Ok, ok, I apologize for my terrible joke, but in all honesty, Torino takes the cake. Last week/end we went up to the city in the far north for a few days. And after the nearly five hour train ride which began and 6:45am (I was a cheerful peach, let me tell you), we were practically mugged by the general awesomeness that is Turin. First: the place is lovely and there are fall leaves, which there is not much of here in ol’Roma:
Second, the public transport seems to work pretty smoothly and reliably. Third they have this thing:
Which is the Mole Antonelliana, originally meant to be a synagogue, but now a fairly awesome museum of cinema and with an excellent viewing platform accessible through their relatively cheap ascensore panoramico:
And wait, what’s that up there in the photo, beyond the lovely city? Those are the ALPS for crying out loud! So the proximity to the Alps would definitely be the fourth reason Torino assaults you with its awesomeness. We went up the Mole Antonelliana first thing, and we were thrilled and marveled at the fact that the biggest tourist attraction in Turin had NO LINE and NO WAIT and we nearly had the viewing platform to ourselves. We followed that up by a truly delicious lunch. I haven’t done much restaurant recommending on this site, which is strange considering my all-consuming obsession with eating, but if you ever go to Torino go to Porta di Savona (Piazza Vittoria Veneto, 2). It’s not fancy, but it’s soso good. Make sure to order the agnolotti al sugo and then go home to take a nap. But no naps were in store for us, despite our earlyearly train, because I had sightseeing plans. My dear companion in his generosity let me run the planning show when it came to our visit to Turin, so when I suggested “let’s go up to the Superga!” right after lunch, when we had barely been in the city for an hour, he hardly batted an eye.
Most guidebooks don’t recommend the Superga unless you’re going to be in Turin for about a week, but I say, go the first day. Because the views from the Mole Antonelliana were nice, but the views from the Superga are even better. What’s that you ask? What is the Superga? No, no not shoes. It’s a church high, high, high up on a foothill above Turin built in the 18th century by Juvarra for the reigning Savoy monarchs. It is not ugly:
The Superga has a lot of history, not least of all an airplane crash into its hill killing much of Italy’s national soccer team in 1949 (for which there is still an active memorial, with fresh flowers at the back of the structure), but less grisly and more enchanting are the views from this lovely church:
Because it was near dusk, it was hazy, but you could see the mountains and the rivers and even the spire of the Mole rising into the haze. And the Superga didn’t disappoint with its fall foliage either:
So, much of our first day was spent admiring the loveliness of the city and its surrounds. After dinner (which yes, involved more agnolotti al sugo, I’m pretty much obsessed) I was more than happy to tumble into bed. Although I was also very excited for the adventures to come the next day…