Part of the history of Italy was written in the cafes of Turin
In the cafes frequented by Carlo Alberto, Cavour, Gozzano, by revolutionaries and aristocrats, by intellectuals and politicians, it seems as though time has stopped. But don’t be fooled: they are the birthplace of records and innovations, from the first newspapers to electric light: ladies frequented them on their own without being bothered as they were run by other women.
Piazza della Consolata, 5
tel.: +39 011 4369325
Opened in 1763, it bears the name of the traditional Piemontese drink born here 200 years ago. The original recipe is top secret, only the ingredients of bicerin are known: coffee, chocolate and cream. It is served boiling hot in glass cups, in this cafe, also known for its zabaione and cakes.
Baratti & Milano
Piazza Castello, 29
tel.: +39 011 011 4407138
Founded in 1875 by two men whose names it bears, on one side it faces Piazza Castello, and on the other, Galleria Subalpina. Cocktails are its speciality, which can be accompanied by some exclusive delicacies, such as fresh oysters.
Via Po, n. 8
tel.: +39 011 8173225
For the inhabitants of Turin, it is synonymous with ice cream: under the porticoes of via Po, you can recognise it from a distance by the queue of people waiting outside. The rooms, with the original decoration intact, are as renowned as their creamy ices.
Piazza Carignano, 8
Have a seat and admire the sights of the little square in front of this café, while savouring the famous “pinguino”, the ice cream on a stick covered in chocolate, that was “invented” right in this café. From the front, the soft curves of the facade of the Palazzo Carignano; nearby, the entrance to the historic theatre of the same name; close at hand, the elegant toing and froing of pedestrians in the centre.
Caffè San Carlo
Piazza San Carlo, 156
tel.: +39 011 532586
It was the first cafe in Europe to be lit by gas. The meeting place of reformists, patriots, ruffians, journalists, writers and artists, it was a contrast to the other cafes, that were traditionally more conservative. The small room inside, known as the “Chinese room” is a gem. The buffet is very pleasant for a midday brunch.
Piazza San Carlo, 204
tel.: +39 011 545118
An authentic salon, like the rest of Piazza San Carlo, which it overlooks. Founded in 1903, it welcomed Umberto of Savoy, who discussed matters of state here amongst the sumptuous chandeliers, the rich mouldings and the fireplaces of wood and marble. Perfect for tea and pastries.
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 72
tel.: +39 011 5069056
It is the ideal cafe for breakfasts. It has been a real, proper, historic display since 1875. Their speciality is “Torta Platti”, a celebration of chocolate, gianduja and a little bit of sponge cake. It is also famous for its afternoon tea, served with little cakes from 3 until 6 p.m.