The original plan had been to stop in Torino for the afternoon. We wanted to walk around the capital of the Piedmont region and explore this clean and crisp northern Italian city. Known as Turin to Americans, the city hosted the Winter Olympics in 2006 and is a common connection point for Western European train travelers. Our original plan had been to take a night train directly from Paris to Milan, but after our plans changed we decided to make a stop in Torino.
We arrived 4 hours later than expected, so our afternoon was no longer available to us here. Instead, we took a taxi to our hotel and discovered a hidden gem! The Inn Magazinni San Domenico was located on a quiet street in a central location within walking distance from many of the sights. While we had done research and were excited to see many of them, it was past dark when we arrived. The hotel was a small B&B owned and operated by a very congenial, local couple. The gentleman that greeted us gave us a complimentary glass of wine and explained that this hotel was a converted building. The owner was an architect by trade and had purchased the space for his office. Having much more space than he required, he put his interior decorating skills to work and showcased beautiful rooms, modern bathrooms and vaulted, open ceilings. He recommended a few restaurants in the area, but unfortunately we were unable to get into any of them. So, instead we found a local pizzeria and were mesmerized by the great flavors of the traditional Napoli pizza. Afterwards, we wandered the town. We stopped by a Moroccan Hooka Bar, a North African tradition that has become popular in many sections of Europe as people have immigrated north.
The next morning we were greeted by the owner’s wife, who had converted the lobby into a chic breakfast room and made our meal. We were kindly told to ‘sit,’ and were served multiple courses of traditional Italian breakfast foods with a large smile and an abundant warmth. A taxi was called promptly and we were happy to see some of the sites Torino had to offer on our morning ride back to the train station. We saw roundabouts with large statues and fountains in the middle, white-washed marble buildings with large covered walkways and many people going about their daily business. On the train we were re-allocated to our correct first class cabin where we met a gentile Australian couple on a European tour. The train turned to the west as it ventured south and the majority of the ride came with a view of the Mediterranean Sea. We were on our way to a destination I had heard about countless times; the Cinque Terre.