"Closed - On Holiday"
Torino economy is - perhaps was - driven by FIAT and the usual 4-week closure of the car manufacturer for summer vacation occurs in August. This drives the whole suppliers world to follow the rule, and with so many people leaving town it's an obvious consequence for stores and businesses to adapt to this system.
It's understandable that stores won't give up profitable days during other months but stay open with yawning employees during August.
This situation can be very uncomfortable for tourists and residents who go in search of open groceries, restaurants and other ventures. Although the system is slowly changing, be aware that it is quite a standard to find shutters down in the city center and other neighborhoods. These have a posted sign reading "Chiuso per ferie dal .... al ...." meaning "Closed - on vacation from .... to ...."
Unique Suggestions: If you find an open newspaper stand, buy a copy of "La Stampa" daily paper and go to the page that lists open places. Or, walk into a cafe' and ask to see the fresh newspaper that any bar keeps for customers.
Fun Alternatives: Large supermarkets and shopping malls are always open, check for variable business hours. Normal hours in Torino are 9-12:30 AM and 4-7 PM but shopping malls are generaaly open from 9 AM through 8 or 10 PM.
For the love of all that is holy.. do not take a cab in Torino. Our hotel was about 7 miles from Torino and to take a taxi, it was costing 35 euro and up, each way. And half of the cabs had no meters, the fare was "worked out" by the hotel staff. A staff member also tried to disuade us from taking the bus, saying it took "too long".
Time on the bus from hotel to town, maybe 40 minutes. Cost : 1 euro.
Time in a cab, maybe ten minutes. Cost 35 euro.
Fun Alternatives: Take the bus. Its cheaper and not that much slower.
Whether or not this can be a tourist trap, or just a warning, you decide.
Nothing wrong with this historical cafe' in the heart of the city - Piazza San Carlo, 204 - if not for the prices. You should know that any cafe' and bar in Italy have two different prices for anything served at the bar, while you stand, or otherwise served at the table. Caffe' Torino is no different, meaning that you can have an espresso while standing for, say, 1 Euro, while still looking at the splendid decorations of its interior, or decide to have it while sitting at a table for (probably, as I have no recent reference) 5 Euro or more.
Well, needless to say that you can't order something at the bar and then take it to a table :)
One curiosity is that the "groin" area of the bronze bull - the City's symbol - embedded on the ground in front of this cafe' is well worn out. Legend has that if you step on it, better if you spin a full turn on it, will bring you good luck.
I would remind you (especially...
I would remind you (especially Americans) that the post office in Italy works more like a bank rather than a post office. The lines at the post office can be very, very long. If all you need are stamps to mail postcards or letters go to a nearby tobacco shop 'Tabacchi' with a big black T and buy them there. It is much quicker.
Stay ___absolutely___ away...
Stay ___absolutely___ away from Hotel DockMilano: it's cheap but it's not clean, it's more than old ... it's ancient, breakfast is horrible and car park is weird (and not in the hotel premises); well, the location is not so bad.
The motto of the hotel is 'A century of accomodation at the center of Turin' which sounds nice ... the problem is they never renewed it in this century !!!!
My company booked there for a whole week ... I left after one night (and I never slept during that night !). Anyhow if you'd like to check my tip you can book some nights there @ www.dockmilano.com
Café to avoid - Caffe Torino - Piazza San Carlos
We stopped in this little arcade caffe for a coffee, hot chocolate and a coke and the bill was 18 Euros ! I had to steal the menu just to avenge the establishment and to frame the menu just to remember this place as the most expensive place in Europe to date to a coke, 6 Euros ! The menu hangs on my wall at work just as a reminder to always check the menu first before ordering. Although charming, avoid this establishment.
Unique Suggestions: Pee then run.
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