Monika Komar fell in love with Northern Italy, here she talks about how you could too.
When you think about Italy the usual top destinations include Rome, Venice or Florence rather than the inconspicuous city of Turin. I do enjoy discovering new places but on my way there I was wishing I was heading to Rome instead. Turin just didn’t seem that exciting. To my surprise a month spent in the north of Italy made me really fall for this place.
Turin is said to be one of the cultural centres of the country. The city is not too big yet it offers a wide range of fun activities. There are some really great museums there such as the Cinema Museum, the Egyptian Museum or my personal favourite the Car Museum. Turin is the cradle of Fiat, and the exhibition presents its different models, but the Fiat factory is almost entirely out of use now due to the crisis.
To spend a nice day outside it’s best to visit the central part of the town. There is a river there where it’s possible to row in and a big Valentino Park perfect for jogging. On summer nights young people gather in Valentino to drink before heading to clubs.
The centre is exactly what you can expect from an Italian town: gorgeous buildings, buzzy squares, cobblestone streets… You can spend hours sitting in one of the little cafes sipping good espresso and gorging yourself with homemade tiramisu whilst observing the Italians doing their things.
Most of them go away for a holiday in July and August and many shops are temporarily closed at the time. The weather in the northern Italy is much better than what we call summer in Britain yet the northerners like to head to the south for a week or two to get even more sunshine. They also like to grasp some fresh air outside the noisy city on weekends. Many people go to their cottages in the countryside or take a ride a bit up north. Turin is the capital of the Piedmont region and is surrounded by the Alps which make a fantastic weekend getaway. There are plenty of ski resorts and nice little villages, and it takes only about 2 hours by car to reach France. The Alps are gorgeous and if you are not a very skilled skier like me it is really worth it to visit the area in summer. The landscape is breath-taking and there are plenty of cute little restaurants where you can stop by for a crepe or some mountain cheese. No better plan for a Sunday if you ask me!
On the top of it, I found the people in Turin extremely friendly. Working as an au-pair I had a chance to meet the friends and relatives of ‘my’ family which was a great experience. Everyone made me feel very welcome and tried to help me overcome the language barrier.
As an au-pair I had a chance to see Turin from the point of view of the local people and as a tourist at the same time. What I found there was much more than I had expected. A beautiful city, lovely people and delicious food. Turin might not have the beauty of Rome or the sun of Sicily but it definitely does make a gorgeous holiday destination in the summer – or probably any other season.