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As Italy’s fourth largest city, Turin has an impressive backdrop of the Italian Alps and is the capital of the Piedmont – a region famous for its gastronomy. Blessed with a rich architectural heritage from its baroque period, including fascinating churches and elegant palazzo, Turin also showcases more contemporary structures amid its 11 miles of arcades to explore - with a vibrant cultural scene. It is home to Italy’s car industry, its first cinema, the slow food movement and world-class museums, leaving you spoilt choice when arriving in this charming city. Though, the beauty of Turin comes from its relaxed nature, with beautiful piazzas to discover and a plethora of specialities to try. Its world-class wines, celebrated chocolate creations and the hearty dishes which have awarded Turin its much-admired gastromic status will inevitably leave you planning your next return.
Peer at a map of Turin, and you’ll notice a few things. One – it’s set out over a grid of boulevards completely unlike most Italian cities. It makes navigation easy, with wide, straight roads leading you between treasures like the Museo Egizio, Palazzo Madama art gallery, the National Museum of Cinema and Palatine Gate.
Then there’s the countryside. Turin is part of the Piedmont region, so it doesn’t do half-hearted vistas. Hop on a scenic cogwheel train up the Superga hill for panoramic views of the city and the Alps. You’ll also find the 18th-century Basilica of Superga up here, along with the Royal Crypt – the resting place of the ancient House of Savoy.
The majority of international flights arrive into Turin-Caselle airport (TRN), which is approximately 30 minutes by car and 20 mintues by train from the centre of Turin. Direct flights are available from Bristol, Leeds, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Stansted, Manchester and Newcastle and take approximately 1 hour 45 minutes.
While the summer months can be busy and filled with tourists, many attractions can be enjoyed this time of year, with plenty of sunshine filling its piazzas and al fresco dining options. An exciting time to visit Turin is for the patron saint of San Giovanni on June 24th, when the city celebrates with daytime events and an impressive fireworks display at night.
Although, for those who wish to avoid the crowds, spring offers a more relaxed affair, with comfortable temperatures ideal for exploring the city by foot and avoids any humid conditions. For the chocolate enthusiasts, March welcomes a dedicated festival, allowing for an indulgent visit indeed.
Winter remains cold, but a wonderful time to see this city with a two-week street market during the Christmas period. While daylight hours are reduced, fewer crowds can help you cover a lot of the sights during the day, with more time to relax and dine by night.
Starting the slow food movement, foodies gather in Turin for its well-preserved regional cuisine and produce. There’s no better way to enjoy this custom than to savour traditional Torinese cuisine from one of the many trattorie which scatter throughout the city, with a particular favourite area being Quadrilatero Romano. A noticeable difference among Torinese dishes, are their French influence as opposed to Mediterranean, with specialities including Barolo braised beef and hearty dishes incorporating rich regional produce. For indulgence, Turin showcases the chocolate scene, with its renowned ‘gianduja’ chocolate combining milk chocolate and hazelnuts, celebrated throughout the city. What’s more, while exploring this beautiful city, it’s worth setting aside the time to try bicerin, an indulgent mix of espresso, chocolate and cream and best enjoyed while sat in your favourite piazza.