Last Updated on 26th February 2019 by Sophie Nadeau
A little off the beaten tourist path with oodles of history, as well as great food and drink options on offer, many visitors to Northern Italy often miss out on a visit to Torino in lieu of more famous nearby cities such as Milan or Genoa. However, if you’re planning a trip to Northern Italy, then missing out on this European gem would be your first mistake. So here are eight epic reasons to visit Turin before everyone else does!
Turin is less touristy than other Northern Italian cities
When it comes to the North of Italy, the region is full of breathtakingly beautiful towns and cities. And Torino is no exception. Nestled on a fairly flat plateau and set against a backdrop of snow-capped Alps, it would be a mistake to miss out on a trip to Turin in lieu of a more popular city.
If you’re a fan of all things caffeine related, then you should most definitely consider a trip to Turin. After all, the city is home to many historic cafés, including some of the oldest coffee establishments in modern day Italy.
Highlights of coffee culture in Torino include visiting the city’s oldest café, Bicerin, which has been open since 1763! So iconic is Bicerin that during its time, it has since been visited by the likes of Nietschze, Puccini, and Alexandre Dumas (i.e. the author of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo).
Vineyards and Piemonte wine
The Piedmont region of Northern Italy does not only have its own language, Piedmontese but is well known for its rich reds, specifically Barolo and Barbaresco. If you have access to a car while in Turin, then it’s well worth taking a day trip into the Italian countryside to see some of the many vines which populate this part of the world. Most winemaking in the region happens to the South of Turin, around the towns of Alba and Asti.
Easy to reach & easy to get around
With easy train links to Milan, France, and the rest of Europe, visiting Turin couldn’t be simpler. Once there, there’s a fantastic transport system in the form of regular trains, buses, and even trams. And with literal kilometres worth of covered arcades to wander around, Turin is one of Europe’s most pedestrian-friendly cities. After all, one of the best things to do in Turin is simply to wander around and allow the city to reveal itself to you…
There’s plenty of history (The Turin shroud, Basilica di Superga)
If you enjoy your city breaks served with a side of culture, then Turin couldn’t be a better location to visit. After all the Basilica di Superga is an easy day trip from the city. The 17th-century built ecclesiastical building is now home to the family crypt of the Savoy Family and offers stunning panoramic views onto the city of Torino below, and the snow-capped Alps beyond.
Elsewhere in Turin itself, the Duomo di San Giovanni houses the Turin Shroud. This Chrisitan artifact is alleged to bear the negative of an image of a man, said to be Jesus of Nazareth. Other historical highlights of Turin include a 19th-century built fake medieval village, and a collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts to rival those of major capital cities.
Torino is Unified Italy’s First Capital City and a former Royal City
Once upon a time, when Italy was not yet formed and the now-country was split into many small city-states (much like the Vatican remains so to this day), and nearby Lombardy was a kingdom in its own right, Turin was the seat of incredible power. Today, Torino is twinned with Glasgow, Scotland, and traces of the city’s royal past can be found in the many palaces and castles dotted throughout Turin.
Turin is where the aperitivo began!
Prior to any meal in Italy, you’ll likely be offered a small alcoholic drink. Well, this tradition of the aperitivo really took off right here in Torino, and nearby Milano during the 1920s. As a result, several famous brands, including Martini Rosso and Gancia, find their roots in the Piedmontese capital. Many even believe that Vermouth was invented right here in Turin during the 18th-century.
Turin is the Chocolate capital of Italy!
Wine isn’t the only sustenance that Turin is famous for. Instead, the city is well-known for its master chocolatiers and today one of the greatest sources of industry in the city asides from car manufacturing can be found in chocolate! If you fancy doing a chocolate tour of the city, then free brochures can be picked up in the Tourist Information Centre in the heart of town.