People of Italy

Letter 79

One of my favourite subjects to photograph is people. I love observing how the locals go about their lives and capturing natural interactions between people. Here are some of my photographs of people from my recent trip to Italy. Enjoy!

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Chilling in Turin’s park on the river

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Young love…

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…love really is all around

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Father and son

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Mother and daughter

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The dogs giving up on their walk

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Quiet spot for reading

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Studying in the square

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Relaxing in the late afternoon sun

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Beautiful route through Rome

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A musical bridge

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Happy market-goers

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Browsing antiques

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A touching embrace between people at a public funeral in Rome

From Lou

(Who is dreadfully missing Italy)

About Me

Travelling in Italy: costs revealed!

Letter 78

How much does it cost to travel to and through Italy?

Italy is known as one of the priciest European destinations – but it doesn’t have to be! After spending 10 days in Rome, Turin and Milan I’m now sharing how much it cost me and how you can plan how much Italy could set you back!

The whole trip – 562.43€

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Sunrise on the way to Italy

These are the parts of the trip which I booked beforehand:

Flights – 122€

I flew from Edinburgh to Rome in mid February with Ryanair which set me back 80€. I then returned to Edinburgh from Milan at the end of February with Easyjet, costing 42€.

TIP: Use comparison sites like skyscanner, momondo and kayak to find the cheapest flights. Be flexible because it might be cheaper flying from an airport other than your nearest. (For me, I could have flew from Glasgow or Manchester.)

TIP: Book in ICOGNITO MODE and flights tend to be cheapest 6 weeks before (often booking early in the week brings the costs down as well.

TIP: Fly mid week. They seriously bump up the prices at the weekend.

Accommodation – 145€

I will go into accommodation in each city later in this post, but I used hostels and airbnb and for 8 nights accommodation I spent an average of 18€ per night. This included breakfast for 6/8 nights and all of the places I stayed had a kitchen so I could cook.

Transport (trains between cities) – 46€

I took an overnight train from Rome to Turin (thus saving a night’s accommodation) which cost 30€ and a short train from Turin to Milan costing 16€.

TIP: Trains in Italy are pretty cheap, but make sure you either book on the correct website – trenitalia – or just book them at the station.

TIP: Overnight trains in Italy are quite comfortable and the seats fully lean back into beds. Book a seat opposite a free seat (and hopefully no one will book that) and then you effectively get a full bed!

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Wonderful fruit and veg markets

This is what I spent whilst there:

Eating out – 113.50€

I ate out 8 times over the course of the trip, usually for dinner. This means that my average spend on a meal out was 14€. Normally I would just have some bread, a main meal and a soft drink but there were a couple of times where I splashed out on a starter or some wine. This also includes a tip for each meal out (about 10%). Eating out in Italy is wonderful because they really can cook! I enjoyed every single meal and had a varied mix of pasta, pizza, gnocchi, salads and one very tasty lasagna. I typically spent between 8€ and 10€ on a main.

TIP: Go where the locals go. Simple. Ask your host/hostel owner etc where they recommend. Avoid places with pictures of their food and watch out for sneaky service charges (especially in touristy locations).

Supermarket/market food – 41.98€

Most of my lunches and snacks throughout the day were homemade to cut costs. It also means I can eat on the go and enjoy sitting in piazzas in the sun with a nice baguette. Where possible I bought this food from local markets or small stores in the cities. We also cooked some dinners in our airbnbs which is fantastic for saving your euros.

TIP: Find the local markets! If only for a wander they are amazing!

Attractions – 28€

I actually didn’t spend much on attractions as in Italy most things are free. Especially wandering in and out of churches or between piazzas and gardens. I did have to buy tickets for the Vatican, the Royal Palace of Turin, the museum of cinema in Turin and Milan Cathedral. All very reasonable prices I believe.

TIP: Student discount! Some places didn’t even ask for any ID to show I was a student, so if you look like one – try it!

Local Transport – 23.95€

In big cities like Rome and Milan you are unlikely to avoid the metro. I only used it a couple of times in Rome (at 1.50€ a time) but in Milan I bought the 48hr card for 8.25€. I also incurred costs getting to and from the airports (only 3.20€ for a train from Rome Ciampino but 8€ for a bus to Milan Malpensa).

TIP: In big cities, getting a 24/48 hr pass could be worth the money. I didn’t get one in Rome because I think it’s just small enough to walk around but Milan is huge, so you would need one, unless you’re staying right in the centre.

TIP: The metro in Italy is simple and very effective. However, watch out for people who are ‘helping’ with the machines. They want money/a free ticket.

Extras – 42€

For me this was gelato, hot chocolates, postcards, gifts and a swanky bottle of limoncello at the airport. The little things every day do add up, but I have no regrets on the treats front. Italian ice cream and hot chocolates are incredible.

TIP: Coffees in Italy will set you back about 1€. Hot chocolates, that I had, cost me between 2.50€ and 4€ (the latter was in a cat cafe so I didn’t mind). I typically paid 2€ to 3.50€ for a little tub with 2 or 3 scoops of gelato. If you’re paying more, you’re in a very touristy place and the ice cream probably won’t be that great.

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You have to try an Italian hot chocolate!

 

I will now go through the cities one by one, showing how much you may budget per day based on location and activities.

 

Rome

141.98€ for 4 days/3 nights = 35.50€ per day

These numbers reflect the cost of staying in the city based on accommodation, food, activities and local transport. I stayed in a great hostel (Freedom Traveller) which gave free breakfast and even free wine in the evenings. It cost 17.50€ per night for a bed in a 4 bed mixed room. Due to being in the city with all of my classmates, I ate out in more than the other cities which bought the price up.

Check out my letters from Rome here:

Rome: sunrises, spaces and shutters  |  Secret Haven in Rome  |  Discoveries in Rome  |  Last day in Rome

TIP: I found that eating out in Rome was cheapest around my hostel, which was near the Termini station. We ate in a couple of restaurants that were purely Italians and were the cheapest and nicest food I had.

TIP: Be sensible if you’re staying near the station. It turns into a rough area at night and a few of my classmates were actually followed back to their hostel. Just be aware – and if you don’t look like a tourist, they won’t treat you like one.

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Build up of the ancient city

Turin

128.12€ for 3.5 days/3 nights = 36.61€ per day

This turned out to be the most expensive leg of my trip. This is mainly due to the attractions, where I paid to go to the Palace and the Museum – both of which I completely loved! I also indulged in a wonderful 2 course dinner, many hot chocolates and delicious market foods. The airbnb we stayed in was my favourite place and cost us 21€ each per night. The owner bought us breakfast and it was stunning so it was worth it. I think Turin is worth every penny, but I could definitely have been more stringent.

Check out my letters from Turin here:

First Impressions of Turin  |  Turin: the city of surprises  |  Fog can’t dampen my day in Turin!  |  Turin vs Milan

TIP: Turin is one of the smallest, easiest cities to navigate – you will not get lost. But grab a free map in one of the many churches and it will label most of Turin’s churches. I did a couple of routes based on where these churches are.

TIP: Up in the north of the city, still walkable, is the Piazza della Republica where you will find an INCREDIBLE market! It sells everything.

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Beauty in the sunshine in Turin

Milan

70.83€ for 2.5 days/ 2 nights = 28.33€ per day

Milan was by far the cheapest destination, helped very much by finding airbnb accommodation for less than 14€ a night. The attractions were mainly free and we ate in one night so costs were cut. Milan is definitely a city where you can find free things to do everywhere!

Check out my letters from Milan here:

Milan: the city of shopping  |  Milan’s monthly antique market

TIP: If you’re staying in an airbnb (or a hostel for that matter) that is a bit out of the city, check what underground lines you can access from it. The YELLOW line is the best for getting to the centre (Duomo) and also for getting to the buses to the airport and trains to the rest of Italy (Centrale). Our airbnb was also on the purple line which I also used one day to get near the centre.

TIP: The 48hr metro pass is 8.25€, each individual journey costs 1.50€ so weigh up how much you’ll use it.

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Old and new in harmony in Milan

 

So there you have it! 10 days in the beautiful country of Italy, visiting 3 cities for 562.43€. I was pretty pleased with the amount I spent considering I did do quite a bit of indulging. I was on holiday, can you blame me?

OVERALL:

  • Accommodation: 18€ per night
  • Eating out: 14€ per meal
  • Eating in: 3-5€ per evening meal
  • Homemade lunch: 5€ for 3 days worth
  • Attractions: depend on the city (about 8€)
  • AVERAGE DAILY BUDGET: 33.48€

Hope this has been useful! Any questions, fire away!

From Lou

About Me

Milan’s monthly antique market

Letter 77

I have to say, my last day in Italy was possibly my favourite. Milan managed to surprise me and completely change my opinion of the city. Visiting some of the quieter parts of the city, and especially the market, made me fall just a little bit in love with Milan. It also gave me a huge reason to come back and buy some of the wonderful antiques I spotted along the canals. Allow me to fill you in on my Sunday in Milan…

Navigli Antique Market

Luck was really on our side in Milan this weekend as not only was the weather beautiful, but it happened to be the last Sunday of the month, when exciting things happen in the city. The most exciting is the Navigli Flea Market where antique sellers flock to the southern canals of Milan to gather and sell their beautiful things. The rest of the locals also descend on this lovely area to buy everything from furniture to cameras and clothing to pocket watches. You can find anything here. If I hadn’t had a full backpack to take home with me, I could’ve bought many things. The market only happens once a month, so try to stay in Milan on the last weekend of the month! This is one of the best things I did in Italy and the area of Navigli was great to wander around – even without the market!

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A whole other side to busy Milan

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Antique objects and antique buildings

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So many beautiful things

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The markets stretch 2km down the peaceful canals – not so peaceful on the last Sunday of the month! Amazing mix of people.

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One of my favourite stalls

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A beautiful bike

Cimitero Monumentale

I actually began my day much earlier than our visit to the market, where we went at midday. After waking early, as always, I decided not to waste my morning (or 48 hour metro card) and head to a park. On google maps the Monumental Cemetery is just a green space; in real life, it’s magnificent. It’s beyond a cemetery of any kind I’ve seen. Each grave is ornamented with statues, artwork and flowers people have left. The park contains work by many famous artists and architects and is entered through a stunning courtyard belong to a striking building and museum. I loved walking through both the building and the cemetery and found it fascinating seeing skyscrapers in the background of the classical architecture. I’m so glad I decided to head out to see this area, I loved it!

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Old and New

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A little touch of colour

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Stunning art and architecture

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Each grave has it’s own character

So my journey through Italy ends here. I have thoroughly enjoyed the last 10 days where I have got to know three Italian cities and grown more fond of this staggeringly beautiful and diverse country. I feel like I will never get enough of Italy and am already thinking about when I’ll next come back.

Re-visiting Rome gave me a fresh impression of the city and it grew on me much more than my last visit. I spent more time relaxing and actually enjoying being in Rome than trying to see all it has to offer. I particularly loved spending time south-west of the river wandering through the streets and observing the locals.

Turin was paradise. It’s one of the loveliest cities I’ve ever had the pleasure to stay in and all I kept thinking was how I’d love to spend a month or two living here. For a small city it has so much to offer and I believe is very underrated. This also makes it all the more perfect because of the lack of tourists and sounds only of the Italian language.

Milan was probably the biggest surprise overall. I’d heard from many people that it’s not a great city and that my time would be better spent elsewhere. Whilst it may not be my favourite Italian city, I really enjoyed my time there. The market won me over and I became fond and rather protective of the city, wanting to tell everyone who had bad-mouthed it that they were wrong. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but more than anywhere else, Milan has shown me that you can always find something to love in a place.

For now, Ciao Italia.

From Lou

About Me

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Happy people at the market.

Milan: the city of shopping

Letter 76

I was unsure of Milan when we first arrived. I thought there may not have been much for me here. However, after a day exploring, this large city has started to win me over. We visited some beautiful spots of the city and I’ve actually had a really nice, sunny, relaxing day. Just what I needed before we head back to Edinburgh tomorrow.

Milan Cathedral

We arrived into the centre on the metro at 10. We got into the cathedral at 11. The queues for tickers were quite long and then we had to wait to actually get into the building. This wasn’t too bad though and we were in good spirits and excited to see inside this monumental building. We paid 3€ to do the cathedral, Duomo museum and a church attached to the museum. We thought about walking up to the top of the Duomo for the view for an extra 9€ but decided against it. The cathedral is absolutely stunning. The stained glass casts watery colourful shadows across the heavy columns holding up an elaborate vaulted roof way above. The sheer volume of the space is something to behold.

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Museo del Duomo and Chiesa di San Gottardo

These were both included in the ticket price so we decided to have a wander round them. It was actually quite fun. We saw countless statues, some beautiful tapestries and a scale model of the Duomo (my favourite part). We also visited the church, which I love to do, which was very sweet in dusky pink shades with a piece of modern art outside it.

Piazza del Duomo

By the time we’d got through those 3 we were ready for lunch so we sat in the sunshine on the steps of the Duomo for about an hour. It’s fantastic for people watching because of how many people are on the square. It really is a stark contrast to peaceful Turin.

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele 11

This was probably the place I was most excited to see in Milan. The shopping centre. Not at all for the shops of course, but for the architecture. This building is absolutely stunning in glass and steel. Walking through it is an experience, whilst much of Milan is generic of a big city, this is truly Italian. It contains a huge variety of shops as well, so you’re spoiled for choice.

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Piazza della Scala

This little square contains a palace, a monument to Leondardo and some lovely seating areas. We used this as a through-way to our next destination but we did stop for a second to enjoy it. The buildings and streets around it are beautiful and, again, feel very Italian. This was something I was craving in Milan and started to feel it more here.

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Via Brera

Brera was an area I had read about and liked the sound of. I wasn’t wrong. It’s a beautiful part of the city that feels older, less touristy and prettier than the big centre. It has winding cobbled streets, unique shops and quaint piazzas. This road goes straight through the area so we wandered up here and even grabbed some delicious sorbet on the way.

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Pinacoteca di Brera and Orto Botanico di Brera

Along this road, you’ll find the Pinacoteca di Brera which is a palace containing galleries, a library and an observatory. People were clearing up from a show in fashion week inside so we couldn’t get a proper look round. The building and its courtyard were stunning though. Out the back is a small botanical garden which was very peaceful and pleasant in the sun. I can imagine it completely comes to life in summer.

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Castello Sforzesco

Not far from the palace, nothing is in the centre of Milan, is Sempione Park hosting many things in Milan. There’s an arena, aquarium, lake, art museum and fair (which I presume is temporary. However, the main attraction is the castle which is completely free to wander around, but you have to pay for the museums. It’s a monumental building with sun-trap courtyards and heavy stone ruins. Tonnes of people are always walking through here as it’s a main through-road for the city. One of my favourite things I saw was a violin exhibit. They have turned one of the rooms (high up in the castle – many many stairs) into a giant violin that you walk through and learn about the instrument. They also had some Italian violin makers in to explain and show people how the violins are created. It was absolutely fascinating. On the opposite to the park side of the castle is a square with a beautiful fountain in it that was buzzing with people. This was one of my favourite places we visited.

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Parco Sempione

As I mentioned, this is a huge park with a lot of things to do in it. You could easily spend a whole day exploring this area. We simply meandered through to get to the triumphal arch at the end. It was great to see so many locals out relaxing, spending time with their families or playing sports.

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Arco della Pace

Our last destination for the day was this arch and its piazza. Another great spot for people watching and for admiring the wonderful architecture that surrounds you. Not just the arch and it’s symmetrical buildings either side, but also the lovely Italianate buildings beyond it that make up a residential quiet part of the city. We sat here listening to a busker until the sun was setting and then walked back through the park and castle.

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So that was our full day in Milan. I think we managed to see most of the big sights and still had time for lots of sitting and relaxing. The city has definitely grown on me. Tomorrow we have a couple of exciting things in store before we head home mid afternoon. I can’t quite believe I have to say goodbye to Italy so soon.

Thanks for reading,

From Lou

About Me

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Possibly my favourite photo of the day…

Turin vs Milan

Letter 75

I think I may have left my heart in Turin. I truly loved that city and every second I spent in it bought more surprises, wonderful people and lovely places. But, alas, I had to leave. Milan is our third and final stop, and we took the train here at 1pm. To me, that meant I had the whole morning in Turin to explore and visit one last thing before we left. In this letter I’ll fill you in on the last few hours in Turin, and my first impressions of Milan.

Piazza Vittorio Veneto

I felt like I didn’t spend enough time in this beautiful space yesterday so as soon as I was ready to leave, bags packed and all, I headed here to do some reading. I had a lovely half an hour relaxing, admiring my surroundings. However, as this piazza is a through-road for traffic, is was louder than some of the others I had found previously. Still quite stunning to look out over the river, even if the views were submerged in fog.

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Museo Nazionale del Cinema & the Mole Antonelliana

I had been really keen to do this museum since we arrived in Turin, and after setting off early, I managed to do it today. I am so glad I didn’t miss this as it has to be one of the best museums I have ever been to. The museum begins with the history of cameras and film, starting with the science of the eye and lenses. There are lots of interactive parts of the displays and also films in the style of 18th, 19th and 20th century cinema. It’s such as great experience! Then, it gets better. At the centre of the Mole Antonelliana is the Temple Hall which is full of vintage cinema seating and screens, and surrounded by small chapels dedicated to the cult of cinema. It’s such a fun space to explore. Going up again you get to see aspects of the film industry and even take part in green screen films. The museum really has it all. To top it off you can take the lift up to the Mole Antonelliana, 85m above ground, and get spectacular views across Turin towards the Alps. Of course, it was foggy for my ascent so I’ll just have to go back to get the better view. The museum plus the lift ascent costs 11€ for students.

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I won’t spoil it by putting too many photos but there is a little taster for you. Have I convinced you to go to Turin yet? But please go in summer.

First Impressions of Milan

At lunchtime we hopped on our train to Milan, which I slept through most of. Arriving into Milan doesn’t have the same charm of any of the other cities I have visited, but that didn’t surprise me. Lots of skyscrapers and some quite run-down areas it seems. We had to get a metro out to our airbnb which conveniently is on the same line as the centrale station, and also the Duomo – probably the one we’ll use for exploring the city. Our airbnb check in was less than perfect but I won’t let that affect my view on this city. We took the metro back into town later in the day for a walk around and dinner. The metro card for 48 hours (which will see us until the end of our trip) is 8.25€. The city centre is much nicer than the outskirts, where we’re staying. Lots of lovely buildings, some large parks and many, many designers shops. However, it does just feel like any other big city I believe. I think this is partly due to it being an international fashion capital. Still, I can’t wait to get a proper look around tomorrow and see everything I’ve got on my list. So, first impressions? I don’t think it will be my favourite Italian city, and it’s very different to Turin and Rome, but I think the city centre will deliver. And hopefully the weather will too.

Here’s my one photo of Milan from last night. I couldn’t not take it.

That’s Turin and Milan. I will report back tomorrow about how Milan has treated us. Thanks for reading.

From Lou

About Me

Fog can’t dampen my day in Turin!

Letter 74

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.

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The baby blues and yellows allowed me to forget the grey weather outside for a second, this may have been my favourite church in Turin.

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The view…

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.)

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Looking away from the church

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.

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Chiesa della Gran Madre di Dio and Chiesa di Santa Maria del Monte

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.

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This market attracts serious numbers of people.

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The indoor market

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Fresh pasta! We purchased some gnocci here.

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Everything else you could need

Piazza Castello

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.

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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!

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The impressive ballroom – the painted dancers you can see are based on findings from Pompeii.

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This gallery has many horses – that are actually real! They are made using stitched horse skin…

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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.

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Cat on the table…

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Another glorious cioccolata calda, even richer than the last one

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Cat on a stair

Church Walk

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.

Until tomorrow,

From Lou

About Me

Turin: the city of surprises

Letter 73

Amongst parallel streets of ornamented apartment blocks and quaint shops sits vast piazzas and peaceful gardens. The whole city has an air of calm to it and it truly is a breath of fresh air after visiting the tourist hub of Rome. I am very quickly falling in love with this little Italian gem. After a leisurely morning spent catching up on some work and skype calls home, we left at 1pm to explore some of the city. In this letter I will tell you about the places we visited and show you just a glipse of Turin that I think will make you eager to visit…

Piazza San Carlo

Rated as one of the biggest attractions in Turin is this Piazza. It’s surrounded by classic Turin architecture that shades the small shops and cafes under the beautiful archway. Flanking Via Roma, a street of designer shops leading to the main station, are two grand churches. This would be a perfect place to sit and read or people watch from one of the cafes, and a great chance to admire the monument in the centre.

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Giardino Sambuy

This may possibly be my favourite place we visited today. We stopped here to eat lunch in the sun and listen to the quiet trickle of the fountain. This garden is a square surrounded by hotels and restaurants and leads to the station. There are plenty of benches, most of which were full with couples, dog walkers and friends on lunch breaks. We sat amongst the pigeons and plenty of dogs for a while and I even got some reading and sketching done. Despite the colder temperatures up here it was still a very enjoyable relax.

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Piazza Solferino

This long piazza is extremely picturesque and features two fountains and is lined by trees either side which shelters the benches. The buildings are all different and gently contrast each other which I admired for a while and read in the sun. I would imagine this place to be stunning in spring when the trees are laced with pink blossom.

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Fontana Angelica

Giardino Lamarmora

This is one of many surprises Turin had in store for us today. This sweet little green square is a peaceful oasis in the city with winding paths taking you around some of the more unusual statues and even heart shaped trees over some of the benches. I think it’s the perfect romantic spot and there were many Italian couples demonstrating that this is indeed true.

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Via Cernaia

Under the classic Italian arched shopping parade along this road you’ll find cafes, book stores, vintage clothing, fresh fish and even a stamps and coins shop. Strolling down here really is an education and when you have a view of endless cream and yellow buildings and tree lined streets, it’s very pleasant. We stopped here for a hot drink where I tasted my first cioccalati caldi. I now know what the hype is about. It was warm, chocolatey, moussey and ever so smooth. I even had to order in Italian because it’s such a non-touristy area that they don’t even speak English. I felt like a true Italian – even though I am so so far from one.

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Piazza Statuto

Just when we thought we might have wandered into a slightly run-down, rougher part of Turin, we come to this piazza. One of the most beautiful spaces with a stunning fountain and yet more places to sit and relax.

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Via Guiseppe Garibaldi

Running parallel to Via Cernaia is this bustling hub of shopping activity. This is a really enjoyable road to meander down, occasionally veering off course to the smaller side streets with unique shops. The first surprise we had down this street was a seemingly temporary bookshop which acts like a large, light, bright tunnel of books along the street. You can wander through and browse whilst still walking down the street and you’ll see people from children to elderly. I thought it was a great idea!

The next surprise came in the form of two churches which I can never resist going into. I seems to me that most, if not all, of the churches in Turin are open for the public to enter and spend time in. As everywhere else, there were no tourists. The churches’ interiors were absolutely magnificent. I was speechless to have stumbled upon such beautiful architecture by chance. They rival some of the best known architecture in Rome.

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Libreria Il Banco

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Chiesa dei Santi Martiri Solutore

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Chiesa di San Rocco

Piazza Vincenza Arbarello

Again, we mistakenly stumbled upon this piazza due to our own curiosity. We did very well to stumble upon it though. This is a large piazza featuring a basketball court, a tree-lined path with benches and, most surprisingly, another book store. After researching it, I have found that it’s owned by a man who wants to revive ancient books, so he travels throughout the region collecting old, used books and comics, and sells them here. I couldn’t resist the charm and smells of the old books, so I had to buy something. I spotted a large collection of comics and bought an interesting looking one titled Mercanti de Morte.

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ABC Library

Piazza Castello

This may be one of the grandest Piazzas I have ever stood in. It’s absolutely huge and is surrounded by a few palaces, a church and a theatre. Can you ask for more? We will be exploring this area tomorrow as I’m dying to get inside these buildings and see the extensive gardens belonging to one of the palaces. I’ll give you a wee taster of this square though.

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Piazza San Carlo

Finally, we arrived back where we started. It was on the way back to the airbnb and after picking up some stuff for dinner we decided to catch the sunset. Boy was it worth it. It’s such a beautiful space at this time of day.

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It’s been such a relaxing day and I feel like Turin has shown me some of it’s best hidden secrets. I have so much planned tomorrow and I can’t wait to get to know the city even better. I hope you’ve enjoyed my journey of Turin so far!

From Lou

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