14 hours in Turin, Piedmont’s fiesty capital for street art and craft beer
This article was produced by National Geographic Traveller (UK).
The Palazzo Reale (royal palace) tells the story of Turin’s heyday under the house of Savoy, who made the city its capital from 1562 and the capital of the newly unified Italy in 1861. It’s a fascinating museum, telling that story through coffered ceilings, damask-clad walls and rooms dripping in chandeliers. On the way out, see the Royal Armoury and whip around the peaceful, park-like gardens.
Drawing on the Savoy collections, the Museo Egizio is second only to Cairo in its wealth of Egyptian antiquities. Don’t miss the Galleria dei Re, an avenue of behemoth statues, lit by Oscar-winning art director Dante Ferretti. Make time for the smaller details — the hieroglyphic love poetry on papyrus still hits across the centuries.
Tiny, marble-swathed Caffe Mulassano claims to have invented the tramezzino (dainty, crustless sandwich) here in 1926. UK visitors might not agree, but they’ll love the goods: there are about 30 fillings to choose from, including truffle and bagna cauda (Piedmont’s garlic and anchovy dip) and lobster. Pair it with a spritz stoked with house vermouth. The fortified wine was invented in Turin and Mulassano’s version, dating to 1879, is just the ticket for a boozy lunch.
Turin is a hub for street art, with various projects across the city, including the MAUA (Museo di Arte Urbana Aumentata). This open-air gallery scattered throughout Turin is an augmented reality experience — so what look at first glance like a regular artwork becomes, thanks to an app, an interactive installation. See them on a tour with Claudia Kiki of Street Art Tourino, who’ll also throw in other street art areas, including the Parco Dora, an ex-industrial area that’s now an urban park for street artists and taggers.
Whip though the Museo Nazionale del Cinema — less for its (top-rung) exhibition on the history of cinema and more to clap your eyes on the building. The Mole Antonelliana is the soaring tower on the back of Italy’s two-cent coin, built in the 19th century as a synagogue. Take the lift up to the viewing platform on the cupola for sweeping views of the city, as well as the Alps, which embrace it.
Grab a beer at EDIT Brewing, an old factory turned brewery that makes everything on site. The upcycled industrial location is the perfect fit for the slick urban bar — chrome beer taps hang from the ceiling, while tables overlook floor-to-ceiling windows.
Time for dinner at Tre Galline, which has an interesting history — various taverns have been serving up hearty Piedmont fare on this spot for the past 500 years. Today, things are rather fancier, but the restaurant still sticks to regional basics. Try the agnolotti pasta, filled with three types of roasted meat and served in a gravy sauce.