Welcome to my place . . . Turin
‘The essential drink here is the Bicerin, a delicious mixture of coffee, chocolate and cream, which was invented in the city’
Lisa Kelleher and her daughter Réiltín earlier this year.
Lisa Kelleher moved to Turin more than two years ago with her long-term Italian partner. In Ireland, she worked in communications and training and has continued to work as a freelancer in the area, in addition to teaching and providing business language training.
What do you like about living in Turin?
Turin and Piedmont, its region, provide many unexpected surprises for visitors. Turin has long had a reputation for being the industrial city in the north of Italy, but it is so much more than this. It is a classic and aesthetically beautiful city, surrounded by the dramatic backdrop of the Alps. It often feels like a journey back in time through some of the historical squares such as Piazza Castello, Piazza Madama and Piazza Reale and the arcaded streets connecting each one. The architecture is wonderfully maintained and preserved.
Where is the best place to get a sense of life in Turin?
It is home to many snug cafes with intoxicating aromas of coffee and chocolate and classic decor with velvet chairs and old-style wooden tables. You cannot visit the city without going to Al Bicerin (Piazza Consolata 5), which is a small cafe founded in 1793. The essential drink here is the Bicerin, a delicious mixture of coffee, chocolate and cream, which was invented in the city.
At 7.30pm in Turin, it is aperitif time, a real tradition in the area of Piedmont. It can last for a few minutes or a few hours and involves a glass of Piedmont red or white wine produced in the near Langhe or Roero valleys or a traditional ‘Spritz’ (Aperol, Prosecco and splash of soda water). It is a very sociable thing for locals to do and they often do so to meet briefly with friends before returning home for dinner or sometimes it can turn into an improvised dinner with typical Piemontese cuts of meat and cheese.
The top things to do there, that don’t cost money, are . . .
You can experience the city without spending. The panorama from the Basilica di Superga is like nothing else. It is absolutely one of my favourite things to do on a clear day, just to take in the striking view of the Alps and Mont Viso, the city and the river Po. I bring visitors from home there every time. You can drive, take a bus, cable car or hike up, if you are brave enough, to enjoy the view.
Go to the San Salvario district of Turin. It is a great walk through Valentino Park by the Po river, which is a large and popular park for families, dog walkers, runners and bikers. Check out Castello del Valentino. I tell my friends not to visit Turin without walking boots and to go trekking at the foot of the Alps. You can reach great walking trails within an hour or so from the city centre.
Where is the best place to get a sense of Turin’s place in history?
On the first Sunday of every month, selected museums are free and various museums are free on other days of the month. www.guidatorino.com/musei-gratis-a-torino-la-lista-completa/Turin Turin is also home to the Egyptian Museum, which offers a great understanding of Italian archeologists’ experience and findings in Egypt and includes a number of somewhat spooky mummies and many exhibition rooms of traditional Egyptian tombs. It is also home to the National Cinema Museum, as Italian cinema originated in Turin.
Where do you recommend for a great meal that gives a flavour of Turin?
Eating in Piedmont is a very family-friendly experience. One of the most wonderful traditional and regional culinary experiences in Turin is in a small village called Cavour, a short distance outside the city (35 minutes by car). We have regularly brought visitors to Locanda La Posta, which has been in existence since the beginning of the 17th century and is run by generations of the same family, handing down traditional recipes. locandalaposta.it/
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