Stand in front of The Twin Churches in Turin’s Piazza San Carlo, planked by stately marble arcades, and you’ll wonder what took you so long to get here. Turin is a city that has long been on my bucket list. There were of course the sights and tastes that attracted me – the royal palaces, the Egyptian Museum (largest collection of Egyptian art outside Cairo) and chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.
But beyond “what to see,” it’s really what I wasn’t seeing or hearing that drew me in. In a country where many corners have been unearthed, Turin holds its own northern regality, blending Austrian influences with Italian soul.
I hope this weekend guide will help you get the most out of this magical city!
Arrive late afternoon. Fly into Turin’s Airport or, Milan is about 1 hour and 30 minutes away by train. Insider Tip: train travel is most idyllic as the snow-capped Alps greet you en route.
Check in to Grand Hotel Sitea, Turin’s decadent dame. The nightly rates are less than half what you would pay for similar accommodations in Milan or Venice. Request a south facing room – you’ll hear the charming church bells toll in the distance. Get settled and head downstairs to Bistrot Carlo e Camillo for an aperitif. Saluti!
For dinner, Locanda da Betty is a must. Order the gnocchi in local cheese sauce + the wine braised beef with cloves.
Call it a night – you’ll need those beauty zzz’s!
Begin at Café Al Bicerin – believed to be the birthplace of Bicerin, a drink only found in this corner of Italy. Part espresso and part hot chocolate, it’s the perfect sugar/caffeine rush for a busy day ahead.
Next, dive into Turin’s regal past at the Royal Palace and Palazza Madama. You can even shop like a royal along Via Roma. But for local shopping, check out Noire Shoes. I love their black boots with chunky colored heels.
You’ve earned a break and bite. Enjoy a glass of Barolo wine and charcuterie plate at Signorvino tucked away on Via Lagrange.
Tonight, taxi to one of the most memorable meals of your life. You’ll want the Nonna behind Osteria Antiche Sere to adopt you. The menu star is agnolotti – a delicate pasta stuffed with meat and cheese, bathed in butter, and topped with pecorino.
Taxi back to the hotel and plan how to get a job at Osteria Antiche Sere so you can stay here forever…
Enjoy the breakfast buffet at the hotel. The freshly baked almond cakes are especially good. Check out, store your luggage and arrive early to the Egyptian Museum. Spend the morning marveling at Egyptian artifacts and temple remains.
Hungry for pranzo? A few minutes’ walk from the museum is Dual Ristorante serving superb Neapolitan style pizza.
End the weekend on a sweet note. Trying Turin’s cult-following chocolate is a must. Here are a few favorites:
- Stratta: Come for the creminos (chocolate squares layered with hazelnut cream) Toodles diet!
- Gubino Chocolate: Known for gianduja (pyramid shaped chocolate with chopped hazelnut), this is one of the best chocolatiers in the city.
- Eataly: Small-batch chocolate bars + bags of creminos, gianduja and more that you won’t ever find back home… even at an Eataly near you. One-stop chocolate shopping!
Say Ciao to Turin. As you leave the city behind, you’ll feel as if you are getting away with something special – like only you know about the wonders of this city. And I promise, you will be back!