Italy has almost too many beautiful, important cities, and Turin has been tarred with a bit of the 'grim-up-the-industrial-north' brush, and thus overlooked by many visitors. But this is totally undeserved! Turin was Italy's first capital, just 150 years ago when its city states and dukedoms were finally united. And its historic centre has the requisite Baroque palaces and Art Nouveau mansions - many of which are now hotels, and some of the best places to stay in Turin.
It's not all about the past though, Turin is also a great place for fashion and Piedmontese cuisine. And there's a lively vibe to be found amongst the shady arcades.
Turin's green boulevards, lined with beautiful Art Nouveau cafes, are graceful and generously proportioned when you consider that this is the home of the Fiat. 'The Italian Job' didn't get it too wrong when they showed zippy little numbers shooting across the rooftops - the famous Fiat factory, one of Turin's great architectural landmarks, actually had its testing track on the roof. And that's the kind of place Turin is - forward thinking and productive.
You probably know about Turin's winter games, and its questionable Holy Shroud; and the Fiats and 'The Italian Job' have been mentioned, but this is also a great destination for art lovers.
And the daily market, held by the Porta Palatina, the old city gates, is foodie heaven - the cheese, the salami and proscuitto, the porcini, the truffles, the bread, the hard chocolate (Turin was the first place to produce saleable hard chocolate!).
As well as a number of beautiful churches, the brilliant Automobile Museum, and the Mole Antonelliana - the tower in the centre of town - Turin also has an excellent Egyptian Museum, the National Museum of Cinema, a Museum of Contemporary Art and numerous beautiful gardens. Where you can rest and recuperate with an espresso or gelato.
A cosy boutique bed and breakfast with two pretty apartments in a handsome 1825 house. Lofty rooms, thoughtfully furnished with antiques, books galore and views over the city. Delicious breakfasts with home baked cakes. Centrally and quietly situated, an ideal spot for families, couples or groups.
Turin (Porta Nuova Station)
The facade of this 1911 building belies the interior - an ecletic explosion of modern and contemporary art. The public areas are filled with original works by Warhol, Aldo Mondino and Lichtenstien, amongst others. Bedrooms are equally original. Garden and good food complete the picture.
Attractive 19th century converted farm estate turned hotel offering comfortable apartments and suites. Peacefully located in rolling countryside, just ten minutes from Turin. Breakfast, spa, wine tasting, wine cellar, swimming pool. A flexible service for families or business travellers.
A fabulous mansion in a quiet residential area of Turin. Traditional romantic bedrooms have fireplaces, four poster beds, and attractive furnishings. Excellent restaurant, spa and beautiful gardens. A great choice for a romantic break.
The latest hotel in a chic franchise of urban bolt holes, in the centre of Turin, near the Piazza Castello. Effortlessly cool; a classical facade conceals the minimalist interior. Most rooms are junior suites, breakfast is served at the signature communal table. Pretty courtyard garden for drinks.
A household name, opened in 1925, many distinguished guests have stayed in this smart hotel from Nobel Prize winners to Louis Armstrong. Ideally suited for either business or pleasure. Centrally positioned behind Piazza San Carlo. The elegant Bar offers exquisite afternoon tea. A Turin institution.