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Checking out TURIN

26th September 2023

Checking out Turin.

We are going to Turin, we said. Why? was the most common response. Having now returned from our trip, we would like to tell you why it is a visit that is totally worth your while. It is a major city in Piedmont with a great deal of history, it has its own airport and it is just under 2 hours by train from Milano Centrale.

TURINIt has the typical feel of a North Italian town, studded with buildings that are testament to historical wealth and trade. It has a solidity about it that has grown out of investment and innovation, way before the glory years of the Fiat empire that can still be appreciated in Lingotto.

We stayed in a gloriously opulent and faded B&B called Casa della Contessa on Via XX Settembre in the heart of the city (which was very good value). It always feels like a roll of the dice when choosing somewhere unfamiliar in a city because you can never really ascertain where the pulsing heart of a metropolis is. This was spot on and just a couple of minutes walk from the wonderful cathedral. It is a 20 minute walk from the Stazione di Porta Nuova, the main arrival station in the city; and if it rains – as we discovered – you can largely walk under cover because the city is peppered with attractive colonnades, that beautifully arch over the pavements and offer shade from the sun and protection from rain, snow and wind.

There is a good deal of Art Nouveau architecture around the city. In Italy the style is called Liberty and Turin was the erstwhile Liberty capital of Italy. Many buildings are concentrated in Cit Turin, to the North West of Porta Susa (which you will meet again when you travel to Lingotto). It is quietly ostentatious with a wonderful ‘wow’ factor.

The city is full of beautiful squares to visit and admire, and maybe just sit and have an ice cream or drink. Old, stylish bars and cafes are ubiquitous, many of them with tremendous history. On Piazza Vittorio Veneto there is Caffè Elena, established in 1889 – they have a house Aperol Spritz which is something just a little different and very delicious. As it is located at the top end of the Piazza, with glorious views down through the open square to the other side of the river and to the Gran Madre di Dio. It also has a lovely small book nook in the atmospheric interior. Another notable square is Piazza San Carlo, with its beautiful colonnades and wonderfully open feel.

There is a lot of graffiti throughout the city and probably the most well known piece on Lungo Dora Savona is the Rat by well known Belgian artist ROA.

In the Cathedral – The Duomo  di San Giovanni Battista – and a beautiful building in itself, there is the Turin Shroud. As a visitor, one simply turns up, there is no entry fee, there are no queues and some simple seating to sit and contemplate. Imagine if this had been housed in Rome! There the buzz would mean queues several times around the block and no doubt pressure to book an entry time. And this is the lovely things about Turin: tourists are not ubiquitous and don’t hoard the pavements. One can slip in and out of attractions without a wave of bodies swamping the experience.

Make time for Santuario Basilica La Consolata, apparently the oldest church in Turin, situated on a quiet square where you can indulge in food and drink. It has a rather fine silver Madonna which is paraded during festival time. The church is just south west of the market at Porta Palazzo which seems to sell just about everything.

A day trip to Lingotto is an absolute must. Trains depart every 20 minutes or so from Porta Susa and already the first stop is Lingotto, the area where Fiat set up its headquarters. It is a twenty minute walk from the station is the erstwhile Fiat Factory, now turned into a stylish out-of-town shopping centre. On the roof, however, there is the wonderful test track used to put the cars that had been built on the floors below through their paces. Renzo Piano has softened the harsh concrete by turning it into an attractive green space, which you can walk around, imagining the cars driving at top speeds.


From the Fiat Factory it is a again a 20 minute walk (everything seems to be a 20 minute walk 😉) to the Car Museum – MAUTO – where the story and history of the car unfolds, with innumerable examples of automobiles from every period in history. It is an absolutely fascinating experience, even for those who aren’t particularly interested in cars. Take the 8 bus back into town (and don’t forget to buy your ticket at the Tabaccheria before you board).

TURINWondering about food? There is a huge selection (and variety) of good food available and we share our favourite of the visit: Pastificio DeFilippis, in a central location and a beautiful old art nouveau building. Exceptional pasta dishes, great attention to detail and reasonably priced food. (The pasta illustrations at the entrance indicate the pasta available for take-away, in the restaurant there is a different choice).

There are plenty of Museums and Palazzi to visit and the big draw is the Museo Egizio, dedicated to Egyptian archaeology and anthropology.

We have only skimmed the surface of the this amazing city, but hope that by just highlighting a few of the things to see, you will consider popping the city on your “To Visit” list. We are certainly intending to return.

Of course, we have plenty of books set in Turin and you can peruse the titles on this link.

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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