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La Team MyAtlas
My first trip abroad since February due to the pandemic!
Du 7 au 10 août 2020
4 jours
Partager ce carnet de voyage

Back in 2019, when I was living in China, I met an Italian girl called Fabiola. She was - she still is - a PhD student in the Department (a short video) where I was working as a University Lecturer. Our very first interactions were led by a shared life motive, or shall I say two: cats and food. More particularly by the sign on my office door at the time 😀 (see picture on the side). After I left the country, she became Hummus and Heimei's official new cat-sitter, and we kept in touch, sending each other cat pictures... 😉

Anyway, Fabiola is now in Italy due to the covid crisis, and I thus decided to go meet her for a long weekend, and to visit around the city of Turin! Which I don't know yet (Roma 2014, Venice 2017, Sardinia 2018).


Turin is an important business and cultural centre in northern Italy. It is the capital city of Piedmont, and was the first Italian capital from 1861 to 1865. Turin became a major European crossroad for industry, commerce and trade, and is part of the famous "industrial triangle" with Milan and Genoa. It is also home to much of the Italian automobile industry, with the headquarters of Fiat, Lancia, and Alfa Romeo. The city has a rich culture and history, being known for its numerous churches, palaces, parks, gardens, theatres, museums, etc. Turin is well known for its Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neo-Classical, and Art Nouveau architecture. Many of Turin's squares, castles, and palazzi were built between the 16th and 18th centuries.


On Friday 7th August, around 9.30am, I met my Blablacar companions. I paid €22 for the trip. I was fairly excited, probably because it was my first trip abroad since... the coronavirus crisis hit Europe! Prior to that, I went to Cape Verde in January and to Barcelona in February. It took us about 3h30 to reach Turin, where I met Fabiola. We went to a piadineria for lunch, where I had my very first piadina. It is a kind of sandwich made with a thin flatbread. I had a vegetarian option (let me come back to this later on). We then went for a gelato (ice cream) at the delicious Alberto Marchetti Gelaterie, which I totally recommend. Note a 2-scoop ice cream only costs €2.50, which is way cheaper than in France! 😀 For those of you who know me well, you probably think I chose flavours like tiramisu, or Ferrero rocher, or even cookies... Well, let me tell you what, you would be wrong! I chose ramassin (plum) and something with lime (lemon)! Yes, fruit flavours!

I promised earlier I would explain you about the vegetarian piadina; I guess now is the time. Long story short, I hosted a Couchsurfer, Adrien, for a few days beginning of August, and changed my lifestyle since then. Adrien, a very nice and kind person, is vegan and totally into ayurveda, yoga, etc. We spent some great time cooking vegan dishes, doing paddle yoga and meditation, chatting about food and life. Since that, I did not eat any meat (I was not a big consumer to be honest), I barely drunk any coffee (I used to drink 3 cups a day), I stopped devouring cakes and biscuits. I started choosing vegetarian/vegan options when possible, and sorbets instead of chocolate ice cream. And guess what, I enjoy it! 😀 Also, almost every morning, I prepare myself a golden milk: a traditional Indian drink made with turmeric, cinammon, cardamom, ginger... Much better than coffee. And, instead of eating brioche or cereals, I prepare oat milk with chia seeds, nuts, dried apricots, dried dates, and tahin.

Anyway, let's now head back to our Italian story! 😉 Fabiola and I went to the MAUTO, or the Museo dell'Automobile di Torino. They have an amazing collection of cars, I really enjoyed it. We spent about 2 hours there - for sure more than what you can spend at the Museum of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Museo Nazionale dell'Automobile has a collection of 200 cars among eighty automobile brands representing eight countries (Italy, France, Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, USA, and Poland). The museum is located in a building dating from 1960, and has 3 floors. After restructuring in 2011, its exhibition area has been expanded from 11,000 to 19,000 square metres. The museum also has its own library, documentation centre,, and auditorium.


After our visit, we drove to Cafasse, a small town located 25 kms from Turin. This is where Fabiola's parents live. Both of them are very nice, and fluent in French, which made communication easier! 😉 Also, Fabiola has a very cute kitten (Mina). After dinner, we went for a walk in Lanzo, another village of the Valli di Lanzo.

Cafasse and Lanzo 

Buena notte! 😀


On Saturday morning, Fabiola offered me to visit Mole Antonelliana, the major landmark building of Turin, while she would go shopping with her friends. I started queuing outside to buy my ticket but, after half an hour, the queue barely moved forward! I thus decided to give up and met Fabiola at Piazza Castello.

The Mole Antonelliana was named after its architect, Alessandro Antonelli. In Italian, a mole is a building of monumental proportions. Its construction began in 1863, soon after Italian unification, and was completed in 1889. Originally conceived of as a synagogue, it now houses the National Museum of Cinema, and is believed to be the tallest museum in the world. A representation of the building is featured on the obverse of the Italian 2 cent euro coin.

 Mole Antonelliana

Piazza Castello is the second biggest square in Turin. Located in the historical centre of the city, it owes its name to the Palazzo Reale (royal palace) and to the Palazzo Madama.

 Piazza Castello

We had the chance to visit (for free) the gardens of the Palazzo Reale, which are, apparently, always closed!

Gardens of the palace 

We then had lunch at Cooperativa FiorFood, as recommended by Fabiola's mom. It is a pretty restaurant situated in some old arcades. I had some very good green lasagne (with courgettes, pesto, and mozarella). After a digestive walk, we went for a gelato (of course!) at Nivà Gelateria (I also recommend that one). I chose fichi (fig) and fritto della passione (passion fruit). The fig scoop was absolutely delicious! However, I got somehow disappointed by the passion fruit, which tasted a bit artificial and not so natural/fresh...

 In the streets of Turin

The next part of our day was amazing: Fabiola drove me to the Superga, one of the most prominent of the hills that ring the city. First, it was slightly cooler there. Second, there were not many people nor cars, which made it very quiet. Last but not least, the view from the Basilica di Superga was fairly nice! 😉


We ended the day by an evening walk in the town of Céres, in the mountains.


Every second Sunday of the month, Turin hosts the Gran Balôn, a mercato delle pulci (flea market) at Porta Pallazo. Items on offer include furniture, pottery, books, clothing, vintage goods... This is where we went on Sunday morning! According to Fabiola, the market was smaller than usual. Turin is some kind of a ghost city in August, as all the locals tend to escape to the seaside... and foreigners are not around this year. After buying a couple of things, we went to the Mercato Centrale for lunch. I had a good vegetarian risotto.

We then walked for a little walk in the area, where we saw the city hall (first picture below) and the Duomo di Torino (second and third pictures). The latter was sadly closed between 1 and 3pm.

 In the streets of Turin

We spent most of the afternoon chilling in the Parco del Valentino, a popular public park located along the Po river. Within the park, we discovered the castle and the Borgo Medievale (medieval castle and village).

 Borgo Medievale

We finally walked along the river from the park to the Gran Madre di Dio, a Neoclassic style church located in front of Piazza Vittorio Veneto, at the western side of the bridge dedicated to Vittorio Emanuele I.

 Gran Madre

Oh, I (almost) forgot to mention! We also had a gelato, of course! 😉 We went back to Alberto Marchetti gelateria, and I had... ramassin (plum) and pesca (peach). Delicioso! 😀 In the evening, Fabiola, her parents, and I went for a very good pizza in Cafasse. For digestion, we had a walk in the countryside (with a torch), and we saw a lot of cats and a few rabbits. And some mosquitoes, of course... Or, at least, they saw me.


Monday 10th was my last day in Turin! We did not do much in the morning: played with the kitten, and I went to the supermarket to buy some artisanal grissini, the specialty of Lanzo. Fabiola's parents told me they could last up to a week, therefore I brought them back for my family to taste. Yummy! For lunch, we finished the home-made tiramisu. Yummy yummy. Then, Fabiola drove me back to Torino so that I could catch my Flixbus back to Lyon. I paid €35 for the ticket. Interestingly, Wi-Fi worked on the French side of the border, but not on the Italian one. They probably did not pay for open data in Europe... 😉 Anyway!

To summarise, I had a good time in Turin! It is a pretty city, fairly different from what I saw previously (Roma, Venice, and Cagliari). I was very surprised to discover such an empty city in August, but apparently it was not only due to the covid crisis, but a normal thing - sono tutti al mare, that is what Fabiola would say lol! I was also happy to get to catch up with la mia amica in another place than China, and to discover the place with a more local point of view! 😀

Arrivederci, ciao ciao tutto el mondo! I have no idea when you will hear from me again... I might write about France if I find some inspiration (I did travel a bit in my home country). I might travel to Bucarest in November (for a workshop). I might travel to Amsterdam in January (for a conference). I might travel to Corsica or Croatia in September (for fun). But, who knows in which shape the world will be by then... 😥

 Le Mans