How to catch Turin in 24 hours
When you think of Northern Italy, Turin doesn’t come to mind right away. Turin is mostly forgotten even though it used to be the first capital in Italy. It still is the industrial and diplomatic capital of Northern Italy. Most people have probably drank Lavazza coffee before, driven with a Fiat car or saw a soccer match in which Juventus was playing.
This is the story of Tommy. He is a hard-working guy from Australia. For him every day is always the same. One day he woke up and wanted to do something interesting and see something new. He took a map, closed his eyes, randomly put his finger on a European chart. It turned out to be Turin, an unknown place to Tommy. He only heard of Rome and Venice before. Next thing you know, he was packing his bags and took the next plane to Italy.
When I arrived at Turin airport, I only heard Italian. People from this country seem to be talking really fast by using lots of hand gestures. However, people were eager to help me. After all, transportation into the city was easy to find. I bought my one-way ticket at the local Italian tobacco shop, which only costs 1,5 euros. I got off at Dora train station. My destination was Open 011 Hostel. A single room wasn’t too expensive: I had to pay between 20 and 30 euros for a night.
I tried to post pictures on Instagram but the hostel’s wifi in my room failed me. The internet in the lobby was working just fine, so my pictures made its way to my wall. The last meal was in the plane and I really wanted to try something Italian. I asked the hostel staff a recommendation for traditional local food.
Everything including pasta was homemade.
The smell guided me inside the restaurant Il Granaio. The smiling personell served me with lasagna and tiramisu. The sun pulled me outside and I decided to have my lunch in a beautiful park in Piazza Solferino. While enjoying the food I heard the sound of a water fountain.
I decided to join a guided tour to see the city center. The first sight was the Piazza San Carlo, one of the main city squares in Turin. It is surrounded by historical cafés and buildings of baroque style. I felt the history around me. One building still has cannonballs stuck in its walls. It is a leftover of the French siege of Turin. In the middle of the square I saw a statue of Emmanuel Philibert, a famous general, who pushed back the attacked French army at Piazza San Carlo.
I longed for getting back in time and just needed a moment of rest in a beautiful park, so I made my way to the Palatine Gate. The gate reminds of the old Roman times. In front of it there are two statues. One the left hand side the first Roman emperor, Augustus. On the right I saw his predecessor Julius Caesar, who positioned a military camp at the meeting point of the rivers Po and Dora Riparia. He named it Julia Taurinorum in 58 BC. The city is said to be founded around 28 BC. That is when Octavian Augustus made a second colony called Augusta Taurinorum. The Palatine gate was one of the four entrances to the castrum. It is the only one survived to our days.
I saw many people eating ice cream and I wanted a cornetto of my own. I decided to enjoy the increadible view while eating a real Italian gelato.
It was time for some more cultural experiences so I made my way to the Galleria d’Arte Narciso. I discovered a new kind of art, something abstract, different and in some ways scary. Yet I felt I was in another world in which you can see life differently. I was lucky to be at the exhibition by Lorenzo Alessandri, who is one of the most original-styled painters in the world for the various styles he painted in, like xilografy, litografy and classical painting.
The best way to end my day trip in Turin was to taste a glass of Italian wine in Osteria in Vino Veritas, a wine bar. I reserved a table on my phone and walked to the bar. I was convinced by the way they described the production of the wine, like Simone from the Osteria in Vino Veritas says:
”Our goal is to be able to offer traditional Italian recipes revisiting them without distorting the soul. The search for raw materials and a fundamental part of our work and daily and meticulous. We devote a lot of time to this, among the pews of the local markets and farmers, and among the small craft workshops in Turin and beyond.”
By: Elisa Kitunen, Elise Tamminen, Vlada Toma, Joppe de Bruijn & Tami Segers.