Living in a tiny country has gotten me used to frequent traveling, so after my ACL reconstruction, I felt like I was grounded in Luxembourg. Although I did a fair bit around the city, I didn’t go anywhere else for over 2 months. I had actually booked my flight to Turin the day after my surgery in anticipation. However, I always equated Italy with warm weather (yes, I know the Alps are there, but that’s in a high elevation right?), so I wasn’t happy when I checked the forecast and it was colder than Luxembourg… The good food more than made up for it though 🙂
Day 1 – Torino
Working in an international environment really has its perks. Nico and I got several recommendations for where to eat and what to do from people who are either from Turin or had lived there before. First up was to get some bicerin. It’s a drink from Turin that is basically thick hot chocolate with espresso and milk. We went to the popular Cafe Al Bicerin, est. 1763, where the decor is reminiscent of an old timey candy or coffee shop. We had to wait in line outside because the space only fits about 15 people cozily. If you’re in the mood for anything savory, you’re out of luck, but damn was the bicerin a perfect start for a cold day.
After we finished filling ourselves up with sugar, we took a stroll around the centro and then ducked into some indoor sites when it started raining. We visited the Turin Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, where the Shroud of Turin is stored. It sits in a closed off area in a box, behind a curtain, behind glass. Super exclusive. They pull back the curtains once a day (?), and I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the box. Afterwards, we checked out the Royal Library, Sabauda Art Gallery, and the Armory Museum.
We capped off the day with a stop at a cat cafe and then some delicious Napoli pizza.
Day 2 – Piedmont
We woke up late and had a lazy morning, because that’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re on vacation. Then we hit the road. Leisurely. First stop, the sprawling hunting lodge, Palazzina di caccia of Stupinigi. It was one of the residences of the Royal House of Savoy, and although we only walked around the grounds, you can view a museum of arts and furniture inside.
Then we came across these arches along the road. I still can’t find the names of what they are or what they’re called, but Google Maps has them labeled as “Picnic Bridge”.
We were on our way to Alba, a town an hour from the city that is known for its white truffles, wine, and for smelling like delicious hazelnut chocolately goodness. I’ll explain, the Ferrero Group (makers of Ferrero Rocher, Nutella, and Kinder Chocolates) is based out of there. Literally, I could smell them making the candy as we drove in.
I’ll never get enough of these cute Italian towns. We had ourselves a wine tasting and explored the local shops that were wafting the best smells at us as it was the end of the Annual International Alba Truffle Festival.
Day 3(ish) – Mondaysss
I wasn’t able to take a day off, so we drove back to Turin in the morning. The drive was absolutely beautiful, as we were facing the Alps almost the whole way.
As if pelting me with snowballs weren’t enough, Nico went on a hike while I worked from the hotel.
Lessons and Tips
- Not everywhere in Italy is always warm 😦
- Turin doesn’t take long to explore, so check out the surrounding areas in Piedmont
- In the winter, Turin is a great launching off point to go ski or snowboard in the mountains
- Other towns close by are known for their wines, gastronomy, and scenery
- Eatttttt. Eat so much.
Photos taken with the iPhone 6s or Fujifilm X-E2s