Historic cafés in Turin
Although you can find them all over Italy, the historic cafés of Turin do deserve a special mention.
Italians love visiting them when travelling around the country and many famous people were their clients.
In those historic cafés you can find, usually on a clearly visible wall, the diploma that certifies them as a "Historic Site". To be entitled to it at least 50 years of continuous activity are required.
This diploma does not grant any privilege, but it serves to attract a large number of clients.
It is the oldest "historic" café in Turin, founded in 1763.
Al Bicerin in Piedmontese means "go for a cup of coffee".
The coffee based drink that takes the name from this café (bicerin) is unique and prepared from centuries ago with a secret recipe.
That drink is a combination of coffee, hot chocolate and cream. These three consistencies do not mix and are drunk, from the same cup, one after the other. This allows you to feel the special flavour of each of them.
Even the temperature inside the same cup differs: it ranges from hot chocolate to cold cream.
The “bicerin” gives energy and satiates for a few hours. It was initially created for the priests of a nearby church who had to spend many long hours during winter in the cold temple. With this drink they were able to warm up quickly.
In the 19th century this café was visited by important political leaders of the Italian Resurgence like Camilo Benzo Cavour. Personalities such as Verdi or Nietzsche were also its frequent clients.
Having a try at a “bicerin” is the ideal way to complete a guided tour of Turin!
The Café San Carlo was first opened in 1822 under the name "Café on the Army Square", since the modern square of San Carlo, in those days, was called the Army Square.
It has become the most famous meeting point in Turin for intellectuals and patriots of the Risorgimento movement (unification of Italy).
Due to the particularly political orientation of many of its clients, the cafe was forced to close several times along different times.
It is decorated with stucco mouldings, mirrors, statues and gilded niches, as a witness of that era. This Café was often called the “Royal Café ”.
It was visited by representatives of the literary bohemia, university teachers, journalists, writers and artists. It was an intellectual salon with a patriotic orientation, where the Italian unification movement was supported.
The French writer Alexander Dumas first tasted here the “bicerin”, a famous Turin drink made with hot coffee, dark chocolate and cream. The Admiral Kani and the Duke of the Abruzzi planned here their grand expedition to the Antarctica on the Polar Star.
There have been many interesting facts concerning the Café San Carlo; It was the first institution in Europe to be lit by gas lamps.
During World War II, the Café was bombed, being its restoration completed on 1963.
Nowadays, the Café San Carlo offers its visitors not only to plunge into its historical atmosphere, but also a very high-quality coffee, other drinks of its own and home made pastries and ice-cream.
Both at lunch and at dinner you can enjoy here a hot meal in its restaurant area, where traditional and especially refined Piedmontese cuisine based dishes are offered.
Why not to book a tourist tour of Turin with the guide Liudmila to discover many more curiosities, secrets and interesting facts of Turin?