City Break – What to Do with Kids in Turin

A city break with kids has its own advantages and challenges but in a country like Italy, that has images of the Madonna and Child everywhere, taking your bambino out and about with you is second nature.  Turin, in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, has a lot to offer families so here’s the Tots2Travel rundown of the best bits.

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1 Visit the Mole Antonelliana – if you’re scared of heights this isn’t for you but I love getting a view of a city and getting my bearings.  The lift at the Mole takes you through the centre of the National Cinema Museum to a viewing platform 95 metres high.  The sensation of rising through the museum in a glass box is exhilarating – lots of positive squeals from Mr Toddler, meanwhile Mr Baby amused the lift porter by clearly not giving a stuff and refusing to smile at anyone.  At the top you have panoramic views of the city, taking in the Alps and the river Po.  When we visited in May, on a rainy day, the queues weren’t too bad but it may be worth visiting early or late in the day in high season.  There was also a space to leave buggies at the foot of the lift which was practical and reassuring.

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Now that’s a lift…

2 Visit the National Cinema Museum – film aficionados will love this museum and its information but if you’re hurtling around after an enthusiastic toddler there’s lots to enjoy even if you can’t stop and fully digest the placards.  Highlights for kids included the daguerrotypes eyepieces to view various scenes, green screening yourself onto flying objects (like a star wars extra) or falling down a tunnel (like Indiana Jones) – I found my inner child again so click on the links to watch the clips.  Chilling out on one of the sofa beds on the ground floor watching films, with surround sound coming out of the top of your chair, was also a highlight- Mr Baby slept as the rest of us watched movies.

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The opulent Baratti & Milano cafe

3 Eat Chocolate – Turin is renowned for its chocolate.  We opted to sample it at one of the city’s revered historic cafes – Baratti & Milano.  In this opulent and indulgent space we didn’t see anyone under the age of 21 but we took our boys in anyway.  They sampled an apple tart (I kidded myself this was the healthy option) whilst Mr Husband had a classic hot chocolate (thick, dark, rich and luscious) and I had the Baratti & Milano Coffee which was a mix of coffee, chocolate, cream and hazelnuts  – rather perfect.

20160502_1603274 Eat Gelato – there’s several renowned gelaterias in Turin so we took a personal recommendation from a friend and hit up Fiorio in Piazza Castello.  With flavours like Nocciola (hazelnut), Gianduja (hazelnut chocolate) and Torroncino (almond/nougat) you get to taste local delicacies in frozen form.  We got the frozen yogurt for the boys and it went down a storm.

5 Eat Pizza – I admit my kids’ diet is starting to sound appalling but when in Rome… (or Turin).  We were lucky to get one of the last tables at a buzzing trattoria that was full of families, friends and couples having a Saturday night out.  Regina Margherita  on Via del Carmine was quite simply delicious.  An unassuming, lively yet homely eaterie.

6 Visit the Markets – there are regular markets near Via Milano (where our central apartment was located) so we were lucky to buy fresh goods from local suppliers and trip back to our self catering accommodation.  Buying the food, letting Mr Toddler pay for it and carrying home his precious cargo before cooking it was a fun ‘learning’ experience.

7 Visit the Cathedral – Children are the future of the church but when we dropped by Turin’s duomo (cathedral) I was surprised to see about 40 priests taking confession with locals queuing to gently mumble their sins.  There was a hushed reverence in the air and Mr Baby seemed to enjoy the quiet – Mr Toddler was asleep which probably helped.  We also saw the replica Turin Shroud which is on display within the cathedral.  If you have a buggy avoid the Italian job style stairs by using the lift access by the side door.

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20160502_1340008 Slow Food – Eataly – the story of the Slow Food Movement started in Piedmont in a small town called Bra, 58 km from Turin.  Now the movement is just part of how Turinese shop, buy and dine. [This warrants a separate post in itself].  To visit the Slow Food supermarket of the city head to Eataly and pick up all the goodies you desire.  You can also dine at Eataly but the system didn’t work for us – you bag a table then queue at your preferred counter (meat or fish or antipasti etc.) to order your meal.  The queues were long when we visited but the food did look good.

9 Metro – I didn’t expect to mention public transport as a highlight but the kids’ seats on the Metro are pretty cool.  It was like being on the starship enterprise in warp mode.  What a cool way to get around.

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10 Fiat – for car fanatics it’s a no brainer to visit the Fiat museum in the Lingotto area close to Eataly. Vroom!

11 Architecture – generally wandering around the piazzas and happening upon churches and palazzos in the sun works for any age – taking the baby for a walk has never been so appealing.

20160502_11202712 For the adults – if in Turin you have to try a Bicerin – a mix of dark coffee and dark chocolate – beautiful.  On our street was a charming cafe called Il Gusto Giusto with pretty stupendous cakes and delicious bicerin.  And film buffs may also wish to seek out the Church of the Great Mother of God and its famous stairs where The Italian Job notably featured its epic car chase.

Any Downsides?  Compared to the UK the green spaces, parks and play parks weren’t particularly notable but there’s plenty other things to do with family.

THE LOWDOWN – we flew from Edinburgh to Milan with Easyjet then picked up a hire car and drove a couple of hours to Turin.  We stayed at an Air BnB apartment called Home Sweet Home.

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22 Comments

  1. Reply

    Melissa Smuzynski

    May 30, 2016

    Great ideas. I can’t wait to take our daughter to Italy. And I agree, when in Italy, your diet and your kids’ diets have to take a hit. You just can’t pass up the pizza, gelato and all of the other yummy foods.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      May 30, 2016

      Yes. A lot of it is healthy but when I listed chocolate, gelato and pizza it just didn’t sound quite so good! I hope you take your daughter to Italy soon.

  2. Reply

    Ahila

    May 31, 2016

    That’s a lovely list of fun places to visit and stuff to eat in Torino. I enjoyed looking around the unique cinema museum, Mole Antonelliana. #CityTripping

  3. Reply

    Phoebe @ Lou Messugo

    May 31, 2016

    It’s ridiculous how close Turin is to my home but I’ve never been….we keep saying we’ll go and then something else comes up! This has really inspired me though as I love the sound of the cinema museum as well as the slow food and Fiat place. #citytripping

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      June 1, 2016

      Sometimes it’s the places closest to us we don’t see. I always feel guilty that I rarely visit England but it’s so close I tend to go abroad. Sure you’ll make it to Turin soon, I loved the lift at the Mole.

  4. Reply

    Clare Thomson

    May 31, 2016

    So much for kids to enjoy here! My two would love that glass lift (like Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator) and doing the Star Wars bits in the Cinema Museum. Clearly you have to eat lots of gelato, pizza and hot chocolate when in Italy! I’d probably head for that amazing looking cheese counter in the market. Thanks for joining in with #citytripping

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      June 1, 2016

      Thanks for hosting. We ate like lords for a week but were relieved to get home for a break from the carbs! Don’t blame you for making a beeline to the cheese!

  5. Reply

    Sian

    May 31, 2016

    Perfect timing to reads this – we’re off to Turin in a couple of weeks with the twins. I’ve been to Turin before (pre kids) but I’m finding it really good fun going back to places and seeing the city through the kids’ eyes. Always good to read tips on where to leave buggies (especially when travelling with a double buggy) as I don’t come across this often on kids travel blogs.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      June 1, 2016

      Glad it will hopefully be useful. I did enjoy the lift at the Mole especially. I hope you have a great holiday. And if you can get out into the countryside in Piedmont I’d thoroughly recommend a few of the wee towns. Let me know if you’re heading inland.

      • Reply

        Sian

        June 2, 2016

        We’re planning on visiting one of the towns near to Turin, maybe Asti but also Bra, Alba or Barolo. Nor sure, lots of choice! We like turning up at train stations in Italy and seeing where the next train goes to….and taking that! Which small towns did you enjoy?

        • Reply

          tots2travel

          June 2, 2016

          In one day we did Alba and Barolo. Bith lively. Barbaresco was another favourite as was Saluzzo and Bricco de Neive was also v picturesque. I didn’t rate Asti personally and we didn’t visit Bra as i didn’t read anything in particular to drive me there. I hope this helps.

  6. Reply

    katy@untoldmorsels

    May 31, 2016

    I am very sorry we have zipped past Turin several times now though Eataly has always been on my radar. My husband’s aunty is going back there for a visit this summer from Australia so we have an excuse to go and now you have given me all the reasons. Lovely post. Thanks #citytripping

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      June 1, 2016

      The dining system in Eataly didn’t work for us, having two small children who are pretty patient, but this would push them too far. But the shopping was good especially if you’re self-catering. Tie it in with a trip to the nearby Fiat museum 🙂 Hope you make it to Italy next year.

  7. Reply

    MummyTravels

    May 31, 2016

    I know my husband would be first in line for Fiat – the chocolate and history sounds more my thing. I do keep thinking a trip to Italy would be great with my daughter, so family-friendly and she’d live on pasta and pizza if allowed, so it might be the only country in the world where there are no arguments at meal times (vain hope!) but I hadn’t considered Turin before. #citytripping

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      June 1, 2016

      In that case you’d love all the historic cafes – chocolate, coffee, cake and history all in one beautifully decorated package. Definitely my thing too.

  8. Reply

    Wander Mum

    May 31, 2016

    Great post and ideas! We almost added Turin to out road trip itinerary when we were in the area at Easter…it’s hard to cover everywhere but definitely a city we need to visit at some point. #citytripping

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      June 1, 2016

      The countryside is so beautiful in that region that there’s so much to choose between. You can’t be everywhere.

      • Reply

        Wander Mum

        June 1, 2016

        Very true!

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