Friday, January 17, 2020

Mardi Gras season

In Turin though every season is a great season to visit and currently, we are in full Mardi Gras season aka il carnevale 😆
The Italian Holidays officially end on January 6th and that's exactly when in Piedmont we announce the beginning of the Carnival weeks. This is a traditional Roman Catholic celebration that officially ends on Mardi Gras or Martedì Grasso as the local say.

Coffee shop and pasticceria Tamborini, Via Garibaldi 31

January and February are also the coldest months in Turin and Piedmont: usually between the end of January and the beginning of February we have the heaviest snow days. Most definitely if you ski, this is the time to take advantage of all our many Olympic ski resorts and ski tracks on the Alps surrounding Turin.

So what do the locals do during these two months?

In Turin you can always find:

MAO has the largest collection of Asia Art in Italy, Via San Domenico 11

Early January is for the winter sales, as the sale seasons are regulated by the Italian government, this is a big event all over the boot! The ski week is in February, some years it coincides with Mardi Gras, but as Martedì Grasso is set 40 days before Easter, its date is different every year, thus the ski week tends to be around V-day. 
As Turin is a multicultural city, we also have some little celebrations for the (Chinese) Lunar New Year: a dragon dance, decorations with the new year animal, official events take place at MAO or Museum of Asian Art and if you eat at Chen Lon's, in Via Principe D'Acaja 35H, you will find a special Lunar New Year menu 🙆

the 2019 decorations for the year of Pig in the University of Turin courtyard, est. in 1404!

To native Italians though Carnevale is really a synonym of costumes and fritters. Click here for our  fritter recipe, wine pairings and pictures.

Since traditionally Italy doesn't have a Halloween, this is the time of the year to wear a costume and make jokes before repenting and purging all our sins for 40 days before Easter.
Costume parties are organized everywhere from kindergartens to offices and many people love making their own costumes. The streets are happily covered in colorful confettis and streamers that you will also find in many shop windows on top of masks.

Like any other Italian city, since the 1500, Turin has her own Carnival characters: Gianduia and Giacometta, his girlfriend.
So locally we have our own candy: caramella Gianduia - available only during the Mardi Gras season!! Bring it back home as a great local souvenir for you won't find it anywhere else!

Via San Tommaso

In Ivrea, about 40 minutes driving north from Turin and connected by train too, the oldest Italian Carnival celebration takes place every week up to Mardi Gras 😎 Click here for the official calendar.
This Carnival celebration is unique because it is the only one with a plot blending historical facts of different centuries of the local history, whose protagonist is a heroine 👸, gorgeous costumes and rough orange battle!
Yes, read it correctly: in Ivrea, Piedmont, the locals divide into teams aboard chariots and on the ground and they fiercely throw each other oranges 😂 Unless you want to be hit by one, don't forget to wear your traditional red Phrygian cap!

The orange battle in Ivrea, photo courtesy of Valerio Minato 

As you are in the area, you just can't miss the local specialties and the fairy tale wine: Erbaluce di Caluso DOCG the only Italian wine that awarded a DOCG certification for all its variants!!
Unfortunately, as the recipe of Torta 900 is a secret of Pasticceria Balla that you must visit, you can certainly make up for it at home with this recipe of the Ivrea cookies.

Valentine's Day falls during the Mardi Gras season as well and what a better place to celebrate than Turin: the chocolate capital of Europe since 1600??!
Following Marc Antony's steps when he seduced Cleopatra, we highly rec you pair your Turin chocolate with a great bottle of aprhodisiac Brachetto D'Acqui DOCG. The terroir of this aromatic wine will enhance the high quality of our locally produced chocolate.

Mardi Gras fritters are sold in bakeries too, this one is in Via Cibrario 

Turin and Piedmont always give you many excuses to visit all year long and no matter the month, you will always experience a different side of our local life!
Allow yourselves 5 days to get to know Turin plus extra days on the mountains and for the Carnevale in Ivrea!

To add one of our private tours, tastings or classes, e-mail Lucia:

Friday, December 27, 2019

the new year in Turin

Ideally the Holidays in Turin should last at least 2 weeks from around December 21st to January 7th to have enough time to do some Christmas shopping and organizing some days. Always consider that on the holidays and national days, most Italian businesses and museums are closed 😟

As we have already given you a preview of our very own Turin Christmas this post is about the days that straddle the old and the new year with a link to La Befana day aka January 6th, nobody would want to miss her, right?

in a downtown 18th century palazzo courtyard

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Turin Holidays

Up here in Torino we get into our understated 'Holiday mood' on November 1st when, since 1998, we light up our luci d'artista - the open air art installations made of lights designed by 25 local artists. Understatement is a key word here because the Turinese dread 'like plague' (yes, that bad!) the showing off and boasting of the nouveau riches 😳 that have no manners 😂

Piazza Castello, one of our Christmas markets is on  the left

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Winter lights

Living in the Mediterranean area means that starting in November our day light hours get shorter and it gets dark earlier. Since 1998, in Turin, we have an artsy tradition to light up out streets and piazzas all around downtown: Luci d'Artista.

the Roman Palatine Doors or Porte Palatine in 2015: 'vento solare' or solar wind

Monday, November 11, 2019

pumpkin galore

October and November in Turin are the months of the pumpkin but no matter when pumpkin season is where you live, whether you celebrate Thanksgiving Day or you just like its flavor, do it like us and make one of these amazing recipes of ours. You'll surprise and entice your family and friends and most definitely, you'll gratify yourselves 😋

Porta Palazzo market: the farmers' section

Thursday, October 24, 2019

galleria Lux

One of Milan's symbols is their one and only galleria near the Duomo, Turin on her hand can brag about her beautiful 3 super gallerias: Galleria Umberto I near the Porta Palazzo market, in the Roman Quadrilatero area, Galleria Subalpina in Piazza Castello between Caffé Mulassano and Caffé Baratti Milano, two royal coffee shops and Galleria San Federico in Via Roma!

Lucia Hannau, photo by Alberto Bonis

Thursday, October 10, 2019

ginger carrot gnocchi

Fall is the best time to get back to the kitchen and cook, and what's more therapeutic than working with your hands? What gives you more satisfaction than something you can share with your family and friends and that you can make into a large batch and freeze to keep handy for any occasion and impromptu feast?
Our answer is gnocchi!! 🙆