Mar 15, 2013

Giulietta looks much prettier in Torino

Po River in Torino.

Piazza Vittorio in Torino, Italy.

One and a half hour from the French border, Torino is the most French influenced city in Italy. Indeed, the Piemonte region was annexed by the French Empire and even today restaurants serve tarte tatene! No wonder that Torino reminds one of Grenoble, another the Alps surrounded city in France. The real star of the Piemonte region are really the Alps that cover almost half of its territory. Once you raise your head while crossing the street, their snow capped tops salute you. Home to the royal family of Italy, grandiose is the key word in Torino. Historical cafes and chocolate brands abound in the city and the concept of aperativo (aperative) is taken rather seriously.

Do not be fooled by the color of river Po in Torino.

Graffiti along the bank of River Po.

Juventus store in Lingotto, Torino.

View from Mole Antonelliana in Torino.

Mole Antonelliana that houses the
National Museum of Cinema in Torino.

Torino was the first capital of united Italy and the statesman Cavour whose name is given to every square in Italy is from Torino. Torino also has been home to the car industry. Fiat's Agnelli family still lives here and the royal residences are among the many UNESCO World Heritage list. Nevertheless, the city has been changing since it has been the confirmed to host the Olympic Games in 2006. An industrial town with workers sleeping at home by 10, it has slowly turned into a busting place. Today, the Torino Film Festival is an international event. The National  Museum of Cinema has been opened in the landmark building Mole Antonelliana that is 167 m high. Visiting it towards the sunset hours is worth on its own for the views from the top of the building. The city has a known Egyptian Museum. It boasts amazing number of brands along Fiat such as Alfa Romeo, Martini, Lavazza and Ferrero chocolates. And for those soccer crazed men, it is home to famous Juventus!

Like in many places in Italy, also in Torino a
commemoration for a partigiani who died
just days before the end of the War.

In vino veritas, in grappa figuriamocis, indeed!

Torino believes in "slow"ness: bikes are promoted.

Views from Eataly in Lingotto, Torino.

Piemontese goodies in Eataly, Torino.

Piazza Vittorio is the heart of the city and it's simply grandiose. Simply enjoy looking at the buildings in the square and walk towards the Po. Do not be fooled by the river's innocent look. As locals tell me it is quiet polluted. You can lunch at Da Michele in Piazza Vittorio Veneto and enjoy local staples. Another good and simple restaurant in the newly gentrified San Salvarino neighborhood is Bottega Baretti. 

Torino is full of chocolate stores and old pattisseries.

Tarte tatene at Da Michele in Torino.

If you are interested in local goodies, take the bus to Piazza della Republica in the morning to see the daily market of the city. If you have time, one must see the country side of Piemonte. You can head to Bra by train or if you can rent a car drive to Alba through villages where you can marvel at wineyards and the nature of the region. With its Baroque architecture and famous cheese, Bra is capital of the Slow Food movement. For the manifesto of the movement, click here. If you wonder why it is so quiet, it is one of the founders of the international slow city movement. Inspiration coming from slow food! Bra is also famous for its truffles but they are supposed to be very expensive so ask for the price first!

Views from the market at Piazza della Republica.

If you have more time, take the highly technological subway to Lingotto which is operated by computers. You can walk by the famous Fiat building and walk into Eataly, the Mecca of Italian food. Not only you can buy local staples but also wine and dine in it. Lastly, walk towards the car museum (Museum del Automobile) which was super interesting. Car making is set into its political context. Famous scenes from movies where the leads kiss in the car to LP covers with cars on them are on display, allowing one to observe the transformation of cars into consumer objects. A speacial place is reserved for car races. Apparently, racing to cars is what wars are to mobile communications. Indeed, we learn that many features natural in our daily use of cars today have been first tried in racing. 

View from Bra, a slow town.

The Slow Food movement operated restaurant in Bra.

Bra is full of Barock buildings.

While Torino seems to have a different feel than other Italian cities, in the end, you know you are in Italy when someone walks by you whistling Turandot's famous Nessun Dorma. But Guilietta looks much prettier in Torino!

The Fiat building in Lingotto, Torino.

The old cars at the National Car Museum are pretty amazing.