There is nothing I like more than getting to an Italian café early in the morning, leaning on the cold marble of a bancone – counter – and ordering my first coffee of the day. I could be doing that anywhere in Italy, but the tomato, salad and egg tramezzino (a soft sandwich typically cut in little triangles) served with my steaming hot cappuccino this time is what tells me I’m in Piedmont. And, more specifically, in the delightful city of Turin.
Speaking as an expatriated Italian, Turin is, in my opinion, one of the country’s loveliest yet most underrated cities to explore, and I never fail to suggest it whenever someone tells me they’re heading to Milan or any of the nation’s other more overcrowded destinations. The capital of the Piedmont region is the most train-travel-friendly location in Italy for one thing, with fast direct trains (the Italian Freccia Rossa) travelling from Paris most days in around six hours. But the city is also extremely elegant, culturally rich and easy to navigate. No matter what kind of traveller you are, Turin really has it all – minus the crowds of tourists that you usually find in Florence, Venice or Rome.
Looking for a culture-filled getaway? Turin is home to one of the most important museums of Egyptian art in the world, second only to the Egyptian Museum of Cairo. On the hunt for good food? Piedmont is the home of the Slow Food movement – a global, grassroots organisation that promotes local food and traditional cooking methods – and the city boasts 11 Michelin-starred restaurants including Condividere and Magorabin, plus hundreds of cheaper eats where you can discover the local cuisine.
Turin was the first Italian capital, once the residence of the Italian monarchs, and birthplace – together with the rest of the Piedmont region – of some of the most coveted Italian treats: espresso (invented in Turin, not Naples), white and black truffles, Barolo wine and arguably one of the world’s tastiest chocolate treats that can rarely be found outside Italy, the Gianduiotto.
Read more on Italy travel:
But the food and wine scene in Turin is only possible because of the amazing produce that can be…