8 – 11 August 2016
My second stop on this Italian adventure was Torino, which is a pretty large town about an hour, by train, from Milan. I found Torino to be quite a lovely city, that’s just a bit rough around the edges.
My favorite aspect of the city was how easy it was to navigate. The streets are laid out in a grid system, much like New York City. I hardly had to use maps and didn’t get lost once, which is a huge feat (for me) when traveling. Secondly, the city is just very charming. It was enjoyable just to walk around and take in all of the sights and sounds.
I didn’t arrive until the afternoon on Tuesday, so I decided to make it more of a relaxing day. I settled into my hostel and just laid around for a little while. I also met my roommate Tom, who was a nice gentleman from Scotland. After I had enough of lying around, I headed to the nearby park, Parco del Valentino.
I believe Parco del Valentino is the most well known park in the city. It was strange, half the park seemed to be a little sketchy, with homeless people, beer bottles and cigarettes lying around, and the other half of the park was really nice, with a botanical garden and a pretty view of the Po River. Either way, I had a good time strolling around and stopping occasionally to read Harry Potter. Later on, I went out for dinner at a little restaurant nearby that the receptionist at the hostel recommended. The food and wine were delicious. Finally amazing Italian food, woo! I had this moment, where I realized I was so content just sitting there and eating all by myself, without a phone for distraction. It was a very freeing feeling.
The next morning I dragged (well, he went willingly) Tom with me to adventure around the city. We started off at Piazza della Repubblica, where there is a market every day. The Royal Palace of Turin was our next stop. It was absolutely gorgeous. Every room was ornate and over the top, as you would imagine at a palace. There was also a nice garden and art gallery there that we checked out. We grabbed some lunch after, which turned out to be harder than you would imagine. Everywhere in Turin closes between the typical lunch and dinner time, so from around 2PM-7PM. I am unsure if this is the norm, but the woman at the hostel told me many people go on holiday around this time, so many businesses have reduced hours or are just closed all together.
Post-lunch, Tom and I split up, as I was headed to the Mole Antonelliana, which he had already seen. Wow. This was totally worth the wait in line. You take a glass elevator up to the top of the building, where you can view the entire city. It was breathtaking. The pictures really don’t do it justice. Also at the Mole is a museum of cinema, which was really cool. I walked around there for quite some time. On my way home I grabbed dinner at a Japanese restaurant, then just hung out at the hostel and read.
Overall, I definitely recommend Torino. I am glad I stopped there for a few days, despite it not being a “top tourist destination.” I would say two to three days there is sufficient. Next stop: Genova.