Cultural Italy Blog: Art, Coffee & Love

Turin: The First Capital


Turin – Piedmont’s main city and one of Italy’s most unsung cities – will surprise and fascinate you. The first capital in 1861 (when Italy was unified and became a kingdom) still exudes the atmosphere of that époque, thanks to its austere yet elegant architecture and the historic and literary cafés.

Once in town, do not miss a visit to the Royal Palace and to the incredible Egyptian Museum. Finally indulge in a delicious stop at any of those charming cafes offering classy patisserie and chocolate among which the delicious the gianduja or gianduia.  This chocolate spread, containing about 30% hazelnuts, was invented here during Napoléon’s regency (1796–1814). Back then, cocoa could be hard to import, making it very expensive. In order to extend their supply, Turin chocolatiers added hazelnuts that were, and still are, in abundance in the local Langhe area. And thus, this costly mix, much more refined than plain chocolate, was invented. So, when in Turin, on your way back from a site or a museum, a tasting of the original gianduia chocolate should be part of your visit. In the end, these are well-deserved calories, that you’ll burn off just walking everywhere, as it happens when in Italy.

Start planning your trip to Italy! 

Nicoletta Lucia Paganucci