Saturday, August 28, 2010

Here Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Continuing my Torino Tour Guide Series, here are a few of my favorite things.

Best Gelateria: Grom is the most known gelateria in Turin but after doing two gelato marathons and tasting the most interesting flavors the city has to offer, I believe that a tiny place called Vanilla is the best. They are a true foodies dream with flavors like cinnamon pear and barolo wine, fruit salad, and my favorite, caramelized figs and ricotta.
Best Pizzeria: Spacca Napoli, here you order your pizza by the meter which the equivalent of 4 pizzas. It is served to your table on a long wooden cutting board where you eat away at what feels more like a mile long pizza. There are 42 delicious piazza combinations to choose from including Gorgonzola, champignon mushrooms, and artichokes.
Favorite Piazza: Piazza Carignano, The history is so alive in this pretty and not too crowded square. Here resides, in my opinion, the most beautiful building in Turin the former Savoy residence Palazzo Carignano which is now the Museo del Risorgimento. In front of the palazzo is one of the most famous and oldest restaurants in the city Del Cambio. Inside the walls are covered in 300 year old frescos of chubby cherubs flying in blue skies. There is also a small theatre and the gelateria Pepino, where ice cream on a stick was invented. The pavement is made up of all brick cobblestones arranged into geometric patterns and there are two cafes where you can just sit and enjoy the view.
Best Street to Walk Down: The Roman Quarter is the oldest part of Turin and can make you feel lost in time when strolling along it's thin stone streets. But I must say that Via Mercanti and Via San Tomaso are the most quaint and romantic. It is full of cafes, antique shops, bakeries and small green grocers.
Movies Filmed in Turin: The Italian Job (1969), Heaven (2002)
Best Shopping: The Porto Palazzo Market in the city center is the largest open-air market in all of Europe which makes it a labyrinth of food stalls to get lost in. It is also the most ethnically diverse market which makes it an exotic market as well.
Best Place to Be Seen on a Passeggiata: Evening strolls are not just for your health but it's a traditional walk taken before dinner to see and be seen. Via Roma and onto Piazza San Carlo is ideal for it's wide sidewalks and portocos providing shade.
Best Restaurant: My bet for best restaurant in Turin has to be Caffe della Basilica. It is located in the city center right next to the church that holds the shroud of Turin. The menu changes every night according to the chefs mood, we rarely have the same thing twice, and it's always good. What makes this restaurant unique is that it is built on some Roman ruins. If you are lucky enough to get a table downstairs be sure and look down at the glass floor. You can see right down to the ruins which according to the waiters used to be Roman food cellars. The best appetizer I had there was a light and flaky croissant with a center of warm gorgonzola and walnuts. A wonderful second I had was veal roast slowly cooked in grappa.
Most Photographic Spot: Mole Antonelliana, or just the Mole to the locals, is most notable landmark and the symbol of the city. It is shrouded in some mystery because it was built in 1888 to be used as a synagogue but upon completion it was abandoned and no one knows why. As the tallest building in Turin at the time, it could be seen for miles but remained eerily empty for a number of years. The 167.5-meter tower is the highest work of masonry in Europe and it now contains the cinema museum. A glass elevator will take you to the top of the tower and that, in my opinion, is the best photographic spot in the city.


LindyLouMac said...

Turin has always been somewhere we have just passed through en route. We really should have taken the time to stop and explore as it sounds an interesting city.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I've only ever spent a few hours in Turin but I'll know where to go next time!

Sarah Familia said...

And I thought Turin was just a place to fly into Italy.

We live only an hour away, but we drove up and spent our very first day actually enjoying Turin last Saturday. Surprise! What a beautiful city. And I'm delighted to have found your blog, which depicts it so gracefully and intimately. You've definitely given me some ideas for our next trip up.