Unfortunately, the weather today was unkind to us, and it decided to sprinkle a thick layer of fog over the whole city. Fortunately, there’s still loads to do in Turin that the weather doesn’t affect! We have been lucky all week with beautiful sunshine, so we couldn’t be too upset, and we still had a fantastic day of exploring this quaint city. Allow me to take you on a tour of Turin…
Chiesa di Santa Maria del Monte
My original plan for the day had us hitting up numerous spots with expansive views across the city, and even with the fog, we decided to check out this church anyway. It’s on a hill on the south east bank of the river, so it offers panoramic views across the terracotta rooftops of Turin. Or it would without fog. Even though the view was less than impressive, the church is lovely. It’s colourful and warm and a very relaxing place to sit in, even if you’re not religious.
Chiesa della Gran Madre di Dio
I promise this letter isn’t all about churches. This one, however, is situated just down the hill from Santa Maria and faces out onto a piazza leading to a bridge over the river which culminates in one of the biggest piazzas in the city. It’s quite a view. (Better without the fog I’d imagine – but I’ll stop boring you with my moaning about Italian weather in February.)
Piazza Vittorio Veneto
This grand piazza is on one of the main roads through Turin leading to Piazza Castello, where the palace is. It’s a large space shaped by beautiful buildings and benches. The views out over the river are lovely and feature the two churches we visited.
Piazza della Republica
We walked from Piazza Vittorio Veneto all the way up to Piazza della Republica which felt like quite a long way considering the small size of Turin making everything feel so close together. We quickly realised this area is slightly more tired than the pretty central area, but it has it’s own unique character. Arriving at the piazza we were greeted with a big surprise – a market. The most beautiful selection of fresh fruit and veg which we sifted through to find ingredients for dinner. Then across the road we noticed a building which houses meat, fish and cheese stalls inside. We were in our element and managed to pick up everything we needed for dinner for a very reasonable price. The colours and smells bought my senses to life. I really do love markets. When we sadly left the hams and cheeses, we spotted more markets, this time with everything you could possibly need. Household items like mops and pegs, clothes and shoes and even pet equipment. Everything you could want.
I would say this is the centre of Turin. It’s the biggest space that all the roads point to and attracts the most people. It’s very picturesque (apart from one ugly red tower that someone very stupid decided to build) and a pleasant place to sit and people watch. We sat here today to eat our lunch and enjoy the square before heading into the palace. Despite the cold, I enjoyed it.
Palazzo Reale di Torino
Turin’s palace really did blow me away. Not only do you get to leisurely wander around the grandest rooms in a beautiful palace, but they also hold a large collection of Italian artwork and an archaeological museum. The whole place is so educational and enjoyable to walk around for a few hours. I’m sure the gardens would also be lovely in summer – but not so much now. It’s only 6€ for students which I thought was great!
Neko Cat Cafe
This is one place I really recommend. In this unique cafe you can sit with a hot drink and a cake and be surrounded by cats. The interior is very creatively designed as a playground for the cats and they have free rain across the cafe. I got plenty of cuddles and had a tasty Italian hot chocolate. Such a lovely place.
It’s more fun than it sounds I promise. On our first day here I picked up at leaflet at one of the churches we visited that lists and maps 35 churches in Turin. The project is about supporting religious heritage and recovering some of the architectural gems in the oldest part of the city. I’ve lost count, but we’ve now visited a lot of these churches, and it’s rather fun mapping out a route based on the churches and then finding them. They have all been quite magnificent and each is different with it’s own distinct character. It’s a great way to get to know parts of the city. I’ll just show you a few of my favourites from today.
So that was my day. Turin still delivered big time even when Italy didn’t provide the perfect weather. Tomorrow is the last morning here so I intend to make the most of it and try to get to a museum I’ve been dying to see.