Every year Mr ESLT whisks me off somewhere different for my birthday. Aren’t I a lucky lady? This year our destination was Turin in Northern Italy. We love Italy, in fact, it is our favourite country in the world and one we never get bored of visiting. Therefore, when Mr ESLT unleashed his surprise, I could not have been happier. We eagerly packed our bags and headed to Turin for 4 days in the hope we would love it as much as we love some of its more popular neighbours, such as Florence, Venice and Rome.
Mr ESLT planned everything, which meant I could sit back, relax and didn’t have to spend hours pulling together an itinerary together, which for someone who is one of lives planners was a tough task. From the second we landed to the second we boarded the plane to come home was none stop and we loved every second. Turin surprised me, as there were loads more stuff to see and do than I ever imagined. Therefore, here are our 8 top things to do in Turin.
I had never heard of Bicerin until we took a chocolate walking tour through Turin. However, I soon became acquainted with and fell in love with it. Bicerin is made of espresso, drinking chocolate, whole milk and is served piping hot. Even though I ‘m not a coffee drinker, I found it to be delicious and loved the mix of sweet chocolate and the kick of the espresso. We indulged at Caffè al Bicerin, a historic coffeehouse located in Piazza della Consolata which has served bicerin in Turin since the 18th century.
Turin is the home of Italian chocolate including Ferrero which produces one of my new found favourites, Nutella. Therefore, as soon as I saw Nutella gelato on offer, I made a beeline for the shop. I wouldn’t call it ice cream more like liquid Nutella – basically heaven in a cone. We also tried Turin’s famous Gelateria Pepino’s chocolate covered ice cream, which is essentially a Magnum and just as delicious. There are also a number of chocolatiers spread throughout the city which are pricey but sell fantastic chocolate.
Check Out Some Churches
As a predominately Christian country, beautiful and fascinating churches can be found all over Italy, including Turin. As lovers of churches, we would have loved to have visited them all. However, time was limited therefore we only actually had the opportunity to visit a couple. The most famous is the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, home to the Turin Shroud, which is believed to be a piece of linen cloth which shows the image of Jesus. Although recent forensic tests indicate that it may, in fact, be a fake.
Stop By The Juventus Stadium
Even though I’m not a massive football fan, Mr ESLT is. Therefore a visit to the Juventus stadium was a must. We had hop on hop off bus tickets and were pleased to find the stadium is a stop on the green line as it is not in the city centre. Unfortunately, we missed the morning tour slots and it was too long of a wait for the afternoon ones. Therefore we actually didn’t get to see the pitch. We did, however, walk all of the way around the stadium and visited the musuem, which even I found quite interesting, albeit quite pricey.
Visit The Museums
There are a number of museums in Turin city centre. In fact, there are so many museums in Turin, there really is something for everyone whatever their interest or taste. The Mole Antonelliana is the tallest and one of the most famous buildings in Turin. It can be seen from miles around and is home to the National Museum of Cinema. The Museo Egizio houses one of the largest collections of Egyptian antiquities outside of Egypt – random. And the Museo del Carcere Le Nuove, which was once a prison, can now be visited.
Marvel at Palazzo Madama
Palazzo Madama is a beautiful palace that stands in Turin’s city centre. With its stunning façade including numerous floor to ceiling windows, it is a fantastic example of baroque architecture. It is easy to see why people flock to take photos of it. It stands on the site where a gate in the Roman Walls stood dating back to the first century. However, it has over the years been developed and expanded from a castle to the magnificent palace it is today which houses the Turin City Museum of Ancient Art.
Head to the Royal Palace of Turin
Turin has a number of palaces however the Royal Palace of Turin, of course, takes the crown. It was originally built in the 16th century and later modernised in the 17th century. The Palace was originally a private residence. However, it was turned into the Museum of the Life and Works of the House of Savoy in 1946 when it was handed over to the state. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1997 and is now one of Turin’s most popular tourist attractions. A guided tour of the estate is a must.
Hang Out In Piazza San Carlo
Piazza San Carlo is one of the busiest squares in Turin and is a great place to visit and hang out for a while if you have the time. You will instantly know that you are in Piazza San Carlo when you spot the equestrian statue of Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy sat in the centre of it. We spent a lot of time here and eat a couple of the restaurants – Mokita (lunch) and Caffe Torino (dinner) both are quite pricey because of their location but great places to sit, eat and people watch from.
Although not as pretty as some of its bigger neighbours, Turin has enough ‘pretty’ about it to make it a lovely city. With loads of beautiful baroque architecture, it is a great place to wander around and admire. Of course, like any other city, there are some ugly buildings, graffiti (not street art) and dodgy areas, so unless you have a particular reason to be in that part of the city, just steer clear. We love Italy and we cna now add Turin to the cities within it that we love too. We had a fantastic 4 day city break and I had yet another birthday to remember.