I feel very lucky to live in a city where the airport has cheap connections to so many European cities.
I took advantage of Ryanair flight offers to go to Turin and visit my cousin who lives in Ivrea, a village about 70km away from Turin. In 3 days I enjoyed Ivrea, Aosta and Turin, but in the latter I was a little short of time – this city, on the banks of the River Po, deserves at least a 4-day stay.
Turin was the first capital of the united Italian nation in 1861, and was the residence of the Royal family – the House of Savoy.
The name Turin, and its symbol (the bull), comes from the original name of the tribe that the Romans found living in this area when they first arrived: the taurini.
The Mole Antonelliana, another important symbol of the city, was for a long time the tallest stone-built tower in Europe. It lost that record in 1953 when a storm toppled 47 metres of it, a section which was replaced with an iron structure for safety reasons.
And allow me to also tell you about the Palazzo Madama, a building that is particularly noteworthy for being a medieval castle with a baroque facade. It’s a building with a 2000-year long history, which was originally built as a gateway for the Roman colony. It was then fortified, eventually becoming a castle. Finally, towards the end of the 17th century when it was the residence of Maria Juana Bautista de Saboya-Nemours, it began its transformation into a baroque palace – a transformation that was never completed.
All these and more interesting facts I learnt on Angelo’s Free Walking Tourin.
As on any trip, I couldn’t skip brunch. When I started my online research, I was surprised by the range of options available. I decided on a place called Paibikery, because I was curious to see how they would bring in the cycling theme. The site is small, decorated with recycled materials and products which are for sale to cycling enthusiasts. You could buy a bike here, or arrange for your own to have a service, as well as enjoying wonderful food.
By 2.30pm the place was full, but luckily we’d booked a table on the terrace. The brunch menu was extensive, with international items alongside local products such as Toma di Lanzo cheese.
What surprised me most were the savoury pancakes, which came presented in a stack with various other ingredients. It’s one option which is new to me – even after 75 different brunches!
The service was lovely, although the waitress’ shirt wasn’t as clean as we’d have liked. Make sure you don’t arrive hungry, because in general they take a while to serve you as they have a very small kitchen and all the pancakes are prepared fresh.
The wait is worth it though, because these dishes aren’t just a treat for the eyes, but also definitely one for the stomach.