Catching the direct FrecceRosso train to Torino was straightforward, and the helpful TrenItalia app on which I had purchased and stored the tickets showed the appropriate train number and platform to head for.
For those readers who are cyclists, you may be wondering how we managed our luggage for our onward journey. Our two larger rear panniers had a special backpack attachment so that they could easily be used as small rucksacks…. and our two small front panniers had an easily attached shoulder strap for ease of carrying.
Our arrival in Torino coincided with lunchtime, so we headed for a convenient park near the Porta Sousa station to enjoy our picnic in the sun.
We then were able to check in with our airbnb hosts at their flat to sort ourselves out and plan how we were best going to use our time in Torino. This included purchasing a €4 euro daily travel card at a nearby ‘tabacchi’ for bus, metro and tram.
Our hosts were lovely and gave us some good advice about where to go and what to look at.
We had a lovely riverside walk down the Po, not far from our apartment, and there we encountered a recreation of a rural medieval village that had been built as an educational and tourist resource. Although it was a 19th century construction it was nevertheless quite atmospheric.
Afterwards we walked up to a good vantage point at a museum up one of the hills overlooking the city as suggested by our airbnb hosts.
Walking back down, we headed for the striking building that is now the Turin photographic and film museum ‘Il Mole Antonelliana’.
Bizarrely, it was originally conceived as a synagogue when building commenced in 1863 but just 70 years later it was acquired by the city and used as the ‘Museo di Risorgimento’ telling the story of the creation of the Modern Italian state . In the early 2000’s it was refurbished again and then turned into the Museum of Cinema and Photography.
We then headed off to the Central Makets to buy our lunch provsions. Our objective was a to buy a large tomato, some cheese and possibly some fruit.
Little did we know that the traders expected you to buy somewhat larger quantities than we wanted. So, we ended up with 2 smallish cucumbers for €1 (starting off with 4!), 2 bunches of spring onions for 50 cents (starting off at 4 bunches), 4 tomatoes for €1.50 (starting off with 1kg!) and 500g of strawberies for €2 and half a local cheese (we wanted just 200g and got 500g!) for just €4.50. Amazing prices for such good quality fresh produce but it produced a bit of a logistical challenge for carrying.
Then off to the Roman Gardens, with some of the remains of structures from Roman times still visible to have our lunch in the shade. Molly then had to travel back to the apartment to deliver her workshop (arranged whilst we were on the ferry to Bilbao!). Meanwhile I went to the Museo di Risorgimento, now housed in another grand building not far from the Royal Palace.
After delivering her workshop we arranged to meet at the Royal Palace, a very grand collection of buildings that are perhaps the Crown Jewels of Turin. It included the Royal Palace buildings, chapel of the Shroud of Turin as well as the Armoury and some very pleasant gardens to the rear. Although it was closing at 7pm and we thought that it may just be worth the €15 entrance fee from 5.45pm.
Well, one could call the Royal Palace the Palace of Bling, since there were huge amounts of ornate gold gilded woodwork and plaster, tapestries and huge paintings in a long series of galleries and rooms. We walked swiftly through the Armoury with its large and historic collection of suits of armour for horses and humans, together with early examples of pistols, muskets and rifles and then to the Chapel. The Chapel of the shroud was fabulous and well worth the visit… and then we were able to briefly explore the formal gardens before the sirens were sounded, announcing closing time.
Once out of the Palace complex we bimbled through the streets and came upon a straightforward pizza restaurant, that was, fortunately, able to oblige with a delicious gluten free pizza for me and a splendid gluten full version for Molly. After the complimentary Limoncello we then just had to find a gelateria to finish the meal off in true Italian style!
Tomorrow, onwards to Liguria by train, to visit Molly’s friends Liz and Shane who live in a lovely little village called Rezzo some 650mtrs up above sea level, nestling attractively amongst the hills and forests of the Maritime Alps.