Thursday, September 15, 2016

Reine's taste of Turin

Today we are sharing our friend Reine's guest post about her recent visit here in Turin and her fun itinerary!
Be warned: you'll want to follow her steps soon:D

Reine Dugas Bouton teaches English at Southeastern Louisiana University.  She has taken students to Italy for summer study abroad for ten years and has published academic writing, fiction, and nonfiction. She documents her travels on her blog and Twitter account. 
She lives in New Orleans with her son, and her dog and cat too.

A Taste of Turin

Well there are the places you know about—Venice, Rome, Milan—and there are the ones you may not, like one of my favorites—Bologna. Well, I discovered another last month. A city that’s tucked away in the northwest corner of Italy, not a mainstay of tourists and certainly not on the itinerary of most first-time visitors to this country. It’s a place without any world famous monuments or iconic connections. It’s one of those secret places that’s got everything I like—beautiful architecture, amazing food, great energy, outdoor films, and cool people. 

Turin. Located in the Piedmont region, Turin is a city that the second you get there, you just love it. 

My son and I went for the weekend and when we got off of the train at the Porta Susa and found our way to the Mercato Metropolitano, we felt instantly at home. He had a salami and prosciutto sandwich, I had a sausage and mushroom pizza drizzled with truffle oil, and in no time, we both had big smiles on our faces. 

We headed straight to the Cinema Museum, which is quirky and cool—set in the Mole Antonelliana. A winding walkway will lead you around to see exhibits like Superman’s cape or Fellini’s hat and scarf. There’s a poster collection and a large viewing area with these crazy comfy chairs to lean back and take in a bit of a show. Loved it. Came away with an incredibly heavy Taxi Driver book from the gift shop (my son doesn’t get traveling light is the name of the game). 

Other highlights included an outdoor film festival. Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times was playing when we were there. Nothing better than watching an old film at night, under the stars in the Palazzo Reale. For my son, however, his favorite part was visiting the Juventus stadium. A big fan for a long time, he’d wanted to come to Turin just to see this. Of course, he would’ve liked to see them play, but touring the stadium and the museum was the next best thing. 

Before we left, we stopped in at the MAO, the Museo d’Arte Orientale. A small museum with a peaceful Zen garden, it had a Beatles exhibit, Nothing is Real, from the time they visited India. George Harrison’s guitar and John Lennon’s coat were a few objects on display. 

Other than that, mostly what we did was walk around and eat. Happily. The streets aren’t littered with tourist-y things for sale or large groups of people. Turin is a city where people live (if you’ve been to a place like this, you know what I mean). There are porticos and traffic-free streets where you can wander in the evening for passeggiata. You can stop for an aperitivo at one of the many bars, which have, of course, a variety of food like salami, cheese, pizza, olives, and other delicious snacks to tide you over to dinner. 

Or maybe you need a pick me up, so an espresso is more like it. This is a cafĂ© city with little neighborhood spots or more elaborate, older cafes—I can’t tell you how many cappuccinos and espressos I had in one weekend, each of them more tasty than the next.

Known as one of the food capitals of Italy, this is a place you must eat your way through. Bologna is also called a food capital, which is maybe why I like both of these places so much, I’m guessing… The food was really exceptional. 

From the amarena (cherry) and chocolate gelato I had to the grilled octopus and potato my son ordered, every bite was heaven. Let’s see, we had spinach ravioli, steak and potatoes, linguini and clams, bruschetta, pasta with saffron, tomato, and clams, and I can’t even remember what else. We ate. A lot.  I can’t even remember everything—I just know we ended the trip with a Bicerin, the hot coffee and chocolate drink topped with thick, cool cream and a side of cookies. Yup, we rolled our way out of that delicious city.

There’s something about this place and I’m not even sure how to describe it. It was fun and all I wanted to do was explore every second I had. And eat, of course. Every free moment, I was out and about, walking around. My son and I have been to a fair amount of places and sometimes we’re just like, eh, it’s ok. But Turin, the moment we stepped foot in the city, we loved it. I’m sure we’ll return. Even though we were only there for a weekend, a taste, I’m sure we’ll return for a longer stay, and hopefully sooner rather than later.

text and pictures

Reine Dugas Bouton

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