A Guide to Food and Culture in Turin, Italy
Torino, Italy really is a magical place! Unfortunately, it is often overlooked by North American travelers. I lived in Torino for two years so this is a collection of my top spots for the traveler who wants to immerse themselves in Italy's first capital city. Hopefully I can inspire more people to put this incredible Italian city on their European itineraries!
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Where to stay
Hotel NH Piazza Carlina
On a charming square in the heart of Turin, unexpectedly modern digs housed in a restored 17th-century townhouse.
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Things to do
I recommend making the NH Piazza Carlina your landing spot for all of your Torino adventures. Not only does this hotel have the perfect rooftop views, but also the cachet of hosting G7 leaders.
The 160-room property is centrally located in a quiet piazza, close to museums and convenient for walks along the banks of the River Po.
From the spacious guest rooms and a well-equipped gym, to delicious cocktails and aperitivi at the chic Carlina lounge bar, and the peaceful fourth floor terrace, this hotel hits all the right notes.
I recommend staying over the weekend, when Sunday breakfast is available until noon, and you can also take advantage of a super late 3pm checkout.
In the Center of Torino
One could spend a full day on Via Lagrange, with its range of restaurants and high-end shops, but its Turin’s connection to Egypt that is the highlight. Tombs and ancient treasures are on grand display at Museo Egizio.
After lunch, it’s only a short walk to Mole Antonelliana. Named after architect Alessandro Antonelli, this landmark isn’t all epic panoramas. Inside you will find the National Cinema Museum and the latest experiential exhibition - guaranteed to be a multimedia education in either music or movies, or both!
If markets are your thing, revel in the morning chaos at Europe’s largest open-air market. This is great place to practice your Italian, I might add!
Behind Mercato Porta Palazzo, along Via Borgo Dora, there’s a colorful alley of antique shops and eclectic bistros leading to a hot air balloon ride that is Turin’s version of the Eye.
Nearby, on via San Domenico, there’s the Mao Museum, which offers Italy’s bridge to Asian culture and a peaceful reprieve from the markets.
Serenity in the City
Italy is famous for its thermal waters and you can get this in the middle of Turin at QC Terme Torino (Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 77).
After meandering the grounds, indulge in one or two treatments that’ll make you feel like a king or queen.
Walk up to the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Monte dei Cappuccini for postcard-perfect panoramas of Turin. Restaurant Al Monte Dei Cappuccini is waiting with a terrace to sit back and sip a glass of Barbera as the sun sets over the city.
Places to eat & drink
In the evening, walking south from Piazza Emmanuelle II, on Via Maria Vittoria, you have restaurants on both sides of the street – ranging from Ligurian seafood at Scialuppa (Via Maria Vittoria, 37), to the humble baked potato at Poormanger (Via Maria Vittoria, 36/B).
A few steps further, on Via della Rocca, Il Bastimento (Via della Rocca, 10) is all Italian soul food that comes highly rated by the Michelin Guide and rediscovers the “forgotten flavours of our Pugliese tradition”. Translation: tasty southern Italian dishes featuring lots of seafood.
Other southern savouries can be indulged at Sicily on StreEat (Via Carlo Alberto, 7/A), which is great for a quick stop on your day tour. Perhaps before or after hitting the Palace Museum (Via Accademia delle Scienze, 5) and having a look at the artifacts documenting the 19th-century Italian unification movement.
Two steps away, in the gorgeous Galleria Subalpina, is the decidedly posh Baratti & Milano, where you can enjoy an afternoon espresso or the famed Bicerin.
A quick stroll across the Vittoria Emanuele I bridge and you have a lovely area to wander.
First straight up the steps of Chiesa Della Gran Madre Di Dio for a photo op.
Then off to the left and right of this church, there are plenty of boutiques and bistros to pass the time in.
Back through the mercato, stop for a sweet cannoli at Il Gusto Giusto (Via Milano 11/b).
If you’re noticing a Sicilian spin on my food tips, that’s because the best food in Italy is from Sicily.
Walking back into the city centre, down Via Garibaldi, stop for the best gelato at GROM. I’m in love with their delicious dairy-free cioccolato extranoir.
And speaking of, be sure to book a chocolate tasting at Gianduja (Via Palazzo di Città, 24) or go in and pick your own a-la-carte.
By dinner you may be feeling peckish for a pizza Napoletana. When in Italy, right? Gennaro Esposito (Via Giuseppe Luigi Passalacqua, 1) has you covered, but it's quite popular so definitely wise to book ahead.
More Cafes & Cocktails in Torino
Fiorfood Coop in Galleria San Federico is a hidden gem and perfect for a quick colazione (breakfast) or afternoon espresso.
Caffe Elena in Piazza Vittoria Veneto became our go-to aperitivo spot after discovering their Negroni with rosemary.
Magazzini 52 (Via Giovanni Giolitti, 52) is a favourite of food blogger Mimi Thorisson and I do recommend checking her Instagram feed @mimithor for more city insights before you go.
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