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Considered the most well-known country where food and art come along together, Italy gathers a huge amount of unexpected surprises. Any city has its own culinary tradition as well as cultural attractions and habits. I am here to introduce you one of the “unheard cities” to add on your next trip: Turin (Torino for mother tongues). During my years traveling, I experienced surprise when naming Turin in my conversation: Florence, Milan, Rome, Venice, Naples are such big names that you see people’s faces when you show them that there is something even more.
Indeed, Turin is incredibly important, with many things to do in Turin. One hour west from Milan, this Italian city is elegant without being posh. Quiet for its old tradition and great architecture but also contemporary melting pot of cultures. People always comes back impressed by the beauty of this city but also wondering why they have never heard of it. I can tell you why: Turin “weakness” is discretion.
It arises at the bottom of western-Alps, where snowy mountains frame Turin tall monuments and royal houses. Almost forgot: Turin was home for the last biggest Royal Italian family, the Savoy; reason why, you will find antique chapels and palaces spread out all over.
That being told, this city has a huge potential: a lot of different entertainments, especially for workaholics trying to enjoy life after 5 pm. Here are some of my favorites.
Happy Hour along the River
Italy is the cradle of happy hour: yes, “aperitivo time” is really important in the north, especially for us workers. Moreover, the first one was invented in Turin indeed, even if many would say Milan.
If you want to handle a happy hour like a pro, you should get Spritz (white wine, Aperol and soda) or Vermouth, the first aperitivo invented in Turin, with few appetizers; if you are a big eater instead, you can go for the cheap and easy combo apericena where paying for one drink (usually €10), you will have buffet dinner included.
There are TONS of places in the center, quiet or noisy, fancy or easygoing. Among all, I would go for Esperia Torino, restaurant on the river Po, part of Circolo dei Canottieri (rowing club). This place is a private club during the day; during the night the venue lights up to be one of the fanciest and more classy terrace where to wrap up your working day.
Esperia Torino is located in Corso Moncalieri, 2 Torino. You can have more information calling +39 011 8196942 or emailing [email protected].
For any more detail check the website www.esperia-torino.it
Magic Tour of Turin
Turin can reveal itself in ways you would never think of. Quiet and smooth with its straight and parallel Roman streets, silent and bright with its baroque buildings this city has a dark side. In fact there are plenty of legends about the magic bound of Turin. If you like the topic, Turin is quite important: it is the only location part of both World magical triangles; for the white magic triangle with Lyon and Prague and for the dark one with San Francisco and London.
There is an evening tour that takes place every Thursday and Saturday at 9:00 pm in the center. It is about 2 hours with multilingual guides and it costs €25/person. The tour is also a good excuse to have a night walk around to main areas of the city.
You can book “Magic Turin Tour: Dark Arts and Black Magic” on www.getyourguide.com
Chocolate Drink in Baroque Gallery
Turin is baroque. Yes, you have old ruins, Art Nouveau or fascism- influence buildings but what will hit you most, it is the amount of baroque royal architecture. When walking in the center you will notice long covered walkways and galleries that will take you back to the past. One of the most popular is Galleria San Federico: more than a movie theatre and a great sushi place you will find yourself in front of one of the most famous baroque café of the city, Baratti&Milano. Well-known social and cultural gathering of high society, especially during opera time. FYI, Regio Theater is one block away. Baratti&Milano praises more 150 years in the business.
Not only the location is quite unique with a “back-to-the-XIX-century vibe” but obviously experiencing typical Italian delicacies is the reason why you should go. Must-try is either one of their decadent hot chocolates or Bicerin (an alcoholic liquor based on pure chocolate). Let me warn you: this place is only for sweet-tooth aficionados.
You can walk to Piazza Castello 27/29 and try on. Open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 8:00 am and 8:00 pm, you can call +39 0172 491711 or visit their website www.barattiemilano.it
If you are a fan of architecture, walk through the city and see some locations that are totally worth a look. One of them is “The Number 6”: this private building has been awarded by ArchDaily as “Building of the Year”. So before going to get your lascivious drink, pass by Via Vittorio Alfieri 6, Turin.
Discovering Cinematography in Mole Antonelliana
The most famous monument of Turin is called Mole Antonelliana. Meant to be a synagogue, it was bought by the city hall to become symbol of national unity. Nowadays this place is the National Museum of Cinematography. This is an impressive example of visionary art in the Italian culture. This is not just a “museum” but an experience. Built with stairs that climb up along convex walls, it has a glass elevator that can get you from bottom to the top of the steeple. The museum has seasonal exhibitions along tower walls. On the bottom of the museum there is a really cool sequence of cinematographic setups, small games and references at old cult movies. If you want to spend few hours diving yourself in the most ever-lusting history of cinema, this is the place for you.
You can find and see the Mole in via Montebello, 20, Turin. For any information check its website www.museocinema.it. Ticket costs €10 and €7 for the elevator. Check the website for more deals; for example combo entrance+elevator is €14. Closed on Tuesday, it is open from Monday to Friday until 8:00 pm (last walk-in at 7:00 pm) and until 11:00 pm on Saturday.
Superstition says that you are not allowed to get in the elevator if you are still in college. You may jeopardize your degree. You have been warned!
SanPaolo Rooftop Bar Piano35
If you are into eco and engaging hotspots, Piano35 is the new social mixer for socialites. SanPaolo skyscraper is one of the most modern-conceptualized building and “the greenest” in Europe by Renzo Piano; it hosts the highest restaurant in Italy. You can enjoy it few floors down but for the real thrill, last floor is your goal-place: the lounge bar offers cocktails created by bartender Mirko Turconi (the best one in Italy) and finger food tasting while you can have one of the best view of the city on the top floor of SanPaolo building. This panoramic rooftop bar has its ecoclimatic gardened terrace and a three-sides suspended passageway.
The entrance for the lounge bar is through the first flight of stairs in Corso Inghilterra 3, Turin. Open from Monday to Saturday from 6pm to 12:00 am. Here the official website www.grattacielointesasanpaolo.com/lounge-bar.
Obviously speaking of food, venues, nature and getaways, Turin has a lot more to offer. If you would like to know more about my city, check out www.giuliage.com.
If you are in Europe, also check out:
- Explore Spain with Madrid After Five
- Continue in Italy with the gorgeous Florence After Five
- Check out Romania in Sibiu After Five
- Try Maximizing Points on your next Work Trip
- Is the Away Bigger Carry-On too big?