March 13, 2018 10

Exploring Turin + the art of the aperitivo!

Exploring Turin, eating gluten-free and the art of the aperitivo.

Exploring Turin | Exploring Turin was full of several aperitivo hours, bottles of Barolo, lots of vermouth and plenty of jazz. The Piemonte cuisine is both refined and cozy, and eating gluten-free in Turin was a breeze. #turinitaly

Views of Piazza San Carlo.


With every trip back to Bologna, Chris and I like to take a trip to an Italian city that we’ve never been to before. Historically we’ve explored a lot of the Emilia-Romagna region. But this trip back, for our five year anniversary, we decided on spending some time exploring Turin. Turin is the capital city of the Piedmont region in northern Italy, nestled just south of the Alps. It’s known for its refined architecture and vibrant cafe culture. And it is where the art of the aperitivo hour really came into its own.

Aperitivo is a social activity preluding a large meal that entails small snacks, spritzes and bubbly wine meant to open up your appetite. Martini vermouth {rosso and bianco}, a typical beverage consumed over ice or as a component in other cocktails was actually born in Turin. Which for some reason seemed really exciting to me. And I drank vermouths many to prove it.

These are my favorite places to eat, to drink, and to see and do while exploring Turin.


W H E R E  T O  E A T


Turin is known for it’s classic Piemonte cuisine. Grissini {breadsticks that I cannot eat, but are my husband’s favorite}, vitello tonnato, bagna càuda, brasato al Barolo and gianduia {the original Nutella} to name just a few. Oh and also, bicerin. A layered hot drink of equal parts espresso, hot chocolate and cream. Which was kind of life-changing. Like, actually.

Caffe San Carlo. Go here for the best bicerin in town and an opulent chandelier and bar experience.

Go to Sapordivino for a cozy, typical Turinese style dinner. From the city center, in pleasant weather, you could walk there. But it’s also a short and cheap taxi ride away. If you need it, ask for the gluten-free menu and be amazed.

We had our most delicious meal at the unpretentious trattoria, Porto di Savona. If you only have one dinner in town, eat here and enjoy super traditional Piemonte food. Also, order yourself a bottle of Barolo. And also, order the Barolo braised pears for dessert. You’ll thank me later.

Panperfocaccia. Not super traditional Piemonte food, but totally celiac-friendly and very, very delicious. If you’re craving pizza {gluten-free} go here.

Tre Galli and Tre Galline. Acclaimed sister restaurants located a block from one another. Make reservations in advance though because they were booked and we unfortunately didn’t have an opportunity to dine there.

Exploring Turin | Exploring Turin was full of several aperitivo hours, bottles of Barolo, lots of vermouth and plenty of jazz. The Piemonte cuisine is both refined and cozy, and eating gluten-free in Turin was a breeze. #turinitaly

The opulent bar at Caffe San Carlo.

Exploring Turin | Exploring Turin was full of several aperitivo hours, bottles of Barolo, lots of vermouth and plenty of jazz. The Piemonte cuisine is both refined and cozy, and eating gluten-free in Turin was a breeze. #turinitaly

Artichoke salad at Caffe San Carlo.

Exploring Turin | Exploring Turin was full of several aperitivo hours, bottles of Barolo, lots of vermouth and plenty of jazz. The Piemonte cuisine is both refined and cozy, and eating gluten-free in Turin was a breeze. #turinitaly

The bicerin at Caffe San Carlo.

Exploring Turin | Exploring Turin was full of several aperitivo hours, bottles of Barolo, lots of vermouth and plenty of jazz. The Piemonte cuisine is both refined and cozy, and eating gluten-free in Turin was a breeze. #turinitaly

Dinner scene at Porto di Savona.


W H E R E  T O D R I N K


Pop into any cafe in Turin around six to seven or eight in the evening and you can expect to be served a proper aperitivo situation. One of my favorite spots was Al Vej Bicerin, a low-key joint with just the right touch.

And Caffe Torino, one of the longest running cafes in Turin that’s a little old school, but definitely worthy of at least one stop in to experience their style of service.

And if you’re looking for a special kind of aperitivo experience, head to Floris House, an odd mix of a bar and a perfume store. Make sure you let them know if you have dietary restrictions, and they’ll happily accommodate your canapés accordingly.

For classic cocktails and speakeasy vibes go to Mad Dog Social Club.

For pizza and jazz and feel good vibes go to Charlie Bird.

Exploring Turin | Exploring Turin was full of several aperitivo hours, bottles of Barolo, lots of vermouth and plenty of jazz. The Piemonte cuisine is both refined and cozy, and eating gluten-free in Turin was a breeze. #turinitaly

The iconic Martini sign outside of Caffe Torino.

Exploring Turin | Exploring Turin was full of several aperitivo hours, bottles of Barolo, lots of vermouth and plenty of jazz. The Piemonte cuisine is both refined and cozy, and eating gluten-free in Turin was a breeze. #turinitaly

Aperitivo at Caffe Torino.

Exploring Turin | Exploring Turin was full of several aperitivo hours, bottles of Barolo, lots of vermouth and plenty of jazz. The Piemonte cuisine is both refined and cozy, and eating gluten-free in Turin was a breeze. #turinitaly

Aperitivo at Floris House.

Exploring Turin | Exploring Turin was full of several aperitivo hours, bottles of Barolo, lots of vermouth and plenty of jazz. The Piemonte cuisine is both refined and cozy, and eating gluten-free in Turin was a breeze. #turinitaly

An Americano martini at Mad Dog Social Club.

Exploring Turin | Exploring Turin was full of several aperitivo hours, bottles of Barolo, lots of vermouth and plenty of jazz. The Piemonte cuisine is both refined and cozy, and eating gluten-free in Turin was a breeze. #turinitaly

Jazz at Mad Dog Social Club.


W H A T  T O  S E E  +  D O


Our stay in Turin was just a few short days. And we definitely will be returning in warmer weather to explore more of the Piedmont region. Mainly, see IE: wine tasting. But while we were there we managed to do and see a lot of things. Here are my top tops.

Basilica di Superga. Even if looking at a striking basicilia on the top of a mountain isn’t your thing, the train to get you there will be. You can drive to the top of the Superga, but I highly recommend taking the Sassi–Superga tramway. Which gives you scenic, panoramic views of the Alps both there and back.

Museo Egizio. I’m particular about museums. I am in generally hesitant to invest a significant amount of my time while on vacation in them. The Museo Egizio is the only museum in the world other than the Cairo Museum that is dedicated solely to Egyptian art and culture. And I was stunned by their collection. It’s a perfect cold weather/rainy day experience.

Mole Antonelliana. The tallest building in Turin, and an essential landmark in its skyline. This building has been many things before, but right now it houses the National Museum of Cinema. And, you can take a lift to the top for scenic views of the city.

Palace of Venaria. This was the number one place on my list to visit while in Turin. But, we actually didn’t have a chance to go. Which in hindsight seems fine, since I think viewing this special place during the summer when everything is in bloom is more appropriate. I will be back for you, Palace of Venaria.

Iside Spa. If you find yourself at the base of the Alps, exploring Turin, in the dead middle of winter, take a spa day at the Hotel Victoria. The Iside Spa is mega-healing, a bit indulgent and all the way pure magic.

Exploring Turin | Exploring Turin was full of several aperitivo hours, bottles of Barolo, lots of vermouth and plenty of jazz. The Piemonte cuisine is both refined and cozy, and eating gluten-free in Turin was a breeze. #turinitaly

Kids running down the stairs at Museo Egizio.

Exploring Turin | Exploring Turin was full of several aperitivo hours, bottles of Barolo, lots of vermouth and plenty of jazz. The Piemonte cuisine is both refined and cozy, and eating gluten-free in Turin was a breeze. #turinitaly

Chris riding the Sassi–Superga.

Exploring Turin | Exploring Turin was full of several aperitivo hours, bottles of Barolo, lots of vermouth and plenty of jazz. The Piemonte cuisine is both refined and cozy, and eating gluten-free in Turin was a breeze. #turinitaly

The Basilica di Superga.

Exploring Turin | Exploring Turin was full of several aperitivo hours, bottles of Barolo, lots of vermouth and plenty of jazz. The Piemonte cuisine is both refined and cozy, and eating gluten-free in Turin was a breeze. #turinitaly

A toret “little bull” drinking fountain.

Exploring Turin | Exploring Turin was full of several aperitivo hours, bottles of Barolo, lots of vermouth and plenty of jazz. The Piemonte cuisine is both refined and cozy, and eating gluten-free in Turin was a breeze. #turinitaly

The Mole Antonelliana in view while riding the Sassi–Superga.

Exploring Turin | Exploring Turin was full of several aperitivo hours, bottles of Barolo, lots of vermouth and plenty of jazz. The Piemonte cuisine is both refined and cozy, and eating gluten-free in Turin was a breeze. #turinitaly

View from the top of the Basilica di Superga.

Exploring Turin | Exploring Turin was full of several aperitivo hours, bottles of Barolo, lots of vermouth and plenty of jazz. The Piemonte cuisine is both refined and cozy, and eating gluten-free in Turin was a breeze. #turinitaly

The Basilica di Superga.

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10 Responses to "Exploring Turin + the art of the aperitivo!"

  1. Reply

    Amanda Paa

    March 14, 2018 at 5:07 PM

    These photos make me long to visit Europe again. Such a beautiful culture. You captured it perfectly and so many great tips for eating!

    • Reply

      Sherrie

      March 14, 2018 at 11:23 PM

      You would love it there, xo.

  2. Reply

    Laura

    March 14, 2018 at 7:20 PM

    Oh thank you for the mini vacation. I just returned from my first and long coveted trip to Italy and it was far and away too short. Another place on my list. Thank you!

    • Reply

      Sherrie

      March 14, 2018 at 11:23 PM

      Haha, you’re welcome, Laura! Yes definitely add this to you next Italy trip list. Piedmont and Turin are musts.

  3. Reply

    Tabitha

    March 14, 2018 at 11:04 PM

    Gorgeous photos!

    • Reply

      Sherrie

      March 14, 2018 at 11:23 PM

      Awe thanks, Tabitha!

  4. Reply

    Sabrina

    April 3, 2018 at 5:46 PM

    Thank you for this post! I have been in the suburbs of Turin, but I didn’t explore it, and I regret that after reading this and taking in your beautiful photos, very inspirational.

    • Reply

      Sherrie

      April 3, 2018 at 10:16 PM

      Hopefully there will be a next time for you, Sabrina! It’s worth it for sure.

  5. Reply

    Ellis Beardsley

    April 10, 2018 at 6:01 PM

    Awe these photos make me miss Torino so badly! I lived there for several months in college and absolutely loved the city. You captured it so well.

    • Reply

      Sherrie

      April 10, 2018 at 8:24 PM

      Thank you, Ellis! What a gorgeous city it is. And what a fantastic opportunity you had to spend time there. I imagine that experience will continue to be impactful for you, xx.

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With Food + Love © 2018 | All photos + words belong to Sherrie Castellano -- they cannot be used or distributed without permission.