C as Turin. Capital, cinema and chocolate … with class. C as the initials of its most famous squares: Castle and S. Carlo. Again, C as the cafes that have written pages of history here. Visiting Turin means diving into the culture that, like a magical aura, surrounds the city first capital of Italy, and for centuries the residence of kings, dukes, marquises. The center of Turin has been for centuries the core of the Savoy political power and the heart of the Savoy House, who left its mark with the splendor of aristocratic residences and with its love for the arts even in the so-called “crown of delights” surrounding the center: some example are Villa of the Queen, the Valentino Castle, the Hunting Residence of Stupinigi and Reggia di Venaria, the Basilica of Superga, the castles of Rivoli and Moncalieri. Walking through Turin, it is inevitable to come across refined palaces, romantic gardens, statues, monuments and architecture inspired by Baroque or Art Nouveau. The itineraries are never predictable nor trivial here: from the Royal Palace, the first and most important of the Savoy residences dating back to the seventeenth century and since 1997 UNESCO Heritage, Palazzo Madama – seat of the Civic Museum of Ancient Art in Turin, work of Filippo Juvarra inspired by the rear facade of Versailles – from the Teatro Regio to the State Archive. And then the Littorio Skyscraper, the Church of San Lorenzo, Chiablese Palace, the Armory, and the Royal Library, which houses works by Leonardo.
The symbol of Turin, the Mole Antonelliana spires up in the old town with its 168 meters high, now houses the National Museum of Cinema. The Mole is equipped with a panoramic lift from which you can not miss the amazing view over the city and the amphitheater of the Alps.
The elegant Queen of Italy has regained all of its grace with the 2006 Winter Olympic Games that redefined the pedestrianization of the city center. Piazza Castello, hub and once the core of the Piedmont State during the Savoy Court, is the most blatant case of a place become a magnificent open-air lounge. Turin’s four major streets start from Piazza Castello: the Roman Via Garibaldi, a street among the longest in Europe, via Pietro Micca, via Po’, and the famous Via Roma, which between brands and attractive windows under the arcades, leads us to Piazza S. Carlo: another gem of elegant conviviality en plein air. At the center stands solitary the monument to Emanuele Filiberto while he is sheathing his sword after the battle of St. Quentin in 1557, made by Carlo Marocchetti. On the south corners, the twin churches of S. Charles S. Cristina give more depth and effect to the square. All around you get lost in the monumentality of the buildings and cafes such as the historic St. Carlo, under the arcades of the square.
To make it a special place was the fact it was frequented by people known for their unconventionality (who several times have also caused its closure): Dumas, Crispi, Gramsci, Einaudi are just some of the many famous names who have used it as a stronghold. The S. Carlo cafe is a palace decorated with marbles, red velvet chairs, paintings and a magnificent Murano glass drop chandelier. Some other memorable cafes are the restaurant/bar “Del Cambio”, Cavour’s favorite meeting place in front of Palazzo Carignano, was also the seat of the first Italian Parliament, and ” Al Bicerin” on the square of the Consolata Sanctuary. Here the eponymous drink was born, an evolution of the eighteenth-century “bavareisa.” Bicerin is a delicacy with espresso, chocolate and fresh cream, served in tall crystal glasses (bicerin). Small ones. That’s one of Turin’s many culinary excellences, like the fine wines, the chocolate and the bread sticks.