Classical music - Festivals
Classical music abounds in town all-year-round but summer is particularly interesting as the city of Torino organizes free public events to please large audiences.
Settembre Musica - lately renamed MITO Settembre Musica - is held in the month of September focusing on classical and contemporary music. Paid admission but some concerts are for free in public venues.
A rich, completely free-admission festival is held every year in June or July with the duration of one week. Performances occur mainly in several public outdoor spaces such as piazzas, courtyards and historical villas, with the addition of some indoors venues. Most day and night events are held in pedestrian areas in the city center with climax in splendid Piazza San Carlo as the center of gravity where an audience of 20+ thousand enthusiasts is the common attendance to the main event at night played by the prestigious National Symphony Orchestra of Torino.
Such festival focuses on a different composer each year. Mozart for 2014, it was Beethoven in 2013.
Check example websites for current and future reference:
2014 Mozart Festival
2013 Beethoven FestivalRelated to:
Cena in Bianco - Unconventional Dinner
Biggest event of its kind in Italy, the "Cena in Bianco" (Dinner in White) takes place every year on one summer evening to fill an adequate public place in town. The 2014 edition had 11.000 participants gathered in wonderful Piazza San Carlo.
Self-catering, white color mandatory and a few rules involved, this is quite an unusual moment.
Mandatory registration for participants.
[Photos courtesy of copyright holders]Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Abundance of water from the Alps is a blessing and a public resource in town. The typical drinking water outlet is named "Toret" (pronounced "tuh-ret" in Piedmontese language) or Italianized as "Toretto" which means "small bull". Torino has about 700 of such fountains scattered all over the city territory and most of these are well over a century old. These are about 1.2 m (4 ft) tall cast-iron, green painted units, where untapped water spouts from the mouth of a bull's shaped head down into a grill to the ground level. Same water being distributed to every home in town, it is absolutely safe to drink and generally of good taste. If you don't have a glass or a bottle to fill, try to do as locals do by standing on the side and leaning for a direct drink from the stream. Standing on the side will most likely keep your feet dry. Caution with nearby icy patches in winter due to spatter.
One thing that puzzles me is the cumulative amount of free-flowing liquid at all time when a "save water" conservation concept is generally advised. Torino is evidently rich with this precious asset and can afford to waste it. A pilot project is in progress and foresees the gradual removal of these convenient outlets which should be replaced - not all though - with modern dispensers of refrigerated plain and carbonated water, the latter for a small price. Some of these units are already installed in adjacent towns as a test and drag the attention of bypassers who can quench their thirst by pushing a button.
Although it looks incomplete, here's a
map of "Toret" in townRelated to:
- Arts and Culture
"Tramway" aka Tram
Public transportation service in town was introduced in 1845. Since 1871, Torino was the first Italian city to implement horse-drawn trolleys circulating on steel tracks and still today has the most extensive network of such an urban system in the country. Subway and bus lines are a natural complement but many still refer to using public transportation, whatever the type, as to "go by tram" which tells about the local urban cultural staple. Previous generations, mostly speaking the Piedmontese language, used to call it "Tranvai" (pronounced: Trahn-vah-ee) where the N replaced the M letter for phonetic purposes. I can imagine the sound of hoofs on the cobblestones throughout the city's quietness. Pulling horses disappeared in 1893 with the electrification of the nine existing lines of that time, consisting in an elevated cable carrying low-voltage electricity. Such system is still used today and vehicles are connected to it through a flexible bar mounted on top of the tram.
In 1901 the stops were introduced. Before that, vehicles would stop upon request and/or passengers would hop on or off on the fly. Modern fast trams circulate today, but historical restored vehicles can be spotted on special occasions. The system reached its peak in 1949 with a total of 23 urban lines. Of these, only 10 still exist today in addition to an urban/suburban rail system serving a wider range.
A special tram line, still in use today, is the Sassi-Superga. These vehicles move through a rack-and-pinion device which also provides safety as the vehicles climb the steep Torinese hill.
Map of present surface tracks in townRelated to:
- Historical Travel
NOTE: This tip is written as a test, made into a tip from a forum reply.
For us Turinese, the concept of aperitivo is associated with food rather than being just a pre-meal drink. A long tradition dating back over 200 years.
Plenty of choice and different styles - vintage, classic, modern, w/ music or not, indoors or alfresco. Peek inside venues starting around 7 PM to evaluate the type of environment and, if unfamiliar, to understand whether it's a sit-and-be-served mode or rather a buffet-style place where you first buy a drink at the bar then choose a place to sit before heading to the all-you-can-eat buffet. In this case, make sure to avoid leaving unattended valuables at the table. Theft is rare but wisdom is always advisable.
Clusters of aperitivo bars are easily found in the Quadrilatero area (look in Piazza Emanuele Filiberto and Via Sant'Agostino) and Piazza Vittorio Veneto, which are the main nightlife areas in town and burst with life until morning hours.
One of my favorites is Lobelix located in Piazza Savoia 4.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Torino =Small Bull= Toret
Toret in Piedmont is a fountain with a bull and they are always green
Sources with a figure of a bull, the symbol of Torino are in the streets and squares where you can drink fresh water (more than 700) and if you put aside you can drink water without getting wet feet
Torino = Toro pequeño = Toret
Toret en piamontés es una fuente con forma de toro y que siempre son verdes
Fuentes con una figura de toro , el símbolo de Torino se encuentran en sus calles y plazas donde se puede beber agua fresca ( hay más de 700) y si te pones de lado puedes beber sin mojarte los pies.
Torino's football teams
Torino is the home of two great football teams: Juventus and Torino.
Juventus (the Latin name means "youth") is one of the oldest Italian football teams and the one that has won the most of cups and championships. It has been champion of Italia 29 times so far. My parents and I support Juventus and here you see my mum in front of the Juventus shop (she loves Alessandro Del Piero, one of the best Italian and European football players).
If you want to buy Juventus products, you don't need to travel to Torino, you can visit the official site.
After a major scandal, on 14th July 2006 the Football Court condemned Juventus to the withdraw of the 2004/05 and the non-assignation of the 2005/06 scudetti ("small shields"), as well as to the relegation to serie B with 30 points of penalization. The Federal Appeal Court reduced the penalization to 17 points, but Juventus is the only of the four condemned teams that will play in serie B in 2006/07.
Torino was a great team once. It won seven Italian championships and it was referred to as il Grande Torino. Sadly, the airplane that was taking the team home from Lisboa on 14th May 1949 crashed at Superga (a hill just outside the city) and all players died. That's why Superga is so famous. You can see and read more about that fabulous team here (only in Italian). Today, Torino plays in the serie B, but it will likely be promoted to serie A due to the relegation of Juventus, Fiorentina and Lazio.
Although Italian is the official language, Italy is a relatively young country (unified in 1861) and the various regions within have their own tongue. Some of these are considered dialects while others are languages.
Piedmontese is a written Western Neo-latin language listed on UNESCO's "Red Book of Endangered Languages". My grandparents took Italian at school as a second language, and I still grew up with Piedmontese as the normal conversation tongue of my parents.
Due to the "Italianization" of the country, it is declining although still widely spoken in a variety of forms. Even Piedmontese had to be "unified" into a koine' common exchange language understood by people throughout the region. "Occitano" and "Franco-Provenzale" dialect families are in fact quite different to each other.
Known to derive from the early languages spoken by Ligurian tribes (from the Iberic Peninsula), it was later integrated with Celtic, Latin and some Arabic words. It has today some similarities with Catalan and Gaelic. I was surprised to find out with Irish friends about words in common, such as:
Conij (rabbit), "Conhin" (not sure about spelling) in Gaelic
Drugia (manure) from Celtic "Dru" (fertile)
Balma (cave) from "Balmein" (high stone)
Bealera (water stream) from "Beal" (water stream)
Brich (peak or high ground) from "Beal" (hill)
Bisa (cold wind) from Bis (pungent)
Some words from Arabic with identical meaning:
Taola (table) same as "Taula" in Arabic
Portogal (orange) same as "Burtuqal"
Carador (aisle or hallway) same as "Karadur"
If you visit Piedmont and speak Italian, don't be surprised if you hear something that sounds similar to French. You're listening to Piedmontese. And, don't be surprised if towns 20 km apart from each other have a different tongue!
I'm fluent with the both the Turinese form and the version spoken in the Canavese region.
- Arts and Culture
Torino's free Wi Fi Hot Spot
Torino is one the Italian city most hi-tech. Indeed we have few hot spot!! And very few are free :-(
So this is the list of these few free hot spot
Several Torino's hotels offer wi fi connection (paying a fee); these ones advertise having it:
Hotel Express by Holiday Inn
Grand Hotel Sitea
Hotel Lo Scudiero
Hotel Le Meridien
Hotel Art & Tech
Hotel Royal Torino
A complete (?) list of Torino's hot spot on www.jiwire.comRelated to:
- Budget Travel
Museo della Marionetta
Un monde de curiosités en miniature, entre le jeu et la magie du théâtre : c'est le règne de la marionnette qui a son royaume dans le Teatro-Museo Gianduja. La précieuse collection de la famille Lupi, accumulée pendant plus de 200 ans, compte plus de 500 pièces dont une centaine de marionnettes, de décors et de costumes du XIXème siècle.
Moscato Wine Festival
Each spring, Torino hosts an adorable Moscato Festival. Celebrating my favorite sweet, slightly-bubbly wine, this festival takes place in May. The festival is held outdoors in Piazza Carignano and Piazza Carlo Alberto. For eight euros you get a glass that allows you to sample a wide array of Moscato from all around the country. Once you've got the glass, you're welcome to return each of the three nights the festival is open to sample more. Nothing beats sitting in a beautiful old piazza, sipping super-cheap wine samples and chatting with your friends.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Wine Tasting
- Food and Dining
One of the typical products of Torino exported all over the world is Vermouth, probably best known through a few major brand names such as Martini, Cinzano and Carpano, which are the historical and original companies that first developed the drink in late 1700.
The base of Vermouth is wine added and fortified with flavoring herbs and, some say, absinthe.
First born Vermouth was the "red" variety followed by the "white" one. Today, market demands have dictated the addition of "dry", "blush" and a few other hues and flavors.Related to:
- Wine Tasting
- Arts and Culture
Cocoa was first brought to Torino in late 16th century but it took a couple of centuries before it became available as an ingredient. Torino is credited to be the official worldwide birthplace of chocolate in the form we all know, which soon developed in the typical "Gianduiotto" where powdered locally grown hazelnut is part of the mix. This delicacy is presented as the unmistakable golden wrap in its triangular shape. Beware of the addiction it generates!Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Arts and Culture
San Giovanni - Saint John festival on June 24th
Every year on June 24 Torino celebrates St. John's day as the patron saint of the city.
In addition to other cultural happenings, the event includes a parade where some 2,000+ people wear historical costumes from the middle age to 19th century.
A bonfire is started on June 23 night to reenact the burning of clothes and other goods to purge the plague spread occurred in early 1600. A legend also has it that the bonfire is linked to the earliest public burning of witches in 11th century.
Fireworks usually conclude the festival on June 24.Related to:
Getting on with the locals
Turin can be a bit of a cold, industrial city where there seems to be not much fun going on. But if you look carefully and engage with the locals it can be great. especially if you buy them a drink or two.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Beer Tasting
- Road Trip
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