We took a weekend trip to Torino to enjoy time with our friend, and to see some of Northern Italy! From Amsterdam's Schipol airport we flew to Milan Malpensa using the low-cost carrier Easyjet. Easyjet allows you to carry on one bag with no weight restrictions, provided that it fits into the overhead compartment. It also does not assign seating, so once the gates open, it's a mad-dash to the front or back of the plane to board. Gabriel and I were lucky in that we got exit-row seats, and had a little extra leg room.
The flight lasted just over an hour, and when we reached Milan the weather was sunny and humid. From Milan Malpensa we took a shuttle bus to the main train station, which cost around EUR7,00. Once we arrived in Milano Centrale,we bought train tickets to Torino Porto Nuova, a journey that lasted 2 hours. The train we took was extremely run-down (not like the beautiful new trains in the Netherlands), and had no air-conditioning. What's worse, it didn't have functioning windows, so we literally rode in an air-tight compartment for 2 hours.
After arriving in Torino, we met up with our friend and headed to his apartment. On the way we stopped off at an Italian pizzeria and picked up some pizzas to go. It was thin-crust and piping hot...delicious! After a quick nap, we freshened up and headed out to explore Torino! Most of the tile sidewalks of the city are connected via beautiful marble passageways. The former king in Torino ordered these to be built so that he wouldn't have to walk in the rain! Since it did rain quite a bit while we were in Torino, we were thankful that these overhangs were built!
We visited piazza after piazza, and saw gorgeous statues, trendy fashion boutiques, and lots of outdoor cafes. The first stop was to get some famous Italian gelato! Next we visited the historial Cafe Torino, where we ordered cappuccinos and drank them "Al Banco" (standing up at the counter) like the locals! Then we ate some gianduja chocolates, which are from Torino. Did you know that Torino invented chocolate eggs and chocolate bars? Although Italian chocolate doesn't receive as much attention as Swiss or Belgium chocolate, it originated here!
Torino is bisected by the beautiful River Po, with the rising foothills of the Alps flanking it. All along the hill you can see gorgeous Italian mansions painted yellow and cream...absolutely breathtaking! On our first night in Torino we stopped in at a cafe on the river and ate at the "aperitivo". Torino is famous for "aperitivos" which are literally "all-you-can-eat" dinner buffets. While I normally avoid buffets like the plague, in Torino they were fresh and home-made, and were constantly being re-stocked with more delicious Italian dishes! These aperitivos only cost around EUR7,00 and are not found in more touristy locales (like Rome, Venice, etc.)...because clearly the tourists would take advantage of them!
We spent the rest of the night hanging out with the Italian locals and partying at the bars lining the River Po. At one bar I had strawberry daiquiris made with fresh strawberries! Although some of the bars were sketchier than others, it was a great time and the city looked stunning in the moonlight.
The next morning we ate some fresh croissants and cappuccinos at a local cafe. We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Mole, which is a building in Torino which has been converted to house the Museum of Film. Cinema originates in Torino, and thus, this museum pays homage to the thousands of movies throughout the decades. While Gabriel and I are not staunch film critics, we did find the museum interesting and very random! The exhibits were amazing, the architecture breathtaking, and the elevator ride to the top observation deck was not to be missed! The elevator literally climbs up to the top of the Mole through the middle of the main museum room, suspended by a few cables! The ride in the glass-cube elevator is a bit scary, but once you reach the top deck, it is completely worth it! From the deck we saw the beautiful red tiled rooftops of Torino, the rolling dark green mountains, and the beautiful stucco homes. Definitely a high-light of the trip!
After another aperitvo and lots of gelato, we enjoyed an evening of wine, cards, and laughter. The following morning we visited a replica of a Medieval village in Torino. Located in Valentino Park near the River Po, this was a hidden treasure of the city that was absolutely gorgeous! After spending the morning there, we headed to the train station to begin our trek back to the much cooler and less humid Netherlands!
Torino Must-Sees, Must-Dos, and Must-Eats...
- Pizza, gelato, gianduja chocolates, cappuccinos, espresso
- The Mole (if not the Museum of Film, the ride to the observation deck is essential!)
- Medieval Village in Valentino Park
- Cafe Torino
- Bars along the River Po
- Fresh croissants in the early morning at a cafe
- Royal gardens (looked beautiful, but we could not find an entrance in!)
- Shopping district and gorgeous piazzas!