A rainy (ok, downpour) morning as we awoke from our last morning in Asti and made our way to our final destination for the trip, Torino. Due to the weather (and exhaustion) we slept through not one but two trains before we finally packed up and departed. We arrived in Tornio around 9:30AM and dropped our bags off at Hotel Roma before beginning our exploration of Torino.
Breakfast: Cafe Al Bicerin
As the rain began to subside, we strolled the streets admiring the many stores that adorned with magnificent architecture. Our first stop was Cafe Al Bicerin, which is one of the oldest cafes in the city. Kevin ordered the bicerin- a coffee and chocolate drink special to Torino- and I ordered a cold hot chocolate- equivalent to drinking liquid bitter chocolate. I have to say, my beverage proved to be a bit of a challenge to drink and that is coming from a chocoholic- it was a large portion and quite bitter! In addition to some biscotti, we splurged by splitting a chocolate grilled sandwich- totally delicious!
Since we crossed most of the city to get to Cafe Al Bicerin, we were well positioned to explore. We popped into a few nearby churches, one of which showcased one of Jesus’ shrouds.
The Egyptian museum (Museo Egizio) was one of the most well rated activities in Tornio so while we it may not have been our first choice on a sunny day, it was the perfect indoor activity while the rain continued to fall. The map was shockingly huge- we had no idea the museum was this large! In addition to the map, the admission includes an audio guide and it proved to be essential in appreciating the details throughout the exhibits. Over the next several hours we explored more Egyptian artifacts then we ever knew existed- this museum is the largest single collection in the world!
Lunch: Focacceria Gran Torino
We stayed in the museum just long enough for the rain to finally let up so we went back to walking the streets of Tornio. We grabbed a quick snack at Focacceria Tipica Ligure for freshly made focaccia bread- I had cheese and prosciutto while Kevin had artichokes- so tasty!
As the sun began to break through the clouds, we made our way to the highest point of Tornio at the top of a hill where Santa Maria del Monte sits and while it was quite a steep walk, the reward of a massive panoramic view of the city was well worth it.
On our way back down into the city, we stopped into one of the classic chocolate shops decorated with gold and hundreds of chocolate morsels. Torino is well known for their chocolates, particularly the milk chocolate hazelnut, so it is hard to resist when these shops are everywhere.
Dinner: Ristorante Monferato
We headed back to the hotel to check in and I have to say after a very long day of walking and coming to an end of the two week adventure, we were tired. I was tempted to convince Kevin that dinner across town was too far and we should stay local for a quick bite and sleep- very boring of me! The place we picked for dinner looked lovely and was so well reviewed it would have been nonsense to skip out the final dinner of our trip. We made the long trek to our final destination, Ristorante Monferato. When we arrived, I was immediately invigorated with energy peeking into the restaurant.
- Typical bread basked for Piedmonte top left
- House special, what I would compare to as a potato salad texture top middle
- Our Barbaresco 2010 bottle of wine top right
- Truffled foie gras middle left
- Tajarin with center
- Gnocchi in a truffle Gorgonzola cream middle right
- Dessert cart bottom left
- Chocolate torte bottom center
- Strawberry panna cotta bottom right
Once at our table, Kevin reviewed the wine menu and ordered a 2010 Barbaresco for the evening- it was extremely delicious. We sampled many Piedmonte wine varietals on this trip and I know Barbaresco became Kevin’s favorite. For an appetizer, we shared the truffle foie gras as we recently became familiar (and a bit obsessed) with foie gras and truffles just make everything better!
My dinner was the traditional pasta of the region, tajarin- a very thin noodle- “tajarin con funghi porcini freschi” = tajarin with fresh mushrooms. On a side note, we were fascinated withe the linguists of the Piedmont region- tajarin does not even closely resemble an italian word! Piedmontese has many unusual characteristics from Italian, mostly due to the close proximity to neighboring countries in north Italy.
Kevin ordered gnocchi in a truffle Gorgonzola cream. Honestly, both these dishes were beyond delicious. We instantly reminded ourselves of how happy we were that we fought the urge to stay in and instead indulge in this amazing last meal on our Italian adventure.
At the conclusion of our entrees, the server rolled out a large cart filled with homemade desserts for us to choose from. I hope he wasn’t annoyed at our indecision since everything looked and smelled incredible, but I have to imagine that he encounters this issue regularly. While I cannot recall each option available to us on the cart, I know that I chose the panna cotta with strawberries and Kevin picked the chocolate hazelnut (not mentioned in the name but impled in Piedmonte- all chocolate is made with hazelnuts!) torte cake, which was full of hazelnuts (Piedmonte loves their hazelnuts!).
With happy and full bellies, we strolled the streets of Torino as we made our way to the hotel for our final sleep in Italy… for now.
One of the final images from Torino. Tiramisu literally means “pick me up” as in the dessert is meant to “pick up you” with the dose of espresso found in it! I could not stop laughin when I noticed this posted sign walking the streets back to our hotel- pick up the dog poo Torino!
For the full Italy itinerary, click here!