It’s the last day of 2013 and I am back from our glorious holiday in Turin. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (for those of you who celebrate) and now have more celebrations with a fabulous New Year! Family and friends in Australia are kicking their heels up as I type so I am sure there will be a few sore heads on the first. I, on the other hand, have just made a big bowl of chilli to take up to Ross and E’s place so we can watch the fireworks, eat chilli, drink prosecco and talk about our festivities while bringing in the new year.
I have so much to tell you about our travels up North, so many pictures to share and the best place to start is with our accommodation. For those of you who are unaware of airbnb and love to travel then you have to click on the link and check it out. The link is also the apartment we rented while staying in Turin for the week. It was fantastic and situated in a wonderful square right in the heart of a city crowded with really, really good restaurants, food shops, clothes shops, cake shops, chocolate shops….the list goes on. This was our first time using airbnb and I can easily say I am already looking at places for our trip to Venice in Feburary. Our hosts were friendly, helpful and then left us to our own devices- perfect!
Just outside the windows of our lounge room, dining room and kitchen was a great view of our square where we started our trip with one of the best lunches we have had in Italy to date. This is a big call I agree but with all honesty my gnocchi was hands down the best gnocchi I have had (it was served with baby mussels and caviar). The restaurant was called La Badessa and our servers were dressed in priest collars. At first I thought it was a bit of a joke but then found out the restaurant was run in a former monastery- very cool! There is a history on the website you’ll just need to translate it if you are like me and can’t read that much Italian!
I’m getting off track a little and what I really wanted to say was we started our holiday off on the right foot choosing La Badessa as our first pit stop. We were hoping for a white Christmas, however, there was no snow falling on the streets of Turin only on the surrounding mountains, which were breathtaking when the fog lifted and we were surrounded by the beautiful backdrop of the Alps.
On our first walk around Turin we fell upon a wonderful cafe with the most fabulous looking cakes in the window. Nic and Alex were salivating as they were packed within an inch of their lives with cream! However, seeing as we only just arrived and finished our lunch at La Badessa where we ate a divine dolce, we decided we would come back later to sample…..sadly that day never came as we were busy eating lots of other yummy goodies!
Turin is full of beautiful squares with lots to offer tourists, locals and anyone else visiting. I have to say I am stunned it doesn’t get more tourists visiting. The city is nothing like Florence, it has more of a French feel without the attitude and extremely good food at great prices. If you are thinking of visiting Italy then I really think you should consider Turin as it has so much on offer, is not over-run with tourists and is extremely affordable. We purchased a Torino Card so we could see the sights around town. This card is worth its weight in gold and only costs 34 euro per person (for 5 days) — to put that in perspective, the Florentine Card is around 78 euro per person — oh and kids under 12 are included FREE with an adult! Once we had the pass we barley put our hands in our pockets because pretty much everything was on the card and that included the Egyptian and Cinema Museums which were both brilliant. I think we spent about 4 hours wandering around the Cinema Museum without a single complaint from the kids- nice!
We did have Christmas Day in Turin and we got to sample some local produce from the surrounding gourmet shops, however, that needs to be another blog in itself. I’m not sure if it was because we were there over Christmas but Turin put on ‘Luci d’Artista’ (lights by artists) and it was something we looked forward to as the sun went down. This was also very helpful to find streets you wanted to go back to!
I know I have more things to show you but this is turning into a bit of an essay so on that note, have a wonderful and festive New Year and I’ll be back with more very soon.