The Olympic City of Torino, Italy

The church of Gran Madre di Dio

The church of Gran Madre di Dio

The 2006 Winter Olympics put Torino (Turin in English) on the map. Before that, nobody had heard of it, which is unfortunate, because it’s a beautiful little city that punches above its weight.

Columns are everywhere in Torino

Columns are everywhere in Torino

While being considerably smaller than Milano, it offers more in the way of architecture and classic Italian style than it’s larger counterpart. Situated along the Po river and surrounded by hills and mountains on all sides, Torino’s natural beauty rivals any European city.

The architecture is great too.

Mole Antonelliana

Mole Antonelliana

The city’s landmark building is the Mole Antonelliana. Built atop of a synagogue, the tower is visible throughout the city and can be used as an orientation point.

Torino boasts its share of incredible churches, some dating back to the 15th century. The Neo-classical church of Gran Madre di Dio  (featured in the top photo) was built in 1831. The Duomo di Torino was (photo below) was built between 1491–1498.

Duomo di Torino

Duomo di Torino

One stop I made was Cafe Fiorio. It’s been open since 1780, it’s been a home to intellectuals throughout Torino’s history. Mark Twain and Herman Melville were frequent clients along with many eminent politicians.

Cafe Fiorio

Cafe Fiorio

Getting around Torino is easy. The city streets are laid out in a grid, instead of the twisting and turning side-streets typical of many European cities. Most of the main sites are all in the downtown core, which is easily walkable. There is a comprehensive bus and tram network that crisscrosses the town and the new Metro, built for the 2006 Olympics is also an option.

A peaceful city buried in the mountains, Torino is a fantastic place to relax and live life at a slower pace. For the tired traveler, it provides a wonderful opportunity to recharge and recuperate before moving on to a busier city, be it Milano, Rome or somewhere else.

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