Located at the foot of the Alps and on the bank of the River Po, Turin is a true pleasure for the whole family, whatever the season.
Text: Isabel Katto / Photography: Turismo Torino
Turin, capital of the Italian Piedmont, is simply magnificent. Its important role in the past as centre of the Italian unification with the Savoy and in more recent times as an industrial city with the founding of Fiat, has afforded it architectural and cultural treasures of great beauty and aesthetic value. Neither children nor adults will have time for boredom, as there are activities for everyone.
Getting around in the city
Turin is ideal for walking, its 18 kilometres of galleries, of which almost 13 are uninterrupted, allows for pleasant strolls through the historical centre.
We recommend that you purchase the Torino + Piemonte Card, which allows free access to urban transport and to more than 160 cultural sites. The card also provides large discounts on tickets to shows, car rental with Hertz and Avis and guided tours. The options are from two to seven days and prices range from £17 to £31. The card is valid for one adult and one child under 12. The 2-day Torino + Piemonte Junior Card is ideal for those under 18 and costs £8. You can buy the cards at tourist information kiosks around the city.
Turin for kids
There are so many things to do in Turin, but these are ideal for young travellers:
The chocolate tour
Turin was the birthplace of chocolate as we know it today. The Choco Pass allows visitors to enjoy 22 tasters in the historical cafés of the city, within a period of 3 days. It costs £10.50 and you can buy it at the Torino Tourism offices.
The largest collection of ancient Egypt artefacts, after the Cairo Museum, can be found here, the only European museum dedicated entirely to Egyptian culture. Children will have a great time amongst mummies, papyri and sarcophagi.
Tickets: Normal £6.50; Reduced £3 (18-25 year olds and teachers); Free for children up to 18, seniors over 65 and disabled persons, and for holders of the Torino+Piemonte Card.
Via Accademia delle Scienze, 6 – 10123 Turin; tel.+39 011 561 7776 www.museoegizio.org
Museo Nazionale del Cinema
La Mole Antonelliana is the seat of this museum, which more than a museum is a theme park based on cinema where you can spend hours interacting with its permanent collection. The lift, rising through the centre of the tower and leading you to panoramic views, is a glass cubicle that seems to float on nothingness. Willy Wonka’s elevator automatically comes to mind, from the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie.
Tickets: Museum + panoramic lift = £7 (adults); £5.7 (Children over 11 and seniors over 65); free for children under 11 and for holders of the Torino+Piemonte Card.
Via Montebello,20-10124 Turin, Tel +39 011 813 8560 www.museonazionaledelcinema.it
Parque Valentino and Villa Medieval
This beautiful park on the bank of the River Po is the locals’ most beloved park. Its main attractions are the medieval village and castle, which, incredibly, are fake! The village, built in 1884, recreates a town from the Italian Middle Ages and is free to visit every day from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. in winter and until 8:00 p.m. in summer. The castle can be visited every day, except Tuesdays, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and the tickets are £4.5 normal and £3.50 reduced.
Viale Virgilio 107, Tel +39 011 443 1701/02 www.borgomedievaletorino.it
Parque de la Mandria
This 1,600 hectare park, 16 kilometres from the city, takes a whole day to visit. It is a UNESCO World Heritage and can be visited on foot, on bicycle, on horse, by carriage or on the park’s train. There are unique tours offered, such as the night tour, where you can see animals living in the wild or the exclusive tours for families on special dates. You can get to the park on the express bus from Turin, from Tuesday to Sunday. The ticket is £2.50 one-way and £4.5 return. Free for holders of the Torino Card. For more information on schedules, activities and prices: www.parcomandria.it and www.comune.torino.it/gtt/avvisi/venaria2
Turin for gourmets
Children will have no problem finding something to their liking in Turin at mealtimes. It is impossible to resist a good plate of spaghetti, a crispy pizza or some delicious ravioli because eating well is almost a religion for the people of Turin. It will be practically impossible to pry the kids away from the multicoloured window displays of chocolate, sweets and every flavour of ice-cream.
The “Merenda Reale” recreates the ritual of the house of Savoy of the afternoon snack with hot chocolate. Many places offer delicacies of local patisserie and cakes with a delicious cup of hot chocolate. It is essential to book the day before at the Torino Tourism Office. Check on prices, places and times at www.turismotorino.org/merendareale as this programme is not offered all year round.
The city also has a tram restaurant, a historical-gastronomic tour, and a place that vindicates “slow food”: Eataly, a market selling top quality Italian gastronomic products and freshly made food. Those who love good food should prepare to spend large amounts of money, because it is easy to go wild amongst such excellence.
With more than 40 museums, 13 historical cafés, parks, markets, plazas, the famous Turin Shroud, the Palazzo Reale, the Teatro Regio, Art Nouveau buildings, famous designer shops, river tours and its rich historical past, the problem with Turin is to manage to make the most of your time on a short stay. But we are sure that it will be unforgettable because the city is perfect for all audiences and visitors will always want to return to get to know it a bit better.
It is easy to get to Turin from the UK at good prices. Turin is also a large railway hub with fast connections to the rest of Italy and some European cities.
It is not recommendable to rent a car unless you are planning to travel outside of the city. Many of the centre’s streets are pedestrian and, although there are plenty of parking houses, the cost is quite high.
Public transport is recommended, tickets can be purchased in the tobacconist shops.
There are no conductors on the buses, but if you are caught without a valid ticket, the fine is over £175.
The website www.gtt.to.it has information on the city transport network as well as on the river and gastronomic tours.
Before travelling check the www.turismotorino.org website to find plans and offers for visitors, or ask for information brochures in the tourism offices located at Piazza Castello/via Garibaldi, Porta Nuova train station or Caselle international airport.
If you have the time, visit the surrounding areas of the city, you will find good entertainment options at any time of year. Winter sports are practised at the installations of the 2006 Olympics at Alta Val Susa. In spring, summer and autumn you can breathe in the pure air of the national parks in the region of Canavese and Valli di Lanzo. The region has no less than 10 parks and natural reserves, among which is La Mandria, ideal for sports, excursions, savouring local food, purchasing handicrafts or learning history. More information at www.turismotorino.org