Torino: Counting Fiats

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Most of you are probably unaware of my love for Fiat 500s but Gui knows that the adorable little minis are a surefire way to make me squeal with childish glee. Whenever we rent a car, Gui dutifully goes to the counter and asks if they happen to have a Fiat 500 available, only to be met by smirks. “Umm, you rented a higher class car…” “Yes, we know, but we would really like a Fiat 500…” Usually, we strike out and end up with some sort of SUV, but I think it was poetic that, for our very last road trip of the summer to the birthplace of Fiat, we finally succeeded: A lovely black cherry Fiat was ours for the weekend!

We pulled out of Geneva airport in our shiny little Fiat after work on Friday and reached our hotel in Turin’s former Fiat factory around 10:30pm (I know, you’re sensing a theme here…) The next morning we wandered around town, checking out the sites and counting the overwhelming number of Fiats filling the streets until it was time for our lunch reservation at Plin & Tajarin. The restaurant was a real treat — The service was incredibly personal, with the chef visiting our table to say hello, deliver our meals and then coach Gui on how to properly roll his spaghetti, not to mention our lovely waitress who emailed me after our visit to wish us well. And ah, the food! We were presented with a delicious tomato spread and focaccia on the house before our meal and tiny portion of peach ice cream on the house at the end. Gui and I shared two different varieties of the homemade pasta dishes that the restaurant is named for, one richly flavored with the region’s famous truffles and the second equally delicious with potatoes and peanuts. The restaurant is tiny and they actually keep the door locked to prevent unattended walk-ins, so make sure you reserve ahead of time!

After lunch, Guillaume and I spent the afternoon at the Egyptian museum, which was really quite something, even for someone like me who is not particularly into Egyptian history. The collection is enormous and the audio guide is a helpful (and free!) companion. For dinner that evening, we had a different kind of Italian feast at the very first Eataly, which happened to be located next to our hotel. So yes, we basically ate away our Saturday…

On Sunday, we visited the old Fiat test track on the roof of our hotel building (so cool — check out the photos above and below of both of us running around the track). Afterward, we went to the cinema museum in Turin’s iconic Mole Antonelliana and spent hours working our way through the interactive exhibits. Highlights included the old fantasma show in the early cinema exhibit — be warned, it’s creepy — and the screen-studded ramp snaking its way up the Mole’s dome playing clips from different eras of film. Pro tip: The queue in front of the museum is for the elevator to the top of the building for a view over Turin. If you’re only there for the museum like we were, walk to the left for a separate queue and you should be able to enter immediately.

Our visit to Torino concluded with my last real Italian Aperol Spritz for the foreseeable future and some more tomatoes, mozzarella and gelato before we climbed back into our beautiful little Fiat for the drive back to Geneva. Please accept my apologies for the lack of food photos… I kept forgetting to snap a shot before I dug in!

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