Italy - Turin

by David Sutcliffe

To be honest the only reason I chose Turin as a city break destination was that Ryanair were doing flights for just 1p each way!  I persuaded my wife with the less than honest "it'll be cheaper than staying at home" argument and we were off.

I had been to Milan, but my knowledge of this other northern Italian city was limited to knowing that the Shroud of Turin was there, that Fiat cars came from there and that Juventus football club was located there.  I was expecting little......

Turin, however, is a very elegant city with enough museums, restaurants and beautiful public areas to keep one amused for a few days.  My personal favourite attraction was the Mole Antonelliana (pictured above).  The original purpose of this building is not known for sure, but today it hosts the National Cinema Museum ("mmmm Sophia Loren"), has a wonderful café and, after ascending in a glass lift which appears to be floating in mid air, some stunning views of the city, the River Po and the Alps in the distance.

Turin's holy shroud is located in a rather unimpressive looking church behind the city's main square.  Don't, however, expect to see the original - that only comes out on very special occasions (the last time was in 2000).  What you will see is a copy together with a detailed history of the supposed origins of the linen cloth.  The official story is that it was brought back from the Hold Land by a crusader and given to a French aristocrat from the House of Savoy, when the aristocratic family moved from Chambery to Turin the shroud came with them and was given pride of place in the Duomo.

The shopping is as you would expect in Italy and the place to head for is the Via Roma.  As well as fashion, Turin is famous throughout Italy for it's chocolate, so make sure you have extra space in your luggage for the return flight.

If you are at all interested in cars you can (as I did) stay in the converted Fiat factory - now a 5 star hotel on the outskirts of Turin.

There are several other Italian cities which you would consider before Turin, but don't write it off completely.  It does make for a very enjoyable weekend.