Turin, Italy: Confession of a VinoHiker: Too Much Travel and Not Enough Alcohol Education?


Do we properly live up to our motto: Wine Drinkers With a Hiking Problem? OK, we take the definition of hiking VERY loosely. To us, it can mean anything from a 30 minute hike into the Arizona mountains, all the way to a 6 month adventure through Europe by planes, trains, and automobiles. So, with such a loose definition, I think we do a pretty good job of documenting our ‘hikes’ via this blog. But what about the wine drinking part?

A nice Piemonte Barbera from Asti. Turin is located in the heart of the Piemonte wine region.

Do we adequately document the wines in the various regions that we visit? I think not. And now for the confession: as much as we love to experience new wines, and any alcohol for that matter, we really aren’t experts. That is, we know quite a bit about various types of grapes that produce the wines we love. But, can we quote the year of exceptional vintages per location? No! Is our palette refined enough to tell you what flavors we are actually supposed to taste and smell in each wine. No. What we do know is that when we’re looking for a red, we want something that smells like the inside of Grandma’s purse, with a hint of dirty gym socks. Translated, that means that we like lots of tannins and bold young wines meant to be laid down and age. Yes, we like to drink them young. For whites we like the crisper, citrusy, aged in steel versus oak wines. So when we’re in the USA we know what to look for and what wineries are most likely to produce what we like. But, now we’re in Italy and guess what? Other than Chianti we know next to nothing about Italian grapes or what wines are noted in what region.

This is our go to research tool that also doubles as a record keeper.

So we’ve been doing some research. First, we went to a central market and bought a dish towel with a map of Italy that detailed all of its various wine regions, and believe me, there are a lot of them. Tip: Look for the DOC or DOCG sticker on the neck of the bottle to assure that the wine meets the standards for wines of that region. The towel includes what grapes and what wines each region is noted for and as a bonus includes some the the local foods. Not bad for 3 euros, huh? Each time we taste a wine we put a drop of it on the towel next to its name, which is our way of record keeping. Second, we started reading a wine blog called wine folly. Probably the most informative and easy to read blog about wine that we’ve ever seen.

So when we got to Turin our top priority was to search out a Barola

Ahh..the Italian fashion flare. Not our top priority of things to do in Turin, but for those with fashion aspirations. Photo:CK

and a Barbaresco, both made from Nebbiolo grapes. Barola has more tannins, blah, blah, blah. Just go to wine folly for the entire scoop. Suffice it to say, these wines were incredibly tasty and reasonably priced. Also, don’t overlook the Barbera, also from this region. Even less pricey and delicious. I guess I feel a little better, now that I’ve imparted some wine knowledge, so let’s move on to talking about Turin itself; the home of the shroud and grand architecture.

A hologram of the shroud from the Shroud of Turin museum. The museum was interesting but biased towards believers. Photo:CK

Actually, we got off to a rather bad start in Turin. If you read our last post from Feltre, then you know that we had a rental car while we were in Feltre. So we needed to drop the car off at the airport in Bergamo and then wait four hours for our bus to Turin, which meant we arrived into Turin early evening. We needed to catch a local bus to get us to our Airbnb, but we were told that you had to buy the tickets at a Tobac shop, which were all closed. Long story short, we hopped on a trolley without tickets, rode it to within 1km of our lodging, got off and hiked the rest of the way. It’s a really terrible way to run a transportation system. Everywhere else that we’ve gone you could buy tickets on the bus, but not in Turin.

Anyhow, we made it to Geraldine’s flat and what a

Our loft at Geradine’s Airbnb. Very comfortable and snug.

lovely little flat. Near the center of the old district, we merely had to walk out the front door and experience all that is Turin. We had the loft to ourselves, with its domed ceiling and miniature staircase. Our host, a university student, slept on the downstairs couch. She didn’t speak English, but did speak French, which allowed me to get some practice in.

Our 3 days here were filled with picnics in the city parks, museum touring, and walking about taking photos.

Photo taken from a park along the river where we had our picnics and wine.



Pottery over 2500 years old and in amazing condition.

The Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli museum, located in the old Fiat car manufacturer’s building is a don’t miss. The museum on the top floor of the four story building is nestled smack in the middle of an automobile test track on the roof, with banked curves and all. The highlight of the museum were Roman artifacts that dated back to the 3rd century BC.



View from the museum atop the Fiat building. How about this for an automobile test track?


A better view of the test track banked curves four stories above the ground. Yikes!

Turin checked off, it’s time to head off to Genoa. Carrie has us reserved in a BlaBlaCar, a ride sharing service for the 2 hour trip. BlaBlaCar is a wonderful way to meet local people while going

Our BlaBlaCar pickup point.

through the travel grind. This time our driver and copilot were a young professional couple just going to Genoa for the day to visit friends. The name BlaBla is apropos, as the two hours flew by as we exchanged stories about each others lives.

Now that I think about it, maybe the whole wine thing is an excuse to travel and have fun. Maybe that’s why we don’t take it too seriously. We’ll leave that to the Wine Folly. Please forgive us for our ‘sins’ and hang in there with us. It will still be an exciting ride. Whew! I feel better getting that off my chest. More Turin photos below.

Hike Drink Live Laugh


A timely message. This photo was taken in the courtyard of a school.


Takeout Kebap was one of our favorite dinner spots. Gyros or pizzas to go.


The piazza just around the corner from Geraldine’s


Another view of the piazza near Geraldine’s


A view of the Alps and a grand pedestrian walkway taken from atop the Fiat Building.


Churches and statues everywhere you turned.


A view across the river from where we were staying.


Relaxing on a sunny afternoon.


Neon, interspersed with various eras of architecture. See you down the road.


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3 thoughts on “Turin, Italy: Confession of a VinoHiker: Too Much Travel and Not Enough Alcohol Education?

  1. Wine vs hiking: hiking will keep you younger (note especially for Pat, Carrie’s got awhile yet). Great photos: particularly the ones with the “vertical abstracts”: the last one “Ristorante in Grey Tones with touch of gold/yellow on right side” (very elegant/minimalist) and “Attoria Toscana (Takeout Kabap” with blue on left/gold on right = striking and great composition.

    • I don’t know Rae, I think wine plus hiking keeps one young. : >) Thanks for the comments on my photos. The ones you mentioned are also my favorites.

  2. I can imagine the vast selection of great wines that you can pick from. Have you found your favorite yet ? Lately I’ve been drinking a wine called Pinot Grigio and I like it very much. Its a white wine with a delicious taste.

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