restaurants and historic cafès.
WHERE TO SLEEP
One of the most beautiful hotels in the city is surely the Turin Palace Hotel. This recently renovated hotel features luxurious comforts, extreme cleanliness, design interiors and a great restaurant. Recommended for both business and leisure travelers.
Another option for accommodation is NH Hotel Torino Piazza Carlina at number 15 of Piazza Vittorio. NH Hotels is a well-known chain undoubtedly more business-oriented, but we tell you about this hotel for the excellent renovation of the ancient Regio Albergo di Virtù that stood there before and its enviable location in the town center. Completely restructured and reorganized in its spaces, the NH hotel presents a modern and minimal design with some architectural touches reminding the austerity of its past.
WHERE TO EAT
A must for those visiting the city is certainly the Berbel, a refined restaurant with large tables and contemporary furnishings. It is the kingdom of Nicola di Tarsia that, through a balanced play of tradition and modernity accompanied by an impeccable service, gives us a quality of a Michelin-starred restaurant. The menu is vast and interesting with magical dishes such as rabbit tortelli with peppers and anchovies, spinach and lemongrass risotto, Piedmontese veal with pumpkin cream and Irish coffee caviar or the black Nebrodi pig. Amouses bouche, small pastries, homemade breads and breadsticks accompany this excellent and elegant dinner.
Contesto Alimentare, on the other hand, has a small and very quiet ambient, furnished in a simple and effective way. The Contesto is born from the ideas and travels of the owners who love to create dishes where you can feel the flavors of tradition and territory from homemade pasta, to the selection of local cheeses, although often we can find ingenious and bold creations, entirely new and original . Needless to say, the result is more than successful and the restaurant deserves a visit. Just to tease your curiosity: hazelnut and calf tortelli, rabbit roulade in casserole with black stewed cabbage, marinated and baked duck with radicchio and persimmon, guinea fowl salad with pomegranate, pistachios, roses and cabbage.
Don’t forget to taste a sandwich: the best place to have one is the Caffè Mulassano in Piazza Castello, where it was invented in 1926 by Angela and Onorino Nebiolo, who once decided to remove the crust from toast to make it softer and lighter.
Going down to the Po, between Piazza Bodoni, via Mazzini, Via della Rocca and via dei Mille, it is easy to find interesting and somewhat quiet places that deserve a stopover. Among them are the Bagni Paloma, an old garage where everything you see is on sale, even display furniture and decorations. Mainly it is a clothing store: designers and brands are carefully selected from France to Germany to Japan without forgetting Italian excellencies. Crafted shoes, fine fabrics, knit wool, leather goods and much more.
Before your return home, if you want to buy souvenirs for you and your friends, make a stop at Toc: a small but wonderful chocolate-shop and workshop. Handmade and organic chocolates, but these adjectives are perfect to define not only the product of the work but also the working method of the two young owners, Paul and Mary, with their desire to create something unique and memorable for our taste buds. As they tell us, “chocolate is not just one thing, there are many versions of it, and here you can enjoy the traditional pralines, the dragées, customized tablets, but also mousses, ice creams and, to finish sweetly, the gelées . In short, do not leave Turin without having tried at least one “toc” (touch in dialect) of artisanal chocolate.