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30 Luglio 2019

A journey into the oldest cafés in Turin

Visiting a city like ours also means tasting its history, not only in a figurative sense. Let’s see which places will let you go back in time

Carlotta Bianchini (translation by Lorenzo Bijno)

Baratti & Milano, under the porticoes of piazza Castello

In the centre of Turin there are cafés which still retain the noble and sumptuous style of the past. It is no coincidence that the city is one of the most used in Italy for various film sets: many historical films of our country are made here. These sumptuous places, with their high ceilings, polished marble, large mirrors, porcelain and tapestries, transport the tourist to another world, taking him back in time by more than a century.

In those cafés, it seems that the calendar is wrong and that the clock has stopped, because almost everything refers to a time that is now far away, though still unique for its class and elegance. However, today, just like then, you will able to find there specialties, sweets and real delicacies for all tastes. You will see below a small selection of these historical places, which many even consider like real museums.

There are two cafés that made history, where the nobility of Turin used to go, and whose prices are still very high. Firstly, there’s Ristorante Caffè del Cambio in piazza Carignano, which has seen and hosted renowned political figures of the Risorgimento such as Camillo Benso Count of Cavour. The café was opened in 1757 and is nowadays known for its excellent cuisine.

Secondly, there’s Caffè Pasticceria Baratti & Milano, located under the porticoes of piazza Castello, which enchants all those who stroll through the Galleria Subalpina and stop a little surprised in front of the shop windows revealing ancient curtains and gilded interiors. Famous for its hot chocolate, the café was opened in 1875 and served as a supplier to the Royal House.

Caffè al Bicerin
, which has been located in piazza della Consolata since 1793, is a must for the sweet-loving tourists. The café used to be visited by illustrious guests such as Nietzsche, Silvio Pellico, Puccini, Cavour and many others, and was the setting for Umberto Eco’s novel Il cimitero di Praga (The Cemetery of Prague). Today, the café offers the chance to taste the Bicerin, a traditional hot drink made of coffee, chocolate and milk cream, which is served exactly as it used to be.

Then there’s Caffé San Carlo, one of the most popular cafés due to its central position, its high-quality choice of coffee, its statues and precious marbles, which has been located in the square of the same name since 1822. You can also see Caffè Gelateria Fiorio, which was opened in via Po 8 in 1780 and is now home to one of the most popular ice-cream parlours together with Gelateria Pepino, which was opened in 1884 in piazza Carignano 8.

As you can see, Turin is teeming with old-time places full of delicacies and specialties. You just need to take a short walk to notice how wide the choice is and to decide which one is the best for you. Platti, Mulassano, Palazzo Reale Cafeteria and many others may not be world-wide famous but they do boast a long history made of hot drinks, important gatherings and great ideas and poems.


In collaboration with Study in Torino


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