It’s almost always tourist season in Rome, thanks to its prolific assortment of museums, landmarks, food tours and parks everybody will recognize. However, as Rome is just as famous for its equally impressive tourist numbers, Turin — the first capital of Italy, which underwent an extreme makeover for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games — provides a pleasing “city break” alternative to Rome. This proposition includes shorter lines and more fun for adults and kids alike for its impressive number of distinctive cultural institutions, parks and castles.
The best place to start planning a trip to this unexpectedly charming and easily navigable city is by booking a centrally located property such as the much-loved and long-established Victoria Hotel, which blends friendly service and elements of English and Italian country charm. Next, purchase a Torino Card, available in one-, two-, three- or five-day formats and providing free access to landmark museums and royal residences covering Roman times, the Middle Ages and the Baroque era. Other sites, such as Villa della Regina and the Borgo Medievale, can be accessed by public transportation or Torino’s hop-on-and-off bus along with surprising, stunning vistas of the city of nearly 900,000, as well as the Italian Alps in the distance.
Beyond those historically significant spots, the city’s two signature museums, Mole Antonelliana/National Museum of Cinema and the Museo Egizio, are particularly appealing for the envelope-pushing interactivity and visually appealing interiors. The cinema museum, somewhat reminiscent of New York City’s Guggenheim Museum, has a central exhibit that changes every few months and delves into a specific aspect of filmmaking, such as set design, cinematography, character development and iconic costumes. Permanent installations, including small viewing rooms, incorporate whimsical design with classic and familiar film clips. For example, you can step inside a saloon to view vintage Westerns or a spooky room to glimpse horror movie clips.
The Egyptian museum’s admission includes a complimentary use of a guided tour device with narration in several languages, as well as a few devised for children. The set-up carries visitors from room to room, providing deeper insight into ancient Egyptian culture, lifestyle and archaeology than the mummies, frescoes and artifacts displayed alone can provide. As Turin is also the home to automaker Fiat, those with a need for speed will delight in the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile, with more than 200 cars as well as the Fiat Lingotto Factory’s rooftop test track. Although the Mid-Century building has been transformed into a hotel (DoubleTree by Hilton Turin Lingotto), shopping mall and entertainment complex, its rooftop track is still in operation. Here, cars were tested before they made it to the streets and appeared on the screen, most famously in the 1960s film caper The Italian Job.
The Lingotto neighborhood is also a paradise for foodies, with it being the site for the original Eataly, which spawned locations around the world (including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles). As one would expect, there’s a sumptuous array of pizza and pasta, food samples galore, cooking classes and other activities for aficionados of all ages. However, to witness a more local dining scene, families can head to the city’s Mercato Central to see where locals shop and experience its new extension with cooking class facilities, a live performance area, affordable outposts of some of the city’s top restaurants and, of course, bakeries, gelato vendors and a vegetarian restaurant.
Beyond the polished glass and brass, Torino’s large proliferation of time-honored chocolate and gelato shops in the city center stir the senses, not only with hand-crafted sweet treats, but also the ornate Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Belle Époque interiors. Kids will be impressed with the fact it is not only the birthplace of Nutella, but also the ice cream bar (a.k.a, “The Pinguino,” invented at Gelati Pepino Turin in 1939), bicerin (the most indulgent hot chocolate drink) and original, covered Gallerias, shopping areas lined with European and Italian fashion retailers as well as more gelato and chocolate shops. While interesting, independent boutiques can be found along side streets and narrow alleys, those who love shopping should do a little treasure hunting at Mercato della Crocetta in one of the city’s most fashionable residential neighborhoods before the shops open.
Sign the family up for a volunteer project while on vacation to create new memories, help others and make the world a better place. Consider one of these organizations for your next family vacation.
When traveling with kids, a lot of factors come into play to ensure happiness and interest. The Family Vacation Guide researched Tripadvisor’s traveler reviews to determine the Top 100 Cities in the United States. Consider these cities when deciding where to vacation. From kid-friendly places to eat, hotels, attractions, ease of navigation and access to options, here are the top 10-ranked cities for kids according to real, family travelers’ reviews.
Disney Parks around the world shut down for months due to the global pandemic. Since then, most parks reopened, but with restrictions like limited capacity, no Fast Passes and more. Guests hoped they would bring back the beloved Fast Pass, allowing guests to skip long lines and head straight to the ride.
The St. Regis Punta Mita encourages guests to take a break from devices with the Disconnect to Reconnect experience. The offer promotes a digital detox, focusing instead on physical and mental wellness.
Before Disney Parks around the world shut down due to the global pandemic, guests were allowed to purchase and enter the parks with an Annual Pass. This ticket let visitors enter the parks multiple times a year, get discounts on food and merchandise, and more. Since reopening, Disney dropped the Annual Pass due to lower capacity and the reservation system. Recently, Disneyland Resort announced a new pass system for frequent visitors: the Magic Key Holder. There are a couple different levels for the passes, so make sure you do your research before purchasing.
Eastern State Penitentiary announced Halloween Nights, a new iteration of its Halloween celebration for 2021. From the creators of its Terror Behind the Walls, Halloween Nights at Eastern State Penitentiary transforms abandoned cellblocks and courtyards into newly designed immersive environments, featuring large-scale video projections and other special effects. Sections of the complex will be open to the public for the first time ever.