Tag: Italian food

6 Must Do Things in Torino

Torino (or Turin in English) is located in the north west of Italy in the Piemonte region.  Originally the capital of Italy, it’s an elegant and grand city made up of wide boulevards, sweeping plazas and old marble arcades.  It feels less touristy than Italy’s other major cities and spending a day or two strolling around allows you to observe city life and local Italian customs without the heavy crowds of Rome or Venice.

I have visited Torino twice, both times with visiting friends and family, and found I fell in love instantly with the compelling mix of culture, architecture, restaurants and wine bars.  Located 120km from Milan it’s possible to arrive in under an hour on the fast train so makes the perfect place for a day trip.  Here are my 6 must-do’s while visiting Torino…

Visiting Torino - 6 Must Do Things

1 – Try some Chocolate from a Traditional Chocolate Cafe.

The Piemonte region is famous for growing hazelnuts and a result of this is they make really incredible chocolate! Torino city center is full of traditional chocolate shops and cafes, all of which have inviting counters displaying hand-made chocolate and treats.

2 – Take the Lift Up the Mole Antonelliana & Admire the City Views.

You can’t miss the beautiful and unusual architecture of the Mole Antonelliana towering above the city skyline.  Taking the lift up to the top of the tower allows you to admire the architecture up close and gives you panoramic views of the city below.

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3 – Visit the Film Museum.

Inside the building of the Mole Antonelliana is the Torino Film Museum.  One of the coolest museums I have visited in Italy, the museum features exhibits on cameras through the ages, optical illusions, famous film sets, movie props and 3D cinema.  It feels really crazy and as you walk through the rooms you don’t know what you might find next.

4 – See Mummies at the Egyptian Museum.

Torino also has the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts outside of Cairo housed in the Egyptian Museum.  See ancient Mummies, Sarcophagus, painted tombs, royal jewellery and even a Sphinx!

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5 – Stroll Through the Widest Plaza in Europe.

Torino’s ‘Piazza Vittorio Veneta’ is the widest plaza in Europe, with wide boulevards stretching between marble archways, elegant shop fronts and open air cafes.  The plaza finishes by opening up onto the banks of the River Po.  Take a walk around the plaza and finish up on the river where you can walk across the bridge and enter the beautiful church on the other side.

6 – Have Dinner in a Local Trattoria.

The Piemonte region is famous for being one of the best regions in Italy for food.  So make sure to eat in a little ‘trattoria’ – a simple style restaurant serving up local dishes from the region.  These places are frequented by locals and have menus based on the season so you are sure to try some authentic Italian cuisine.

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Secret Milan – Shopping in Milan’s ‘Porta Ticinese’ District…

One of my favourite things about living in Milan is that the city has so many different neighbourhoods for shopping.  From the ultra-chic Via Montenapoleone, to the artsy boutiques in Brera, and the high-street stores in San Babila.  There are so many cool districts to explore and amazing shops to discover.

Last week I decided to head down to the south of the city and check out the cool/underground street Porta Ticinese.  This is my favourite neighbourhood for shopping in Milan, so I try to head down here as often as I can.  Porta Ticinese is a collection of vintage shops, cool foodie places and urban boutiques. Lots of the shops here are pop-up’s and the collections sold are limited edition, so every time you visit you never know what cool things you might find.

The street starts in a piazza lined with old Roman Columns and runs all the way down to the two long canals of Porta Genova.  When visiting, I love to start at the piazza and finish up on the canals for a bite to eat – post shopping.

Last week I found so many cool clothes and new things going on here and so I have decided to share my discoveries with you.  Hopefully when you visit you will love it as much as me…

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(colourful bikini’s at Individuals)

For Fashion

Cetang. Recently opened concept store Cetang sells a cute selection of clothing and jewellery from cool, young designers.  The shop is all white and decorated with pretty green plants so even just walking around is relaxing and fun.

Everyday Milano.  This new store has an ‘& Other Stories’ type vibe with an on-trend, fashionable collection at really good prices.  I think its great for when you want to buy something high-street but don’t want to end up wearing the same dress as everybody else.

Individuals. A little bit past Porta Ticinese street but definitely worth the walk if you love bikinis like me.  The swimwear is handmade by the shop owner out of brightly coloured and patterned fabrics. They also have a really cute collection on lingerie and leotards.  

For Vintage

Lo Specchio di Alice. This vintage shop sells an amazing selection of Levi jeans, baseball jackets, Dr Martins and has a beautiful collection of vintage bags.  I almost always buy something when I pass by because they always have cool finds and the prices are really great.

Groupies. Located right at the start of Porta Ticinese, this vintage shop is amazing for finding unique and eccentric pieces without a crazy price-tag.  The girls that run the store are super nice and always want to show off the newest stuff they have in.

Serendeepity. Check out the first floor for a super cool selection of magazines, books and vinyl records and then head downstairs to find a curated collection of vintages dresses, suits, coats and accessories.

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(graphic street art near the canals)

For Accessories

Yobe. For super stylish eyewear check out the selection of frames at Yobe.  Their selection of sunglasses and reading glasses are so cool and sold in amazing colours and shapes.  You can even get your eyes tested on site to find your perfect pair of frames.

Stiu Shoes. Absolutely my favourite shop in the whole of Milan! Every time I go in here I have to stop myself from buying the whole store! The shoes are all locally produced from Italian leather and are made in classic styles but with a modern twist.  Think summer sandals with a chunky platform or winter boots in metallic shades. So cool!

Cult.  Another really cool place if you love shoes as much as me! Cult sells a cool collection of masculine style flats like lace up boots and chunky brogues.  Great pieces for when you want to rock the androgynous look while being stylish and comfortable.

For Food

I Love Vegetarian. For healthy smoothies and organic snacks this place is the perfect pit-stop.

Natural Bakery. Found down a little side street this bakery sells an amazing selection or organic breads, cakes and pastries.  Grab some yummy treats to take away and then have a little picnic in the nearby park.  I love the spinach and ricotta rolls the most.

Darsena Harbour Food Market.  At the end of the Porta Ticinese street is the newly renovated Darsena Harbour.  It is really pretty to stroll around and sit by the water but also has a really amazing little food market.  Find stalls selling fresh meats and fish, grab a stool and watch the stall owner’s cook up your food right in front of you.  It’s really fun to share lots of small dishes and try lots of Italian food.

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(cute floating cafes in the Darsena Harbour)

And there you have it my friends… My guide to shopping in Porta Ticinese.  Let me know what cool places your discover there in the comments below…

For more of my european shopping guides check out my Guide to Amsterdam’s Nine Streets…

Secret Milan – Slow Food at Mercato Metropolitano

We are still feeling a little bit in holiday mode over here in Milan right now, so this weekend when it was sunny and warm, we decided to make the most of the nice weather and spend the day in the city.

Since the coming of the Expo, Milan has received a bit of a make-over and lots of the urban areas have been reconstructed and made into public zones, parks and shopping areas.  On Sunday we decided to head over to Porta Genova, in the South of the city, to check out the new slow food market ‘Mercato Metropolitano’.

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The market is located alongside the railway tracks and built-in and out of the old bridges and railway arches.  In an area around 15,000 sqm, the market has a collection of interesting stalls set up by local producers and street food establishments, both emerging and from known cafes around Milan.  The concept of the market supports small businesses from the Milan area and the use of organic or locally grown ingredients.

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Walking around the market was a fun experience in itself.  Stalls are brightly decorated and have an interesting selection of food to try, both international and typical foods from the different Italian regions.  The chill-out sofas dotted around the market are made from upcycled vegetable crates and recycled pots growing herbs and flowers gives the place an urban-garden feel.

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Inside the railway arches there is an organic supermarket selling a huge selection of fruits and vegetables, biological wines and beers and freshly made bread and pasta.  There are slow-food related games and activities for children to play, giant-sized football tables and even an open-air cinema where film screenings and seminars are held around the topic of sustainable foods.

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The market is open everyday for a late breakfast, lunch or dinner and I highly recommend you passing by.  It is so much fun and a great place to try lots of yummy Italian food.

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