Vermouth, truffles and Da Vinci all the rage in classy Turin
It’s not just Manchester City fans who can relax this week in Turin, with the club having already secured progression to the knockout stages with two games to spare.
Travelling supporters can thus enjoy a game with no pressure attached to it, while experiencing one of Europe’s classiest, most vibrant, historic and fun cities.
Milan and Rome may take the majority of Italy’s city-break tourists, but that just makes Turin all the more special.
Turin is all about the aperitivo and is regarded as Italy’s aperitif capital since Antonio Benedetto Carpano’s invention of Vermouth in the city near the Piazza Castello in 1786.
You’ll find classy aperitivo bars like La Drogheria and Barney’s Bar all over this elegant town, but Turin is also very much in touch with Europe’s cocktail revolution.
Located in the Piazza Della Consolata, the Smile Tree is home to arguably the finest cocktails in the city.
One of the most popular bars any time of year, there’s often a patient queue outside waiting to get in on weekends. If the locals think it’s that good, we need say no more.
And by visiting in November, you’ll be just in time to seek out some of Turin’s locally-made Christmas beers which have an enjoyably spicy aftertaste. Not often you can say that about a beer.
Visit one of the local brewers in the city such as Birrificio Torino and Gilac in the city, or Grado Plato over the hills in Chieri for the real deal.
As capital of Piedmont, Turin truly represents the region’s culinary delights, starting with rabbit.
A mainstay in Turin households and restaurants, if rabbit is Turin’s bangers and mash, then for Piedmont, Ox is the family roast.
A real favourite, look for Brasolo al Barolo – braised Ox in Piedmont’s most popular wine.
Or you can tuck into a buffet, Italian style.
Locals have been enjoying early evening drinks alongside a sumptuous buffet in Turin for over 200 years, and Caffe San Carlo is one of the grandest places to enjoy such an evening. Open since 1822, it’s well worth dining inside rather than on the terrace.
On the flip side to the buffet, and indeed on the flip side of your budget, is the world’s most sought-after truffle which happens to be a local delicacy.
The white Alba truffle is found around the eponymous town, just south of Turin, and the going rate ranges from $150 to $200 for a four-ounce truffle. So if you want one, tell your bank manager first.
Grab a spot at one of the many bars in the stunning Piazza Vittorio Veneto, order some fine Italian wine and nibbles, sit back and enjoy. Located along the Po river, looking up at the genteel hills, it doesn’t get much more continental and is a great place to ease into a great night.
If you can drag yourself away from the atmospheric, cosmopolitan vibe of the Piazza, the Astoria bar is a popular and trendy destination.
A ground-floor coffee bar, below which is an underground basement home to an array of musical talent. Local bands and singers on Wednesday blend into electro bands and live djs when the weekend rolls around.
And then there’s the bar which is fluid by name and fluid by nature. It’s called, er, Fluido.
This coffee-house/restaurant/bar/club serves breakfast from 10am but turns into one of Turin’s most popular clubs after dark. Open till 2am weekdays, on Saturday nights it is party on until 4am.
There’s no better place to begin your trip through Torino history than the Piazza Castello.
Regarded as the heart of the city, the Piazza is home to the Royal Palace, the former Royal Senate of Italy and the stunning baroque opera house.
To complete a wondrous dose of culture and history all in one place, the Royal Library is also located here, with the star attraction being Leonardo da Vinci’s world-famous self-portrait.
Head from the square along the Via Po and you’ll find the Mole Antonelliana. Originally to be a synagogue, this eye-catching structure is now home to the National Museum of Cinema and here’s a pub quiz answer for you – it is the tallest museum in the world at 167.5 metres.
The city is also home to the Shroud of Turin, located in the Turin Cathedral, which made headlines this year with its latest exposition to the public.
Finally, football aficionados will be fully aware of the significance of the Superga Basilica located on the hills just outside the city south of the river.
The Basilica was the scene of an air crash in 1949 which wiped out most of the great Torino side of the late 1940s. Many visit annually to pay homage.
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