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 πŸ˜‚

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

So, if you ever wish to escape your daily life and jump into a fairy tale, living in a different dimension, plan your Holidays in Turin and live your dolce vita dream πŸ˜‡
After booking a restaurant for your customary Italian big Christmas lunch on December 25th you can actually relax.
Keep in mind that on December 24th our shops close early and the majority of Italians still enjoy shopping personally and not ordering online.
This is actually very healthy and savvy as it is a very cheap way to burn all the panettone, pandoro, hot chocolate with whipped cream calories when doing our Christmas marketing research along the downtown shops and in the mall stores. And the marketing research keeps our balances in check in a very easy way πŸ˜‰ In fact, in the old world and particularly on the continent, we don't like to accumulate debts and our saving instincts are still very much alive.

The best presents are universally the one of a kind, artisan pieces, particularly luxury foods, because they represent a special treat we wouldn't splurge on ourselves.
This makes of Turin the best place to be in given that Slow Food, artisan, sustainable, locally and seasonally made in tiny quantities, read: high quality is branded in our soul and lifestyle. Basically made by the fairies is what locals go for when looking for a special gift and this is why many deli shops and even some coffee shops sell a wide range of top Piedmont cheeses and lunch meats, wines, cookies, cakes, Turin chocolates, pralines and marrons glacΓ©s, up to Alpine butters, breads, vermouths and herb liqueurs.
All in one place?? Latteria Bera, ask for Chiara aka LA FATA or the fairy. She organizes tastings too.

A key word here is 'cesto' or basket as Italians love to give a basket of goodies especially to the professionals they collaborate with. But if you are visiting... Why not composing your own? Hunting down around Turin for the delicacies your crave back at home?
Some unique ideas include: the balsamic vinegar golfball to grate over your savory and sweet dishes, any Piedmontese craft beer and the Piedmont native Madernassa pear hard-cider.

If kids are on your list too, you will notice lots of old ladies flying on a broomstick and stockings hanging in the shop windows and coffee shops. That's La Befana, she comes on January 6th and her stocking is full of sweets and sugar coal depending on how you behaved over the past year.

Latteria Bera: the historic magic emporium for all foodies!!

Because Italians are very fashion conscious and they always like to make a good impression, dressing up is first and foremost our personal pleasure. And yes, in Turin we do dress up to go groceries too!
Anything made of a refined fabric, from silk to cashmere, or even 100% wool will impress and make anyone happy. Remember that Ermenegildo Zegna is from Piedmont and Biella is the Italian cashmere hub...  In case, on January 7th the winter sales officially start and many stores already make some discounts starting right after Christmas...

Looking for antique and vintage pieces, like jewelry, accessories? Mark down the 2nd Sunday of each month at the Balon vintage market (behind the Porta Palazzo market) or in one of the many other artisan, vintage markets and shops around Turin.

Turin ceramist Stefania Mairano in her workshop wearing some of her creations and showing our  custom-made lamp

Keep in mind we really do have many local artists in Torino who will customize virtually anything, like our ceramic friend, Stefania Mairano. All they need is time to physically make what you have in mind. So we suggest you get in touch with them prior your departure. Naturally this applies to goldsmiths and fashion designers too.

Turin though is also perfect for the art, we have a gorgeous royal theater called Teatro Regio, where you can treat yourself to a magic opera, classical music concert or a ballet. Look up at the calendar and buy your tickets online here. Surely, after coming to Turin once, you'll crave to come more and more!! And all the shows at Teatro Regio are among the best in the world 😎

Palazzo Carignano: 1st Italian parliament in the front, Museo del Risorgimento on the back. Egyptian museum to its right

The same applies to our many awesome museums, so you may want to invest in a museum card that will allow you to skip the long lines especially during the Italian national days when 'the whole boot' travels to Turin. To be fair, this card is valid 1 full year in both Piedmont and Valle D'Aosta regions, this translates into plenty of castles and lots of exhibits and collections. It is particularly worth it for many visits, because if you stay only 3 days, then you can just get a 3 day bus+museum card which is cheaper.

Homesick? Libreria Luxenburg (Piazza Carignano) has also international newspapers, mags, books in many languages

And finally, if you are learning Italian or know somebody who is studying it, get them a book!! In all their shapes and genres, books make for our most loyal friends 😍 and Turin has many independent small bookshops as well as large bookstores. A Turin coffee table book or a tour guide always make a great gift to share something you love.
Cooking classes and tastings are also a new idea that is quickly becoming more and more popular because it allows you to share it with your family and friends. Some schools may close down over the Holiday season but all tastings can surely be arranged during the Holidays too.

our advent calendar in Piazza San Carlo

Whenever you decide to come over, Turin will welcome you like an old friend and you will leave wishing  to come back soon!

Count on us to experience Torino like a local and get to know her well. For your tours, tastings, classes, shopping, and mindfulness moments πŸ™, e-mail Lucia:


  1. I'm dying when I see your stories on IG! So unfair that you have so many wonderful treats, lights, food, and more...and that ADVENT CALENDAR!!! Enjoy and maybe I'll be there in December one year (I know if will be cooler than June! haha!)

    1. Believe it or not, this past X-mas we had strong winds blowing 110km/h and 18C/70F. so far it hasn't been a cold winter but def it is cooler than in the June heatwave!