Untours Cafe

So, I was not meant to be a blogger.

It is 4 years after the trip. But I still have great memories. This was the only city in which we stayed in a hotel because we were only going to be there 2 days. We stayed near the Porta Nuova train station to make getting to Rome next easier.

Turin has a terrible reputation with travelers, so I was very pleasantly surprised when we got there. The bus we took from the airport drove through some neighborhoods that would uphold the impression that Turin is an industrial city that is not very appealing. But once we got to the city center, things changed. The downtown area has an architectural style that seems almost French which makes sense since half the Savoy dukes' holdings were in France. The center of the city is very walkable and we even did a very nice walk along the Po. I loved the covered sidewalks, but you had to be careful because it wasn't always obvious that you were crossing a side street. The walk along the Po was through Parco del Valinetino which was lovely, and on the far side there is a much smaller riverwalk type park that hugged the river. The main reason we crossed the river, however, was to go past an artisan chocolate maker, Cioccolato Peyrano, that was outstanding. They have a tiny storefront, but all the chocolate is made on site. We loved wandering around the city. Unfortunately, our day for wandering was a Sunday; the Mole was closed. We did stop in a cafe and had bicerin. If you like coffee and chocolate, I can't recommend this enough.

Our trip began in Turin because I am a Juventino. I support Juventus Football Club. This was the third time I was going to Italy, so I was going to finally go to a match.This was the first season in the new Juventus Stadium which replaced the old Delli Alpi stadium on the same site. Seating only 40,000, it is nearly half the size of the Delli Alpi, but it was built in the English style. The stands go right to the edge of the field with no athletics track around it like the old stadium. The atmosphere and noise generated by the fans in the new stadium is impressive, and I recommend the experience to anyone who even casually follows soccer. They run special matchday trams to and from the stadium which made getting there very easy. What was not easy was finding my ticket. Tickets do not go on sale very long before the match (3 weeks before our trip), so you have to pick them up at the stadium. The people at the ticket kiosks spoke limited English and I spoke limited Italian but I finally found out that it was at the ticket kiosk closest to the entrance I would need to use to enter the stadium which makes perfect sense. I had fortunately arrived 45 minutes before kickoff, so I only missed the first 5 minutes of the match. Anyone who wants to go to a match there, once you know the section you are sitting in, go to the Juventus website and look at the stadium map. Find your section and the entrance closest to it will be the one you need to enter by. That will be where your ticket is waiting. 

Leaving Turin for Rome, we took the Frecciarossa from Turin to Rome. This was my first experience on a TGV train. We had stops in Milan and Florence so it took just over 4 hours. They still run an old night train on the same route that takes 7 1/2 hours. Whenever we are on a train for more than 3 hours, we usually splurge for First Class. It just makes the trip easier. The Frecciarossa or Red Arrow trains were great. The seats were comfortable and I was able to select a 4 seat with a table ahead of time online so our group could share a table. We received a welcome beverage and a newspaper, though we never did figure out how to get the WiFi to work. In the 4 years since then, Italy has expanded its Le Frecce network making intercity travel by train even better.

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