What to see in Turin? Perhaps something Egyptian? Sounds strange but yes. After Cairo, Turin boasts the second most important Egyptian museum in the world. This isn’t only for the number of artifacts but also for their quality. How did so many Egyptian artifacts end up in the north of Italy? Well, at one point, the status of a royal family was judged by the number of Egyptian mummies in their collection. No wonder, the House of Savoy was so eager about gathering as many Egyptian treasures as possible. The Egyptian museum was created in 1833 by combining the collection of the House of Savoy with that of other museums.
For a long time, Turin has been a very well kept secret. Most tourists headed for the internationally renowned beacons of Italian culture and history the likes of Rome and Florence. The world only realized what it’s been missing when this elegant city with royal past hosted the Winter Olympic games of 2006. Since then, the city kept growing and improving its infrastructure, creating a lush royal oasis of the north.
Today, Turin invites visitors to explore its ancient and recent history boasting with palaces, museums, parks, broad tree-lined avenues, elegant restaurants, historic coffee houses, colonnaded streets, and multiethnic neighborhoods. The city has a long history but unlike other Italian cities, it doesn’t dwell on it. Here, the history is respected while life keeps moving forward. In fact, Turin is home to many innovations including the successful Fiat cars or the revolutionary Slow Food movement and supermarket (housed in an old Fiat factory).
So, after you are done inspecting ancient artifacts and admiring baroque architecture, flee to the funky new bars hiding in the cobblestone streets of the old Quadrilatero Romano. Don’t forget to indulge in a glass of local vermouth which, by the way, was born right here. Those too young to enjoy alcoholic beverages can nibble on Gianduja, local hazelnut chocolate created during Napoleon’s rule.
As far as the savory treats are concerned, Piedmont’s cuisine is quite different from the usual Italian stereotype. Look for expertly prepared game, rich risottos and dishes flavored by local white truffles.
So, now you know what to do in Turin? Yes. It’s simple. Indulge in the aristocratic atmosphere, sophisticated shops, elegant boulevards, fancy palaces, lush parks, contemporary art, and innovative vibes.