After visiting Milan and Lake Como, we made our way to Italy’s 4th largest city, Turin. This city, which was the first capital of Italy, is commonly visited as a day trip from Milan, but you will be tempted to stay longer, we promise!
Situated in the Piedmont region at the foothills of the Italian Alps, Turin’s beauty and personality are unmatched, and the reasons to visit Turin are infinite. It’s famous for its innovation, regal architecture, grand porticoes, and legends of miracles, angels, and demons. It is the birthplace of Fiat cars and Juventus football club. It’s the kind of city where doing a walking tour with a local is an enthralling experience. But our primary interest was of entirely different matter.
Said to be the most underrated city in Italy, and spoiler alert: we agree! You would be amiss to skip Turin if you are visiting the north of Italy and pass up the opportunity to enjoy a crowd free authentic Italian city that birthed so many creations loved all over the world and delicious ‘firsts’.
So, grab a snack or a handkerchief as we unveil the most delicious Turin attractions and share our mouthwatering recommendations for your visit to the Chocolate Capital of Italy.
The Tastiest Attractions in Turin
Piedmont region that Turin is located in gifted the world with delectable creations like Ferrero Rocher and the world-famous Nutella. But more importantly, it is the place where chocolate and locally grown hazelnuts were first combined into one delicious homogenous paste called gianduja, Nutella’s more refined 18th century predecessor.
This is the reason we planned an entire day around sampling local sweets at the best cafes and chocolate bars that Turin has to offer. This DIY tour was without a doubt one of our top Turin highlights. If you are not up to the challenge of undertaking the tour we crafted for ourselves, we get it – it’s an excessive amount of chocolate for one day! Instead, chip away at our list of elite places to eat Turin chocolate bit by bit throughout your stay. Or go ahead and book yourself a chocolate tour, like the one below, and have a local guide take you around.
Pro Tip: If you are a true chocoholic, you’ll love aligning your visit to Turin with the chocolate festival that happens from late October to early November. Join the chocolate fanatics who gather in the city center to indulge in every form of chocolate imaginable.
Caffé Al Bicerin
As it turns out, Turin is also home to Lavazza coffee. So, when two things that originated in one city, chocolate, and espresso, combine in one decadent beverage, you know you are in for a treat. This treat is called Bicerin, and there is no better place to indulge in this beverage than at Caffé al Bicerin, founded in 1763. The signature drink consists of espresso, chocolate, and heavy cream layered in a tall glass, and comes with strict instructions not to be mixed! The beverage comes with a spoon, but don’t be fooled, its sole purpose is to scoop out anything that remains in the glass. Part of a royal snack tradition, Bicerin is taken like an afternoon tea, together with biscuits. Except Caffé al Bicerin takes it to the next level by adding a hazelnut chocolate torte topped with a hefty dollop of cream.
The next destination on our sweet tour of Turin was CremGlasse, a gelateria where we planned to try proper hazelnut gelato. By proper we mean prepared with local hazelnuts that are certified from Piedmont. We wanted to let our palettes register and file this taste into our collection because Piedmont is the home to sustainably grown produce and the Slow Food movement. In other words, supreme quality! CremGlasse has a few branches, all simply adorable and also serving popular breakfast and brunch options hailing from all over Europe.
As we walked around, we stumbled across a spot selling another Turin invention – Pinguino, ice cream on a stick dipped in chocolate. This iconic ice cream can be found throughout the city, but in our opinion, should be enjoyed in the iconic place where it was invented in 1939 – Caffé Pepino. Located on the picturesque Piazza del Carignano, Pepino was actually one of the very first gelaterias in Italy, dating back to 1884! As for the ice cream, it was, of course, divine.
Gianduiotto Coffee and Chocolate
We wrapped up our chocolate tour of Turin by visiting Gianduiotto historic café and chocolate shop. This tiny café houses all of the iconic Turin chocolate creations and even offers a traditional aperitif. But we came here to specifically sample every flavor of their gianduja chocolate, that elite paste that inspired the creation of Nutella. As we sat on the terrace, splitting each chocolate 70 to 30, the shopkeeper kindly brought out yet another form of chocolate for us to try – Cri Cri. Invented in 1886, this Piedmontese chocolate covered hazelnut coated in sprinkles resembled the older cousin of the Ferrero Rocher.
Non-Sugary Things to Do in Turin
If you decided to recreate our DIY Chocolate tour (make sure to let us know in the comments!) you will probably want to walk off the sugar high. Here are some places to visit in Turin that you shouldn’t miss.
Piazza le Monte dei Cappuccini
This 16th century church perched on a hill is one of the best places to visit in Turin. Not just for its history but also the view that opens from the terrace. From here, you can capture the iconic Turin city skyline, featuring Mole Antonelliana and the magnificent Alps on the horizon. The view is truly breathtaking!
The tall spear you see jutting out from the city skyline is Turin’s major landmark and symbol – Mole Antonelliana. With a height of 548 feet tall, this unusual building is a mishmash of architectural styles. It was originally planned to be a synagogue, but that plan was aborted. The building never served its religious purpose, and since Turin is the birthplace of the Italian film industry, the building was repurposed as a National Museum of Cinema. It is topped with an observation deck offering stunning views that you reach by taking a ride in the panoramic elevator.
The Shroud of Turin
The Shroud of Turin is one of the world’s most important artifacts. The cloth dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries and bears a faint print of the face and body that is believed to be of Jesus of Nazareth. Chocolate aside, the shroud is probably Turin’s most popular attraction. Even though you may not get to see the real thing because it’s kept under protection, images of the shroud are displayed in great detail at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, also known as the Cathedral of Turin.
There are, of course, many more things to do in Turin that make it a destination in its own right. But what do you think, is Turin worth visiting? We hope you don’t hesitate to add this city to your Italy bucket list and enjoy everything that Turin is famous for on your next vacation.