We ate and drank our way through Torino and had the best time exploring all the beautiful architecture throughout the city! We went to Turin for our last three day weekend in June 2020. We “planned” this trip last minute – booked our hotel late Thursday night and decided what to do each morning. This was Jordan’s first time to Italy so we made sure he got to experience their pizza, pasta, and gelato.
The first thing we did when we arrived in Turin on Friday was get a drink at one of the historic cafes in one of the main piazzas. Caffè Torino opened in 1903 and is one of the most popular cafes to stop at. It had a beautiful interior with chandeliers and cases lined with delicious looking pastries. We sat outside and enjoyed a fiero spritz martini and did some people (and dog!) watching. Outside Caffè Torino is a golden bull, and rumor has it that if you stomp on the bull it will bring you good luck. We made sure to stomp on it as we left!
Turin is considered the birthplace of the “aperitivo”, where small snacks accompany your drinks. At Caffè Torino, they brought out a wonderful assortment of mini stuffed pastries and sandwiches to accompany your drink. At some places you can also choose to have an “apericena”, which may give you access to a whole buffet to choose from with your drink or an entire plate of food. We tried both out while in Turin and didn’t even need dinner after our apericena (but we went to dinner anyways, because Italy)!
We wanted to try some fresh pasta on Friday night, so Jordan googled “best pasta in Turin” and this lead us to Pastò. Pastò was a small, eight table restaurant that made fresh pasta in house daily. The restaurant offered a blend of old and new traditions. They offered different types of torchietti, fusilli, linguine, radiatori, tagliolini, ravioli, and lasagne. Yum! We were able to choose the pasta type we wanted and then choose the sauce type we wanted to pair with it. We weren’t too hungry because we had an apericena before coming here at Lobelix Cafè, but we couldn’t pass up trying fresh pasta. Jordan ordered the lasagne, and I talked to the waiter to see what pasta would best go with the pesto sauce. I ended up getting two small types of pasta – the traditional torchietti and linguini made out of flour and fresh beetroot. The waiter also brought out ravioli for us to try made out of wheat flour, and everything we tried was fantastic! Even though the plates were small, I still couldn’t finish them and was thankful we had a longer walk home to our hotel that night. If we could go back to that restaurant, I would make sure to go hungry and then select their tasting menu, where we could try all the different types of pastas and sauces available!
We woke up early Saturday morning and drove to Basilica de Superga, located high on a hill right outside of Turin. We went up a long, windy road to get to the top and passed many people biking uphill along the way. I was thankful to be driving instead of biking, I wouldn’t have made it! The view from the top let us see the entire city of Turin below us, and we could faintly make out the alps through the haze. The Basilica de Superga was built in the 1700’s and was originally meant to be a place of worship dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The architect who built the building had studied in Rome and was very influenced by the city, so the columns on the basilica are inspired by the Pantheon. We then went to another point to try and get a closer view of Turin from above. One of the most prominently seen buildings from above is Mole Antonelliana, the world’s largest unreinforced brick building.
After checking out the city from above, we headed back down into Turin to do more sightseeing. Instead of a full lunch, we opted to eat gelato at +Di Un Gelato. It’s typical to get three flavors of gelato – I had the gianduja (their local chocolate and hazelnut spread that they are famous for), stracciatella, and pistachio. Jordan had the triple chocolate, gianduja, and mint (with real mint leaves in it). Saying it tasted good would be an understatement – it was so delicious! I would have eaten gelato for every meal if I had the chance! My favorite part of our day was listening to all the musicians performing in the different piazzas.
We spent the rest our Saturday on scooters so we could see as much as possible in Turin. Some people love scooters, others hate them because they can be littered across the streets, but for us we enjoy using them because it’s an easy way to get around. However, taking them on the cobblestone streets was not our best idea. All the bumps made me feel like I was sea-sick!
Before dinner, we had an aperitivo at another local caffe, Stratta. Stratta is located in Piazza San Carlo and has been open since 1836. After our aperitivo, we decided to go out for pizza and had spent a lot of time trying to find the best pizza place. Unfortunately the place we originally chose was closed when we arrived, even though our trusty google had said it was open. We ended up eating at Pizzium, a neapolitan style pizza restaurant. While they are located in more places in Italy than just Turin, they had great reviews and we decided to give it a try. We ordered a bottle of wine to split with our pizzas and enjoyed sitting at a table outside.
After we finished dinner, we wandered around Turin at night when everything was illuminated! We were able to see some Roman ruins right in the city,including Porta Palatina. This gate was built by the Romans in the first century and used to provide access into the city of Turin. We are lucky to have been able to see and experience so much history in all of the cities we have visited.
On Sunday, we headed back home to Lyon and planned to stop in Chamonix to hopefully see Mont Blanc. On our way there, we stumbled upon the Cascata Di Lenteney waterfall that was right off the road! The waterfall is almost 400 feet long and next to it is a small cafe where you can take a break and enjoy the calming sounds of the waterfall. There were also a ton of hiking trails in the area. We hiked up a short path to get a closer view of the falls and to enjoy the refreshing mist from it and then headed on our way. Once we arrived in Chamonix, the clouds had rolled in and we didn’t get a clear view of Mont Blanc, so we ate lunch and planned to come back another time for another chance at seeing it!