Since we first visited Turin in Spring of 2010, it has captured our hearts as an 'off the beaten path' slice of Italy. While it seems highly hypocritical for this tourist to say that she prefers to visit places that don't have a ton of tourists in them, it's true. There is so often a direct correlation between the amount of tourists and the preponderance of souvenir junk and lack of accessibility to authentic local culture.
There is so much to love about Turin. It is the founding city of the slow food movement, which results in a myriad of great restaurant choices and some fascinating gourmet food shops. It also has a good transportation system and is a very walkable city, with many of the 'must-see' attractions in the old city center.
If people watching is your thing, there are many piazzas where you can take your gelato, find a bench or a set of stairs and while away the hours watching locals go about their daily lives.
If, like Rick and I you love to visit churches, Turin is nirvana. There are so, so many of them. All beautiful and almost all empty of visitors. If Catholic religious pilgrimage sites interests you, the Shroud of Turin Museum is located in the city. (The shroud itself is not scheduled to be on display again until 2025.)
Here, is a quick reference to our recommendations for Turin:
- Antica Villa del Nobile - Our home away from home in Turin.
- Dai Saletta - Listed in the Slow Food Italy guide, this restaurant serves traditional Piedmonte cuisine and is reasonably priced.
- Ristorante La Via del Sale - Recommended to us by a friend, this restaurant served one of our favorite meals on our trip. Their Pork medallions with apple main course was scrumptious, and don't even get me started on the chocolate lava cake - I think I died and went to heaven.
- Grom - With many locations throughout Italy, this shop sells consistently good gelato.
- + Di Un Gelato - This gelato store (which has a location across the street from the antique store listed below - how convenient) makes a superb, artisanal gelato. Yummy.
- Eataly - with a flagship store in the Lingotto district, and a satellite store in the old town, this store is heaven for foodies. They also serve meals in the store. When we were there in 2010, our entire party ate at the Lingotto location and had good meals. My parents ate there again on this trip, and their opinion was that both the meal and service were sub-par in comparison to the previous visit. This time Rick and I did not eat there, however we did shop at the satalite location and were pleased.
- Piccolo Mondo Antico. It is where I bought my Italian chandelier last year and this year, both my parents and I found more treasures. (Poor Rick patiently hung around the store, had a gelato (see above), and shot me lots of forlorn looks while he endured the four hours it took the rest of us to visit with the shop owner and shop in the store - he must really love me!) While the owner does not speak English and I do not speak Italian, we both speak French, so we found a way to make it work!