Well, this certainly is different

The morning started with us finalizing our packing and getting ready to head out for our Airbnb in Mango. Mango is in the Piedmont Wine Country near Alba, Bra, Asti, Barbaresco, etc. To finish the packing, though, Dave had to go to the market and buy that extra suitcase. We need to bring some things home with us and there isn’t any room in the two suitcases we have.

Once packed up, we stopped at our cafeteria for one last cappuccino and a crème croissant. Well, it turns out that the one croissant they had when Dave was coming back from the market was gone. Instead, he found that they sell a piccolo crème croissant. It’s a little over half the size of a regular one. That’s what we should have been eating all along.

Picolo crema croissant
Other patrons at the caffeteria and our barista on the right

Once done with breakfast, it was time to retrieve our bags and head to the car. That all went smoothly, but driving out of the city was, again, a challenge. Dave only missed one turn, but the stress of the trip to the highway was unnecessary. 😊 After we left the city, the trip was very easy. The topography of the area was a significant change from yesterday. This land is flat. The cities are on plateaus, but there are fields everywhere. The land around Torino/Turin seemed to be corn and other similar crops. As we neared Bra, we could see that there were more vineyards coming into play.

We parked the car in Bra, stopped at the ATM at the post office (Jim taught Dave that there are no fees charged at these ATMs), and started walking. Well, wouldn’t you know it, there is a morning market in Bra. We picked up some coffee pods and a felted necklace. Continuing on we came upon, wait for it, a church. This one, Chiesa Sant’ Andrea, was so dark inside that we had no idea what things looked like. Fortunately, the camera on our phone does a nice job of “illuminating” things without a flash.

Bra market and Chiesa Sant’ Andrea
Altar in Chiesa Sant’ Andrea
Chapel in Chiesa Sant’ Andrea
Chiesa Sant’ Andrea
Chiesa Sant’ Andrea
Chapel in Chiesa Sant’ Andrea
Sculpture of Jesus being baptised by John the Baptist

We walked on to our lunch reservation at Osteria Boccondivino, one of the “slow food” restaurants in Italy. Here we had Steak Tartare with White Truffles, Tajarin “40 egg yolks” with butter and sage, and Tajarin “40 egg yolks” with meat sauce. Everything was amazing, but we decided that the white truffles with the tartare was not necessary. The flavor of the truffles was very subtle, though aromatic. The tajarin was rich. The richness was especially noticeable when combined with the butter and sage. We also had a glass of wine. Linda had a local Timorasso “Dethona” ’20 and Dave had a Barolo from 2017. The wines were outstanding.

Street in Bra
Street scene in Bra
Entry to Osteria Boccondivino
Dave at Oseria Boccondivino
Slow Food Movement logo
Steak Tartare with White Truffle
Tajarin and bread
Tajarin with butter and sage (notice the varieance in the width of the noodles; definitely hand cut)

We then walked back to the car. Well, we attempted to walk back. It turns out there’s more than one post office in the area we were. Oddly, we both found the same post office on our phones and we took off walking. After a while, we went, “Hey, none of this is familiar.” We looked, again, and found the right post office and started off, again.

St. Rocco’s Church
Bra street; – death notices are posted on the bulletin board on the right

Back at the car, we took off for Alba. This is truly a vibrant city. So vibrant, we couldn’t find a parking space. We may get back there tomorrow or Sunday. We continued our drive to Mango. It was a beautiful drive through more vineyards than we’ve ever seen. The curvy roads made the journey slower than expected, but it was worth it. Unfortunately, the skies were hazy, so we didn’t get much in the way of pictures.

Vineyards along drive to Mango
Vineyards along drive to Mango

We arrived a little early, so we had to wait for our host to drive down from Torino/Turin to meet us. Since we were a bit early, we drove to the house a looked around Mango. This feels a lot like our visit to Ripabottoni. A smaller downtown area, but in this case more housing and buildings in the vineyards, than the fields in Ripabottoni. We returned to the gas station where we were to meet Silvano and his mother, our hosts. They arrived within 10 minutes and we were on our way to the house.

Oh, my … this house was Dave’s splurge for the trip.  This was the only Airbnb that Dave didn’t ask Linda what she thought about it. While we have had nice places to stay up to now, this place is over the top. It’s probably a 2,500-3,000 square foot house that is immaculate. It’s good we didn’t start with this.

Front of Airbnb
Roberta and Silvano, our Airbnb hosts
View from kitchen in Airbnb
First floor living area
View to loft area
Airbnb loft area
View to living area from loft in Airbnb
View from loft area
Green bedroom in Airbnb
Blue bedroom at Airbnb
View from bedbrooms

For dinner, we went into Mango to the Poli Bar (in fairness, if you were going to eat, it was the only place to go). We each had a glass of wine and we had a mixed meat and cheese plate. It was great and the owner of the bar was the sweetness guy. We communicated through Google Translate and he so wanted to make sure we were happy, it made us glad we came. When Dave said maybe we’d see him tomorrow, he said, “No, we are closed on Saturday and Sunday. I need to be with my family.”

Mortadella, ham, cheese, salami
Dave and locals at the Poli Bar in Mango

After dinner we returned to the house and relaxed.

Exterior of Airbnb lit up
Airbnb at night
Nealy a full moon
Wall in Airbnb

If you would like to look at more details on the pictures or additional pictures you can click here: 2022-10-07 Torino to Mango

Those Are Some Impressive Mountains

Dave started the day trying to get the extra suitcase issue resolved. But it will have to wait another day as we had a date with Monte Cervino (The Matterhorn).

We had our usual breakfast at our usual caffeteria.

Two cappuccinos, a chocolate croissant, and a crema croissant

We then headed out of Torino around 10:00 by rental car, carefully navigating the busy streets. Quite nerve-wracking! It seemed a bit hazy as we drove north, hoping it would clear so we could get some good pictures in Breuil-Cervinia, a small ski town just south of the Italian border with Switzerland. It took almost 2 hours to get there and the most difficult, of course, was getting out of Turin. GPS works wonders and it is funny to listen to the same dude you hear give directions at home, rattling off the long names of these Italian streets. Then there are his distance directions, all in meters and kilometers. Can’t he just say six blocks?!

Just like on the train the other day, the terrain turned quickly to mountains and as we exited the freeway ($12 for a 1+ hour ride) onto two-lane roads, we were on the lookout for snow-covered mountains. It took less then 15 minutes to find them and then we rounded a corner and There It Was: Monte Cervino (The Matterhorn). At 14,700 ft in elevation, it is part of the Italian and Swiss Alps. Because part of it is in Italy, they can claim that it is their tallest mountain. The air was crisp, about 60 degrees and the sky was clear and blue. Perfect for picture-taking.

Homes in the valley below the Italian Alps
Town in the valley on the way to Breuil
Autumn colors and Alpen Mountains
Buildings on the way to Breuil
Italian Alps and changing colors
Italian Alps … we don’t know what these bicyclists are thinking pedaling up this roadway
Alpen scenery
Alpen scenery
Alpen scenery
Alpen scenery
Alpen scenery
Alpen scenery
Alpen scenery

We parked the car on the street and walked around, snapping selfies and long-range mountain views. The architecture here is totally Swiss Chalet. Being a very small town, there were more hotels than anything (winter ski season is coming next week), some nice boutiques and shops, one church and only one restaurant serving lunch at this time. We stopped at the Eden Pub, which was packed with men who looked to be mostly 30-something guys, who had come in from work for lunch. Dave figured that they were ski lift employees getting things ready for the coming season. We were bummed that the tram wasn’t in service yet – we could only imagine the view from up there – and getting there would be something special too.

Linda, Dave, and Monte Cervino
Linda, Dave, the valley, and the Italian Alps
View in Breuil
Italian Alps from Breuil with church in foreground
Breuil, Italy (we planned, at one time, to stay in the upper part of the building on the right)
Breuil, Italy
Dave, Linda Monte Cervino, and Breuil
Dave, Linda, the Italian Alps
Breuil, Italy
Alpen View
Panoramic view of Italian Alps

We ordered off the menu (unlike the workmen who appeared to get all the same thing – lasagna followed by a meat/potato/vegetable plate). There must have been 50 guys stopping in for lunch and they were gone again 30 minutes later. Linda had a beer and homemade raviolini soup (small rectangular ravioli filled with meat and cheese in a chicken broth, served with parmesan cheese). Dave had red wine and pappardelle with porcini mushrooms and shrimp.  The bread has improved coming north – the crust isn’t nearly as hard and the soft white inside is holey and chewy – and there were also breadsticks in the basket. Everything was delicious. We decided that we couldn’t not get dessert as they had Apple Strudel on the menu: YUM – perfect apples and raisins in a dark sugar and cinnamon sauce covered in flakey pastry with thick whipped cream on the side. It was a favorite of ours when we were in Austria years ago and we never pass it up. Too bad we needed to drive back; we could’ve used a nap.

Workmen having their lunch in Breuil
Beer, bread, and wine at le Bistrot de l’Abbe
Pappardelle with porcini mushrooms and shrimp at le Bistrot de l’Abbe
Linda eating her homemade raviolini in chicken broth at le Bistrot de l’Abbe
Apple Strudel and cappuccino at le Bistrot de l’Abbe

We got back to Turin around 4 pm. Linda worked on the blog wording while Dave navigated the hundred-plus pictures. Then we talked about what to do on our last night in Turin. We have hit a lot of the nearby restaurants but the closest one and it is always busy. So busy that the noise can be heard through our windows four stories up. We took a little walk then got to Poormanger just after they opened. As it turns out, their claim to fame are baked potatoes with different fillings. The potato inside the skins are soft, like twice-baked. We each had wine, red for Dave and white for Linda, then ordered: Dave got one called Carbonara which had a creamy cheese, tons of bacon and pecorino; Linda’s was Thai Pollo which was large chicken chunks in a creamy Thai chili/yellow curry sauce with yellow pepper. Both were outstanding and very reasonably priced. We walked along the main shopping street to window shop then went to our favorite gelato shop here – the girl who helps us spent 3 years in Canada and could converse well. Dave had salted caramel and cookies & cream; Linda had mango and raspberry. 

Potato Jacket at Poormanger filled with carbonara sauce, pork cheek, pepper, and pecorino cheese
Potato Jacket at Poormanger with Thai chicken, coconut milk, yellow peppers, ginger, onion, coriander, lime and chili

Back at the apartment around 20:45, we finished up the blog and talked about tomorrow. We’ll be heading south to some of the best wine country in Italy later in the morning.

Markets, markets everywhere

The morning started quietly and with thanks. Thankful for a good night’s sleep and a quiet, clean apartment.

We left the apartment this morning to walk across the piazza to our morning coffee and pastry shop, Caffeteria Palazzo di Citta. Thankful, again, that they were open today. We each had a cappuccino, one crema cannoli, and one crema croissant. The croissant blew us away and we look forward to coming back tomorrow to get two of those.

Cappuccino, Crema Croissant, and Crema Cannoli

From there, we started walking to one of the two markets we’ll visit today (opposite directions, of course). Along the way, we stopped at a cioccolateria (chocolate shop). We checked out the local chocolate candies that were available and said we would return later.

We continued our walk to the market and, lo, and behold, we came upon a church. This one, Chiesa di San Domenico, felt much more like a neighborhood church, not a tourist stop. We thought it was pretty on the outside, so we walked in. The interior, while not lavish, was very nice to see. After leaving the building, we worked on getting some exterior photos. One older woman, seemed quite upset with Dave for taking pictures. She just stood there looking at him. When he stopped taking pictures, she continued on her way. Not really sure what that was about.

Chiesa di San Domenico
Mosaic floor in Chiesa di San Domenio
Altar in Chiesa di San Domenico
Stained Glass window in Chiesa di San Domenico
Stained Glass window in Chiesa di San Domenico
Neither of us could find a light shining on this painting, so between how the artist painted it and the light from the window above, Mary and the baby Jesus jump out at you.
Close-up of Mary and Baby Jesus in painting
Dave was surprised by the Star of David design in this light in Chiesa di San Domenico
Chapel in Chiesa di San Domenico
Exterior of Chiesa di San Domenico with lady who either wanted to be in the picture or didn’t like Dave taking pictures

We made our way to the Porta Palazzo market. This was a huge market with everything ranging from used (I mean consignment) clothing to housewares to luggage to food of all kinds. It was a fun market to stroll though. Dave is looking for a piece of luggage for us to bring some items back with us. Our only purchase was some green beans. The market was exciting for all its sounds and characters.

Used clothing items at Porta Palazzo Market
Porta Palazzo Market
Porta Palazzo market inside food market
Linda checking at the bakery at Porta Palazzo Market
Meat market and bread vendor at Porta Palazzo Market
Fresh pasta in Porta Palazzo Market
Butcher shop in Porta Palazzo Market
Did someone say they needed a calf’s head … sorry, Norman
Seafood in Porta Palazzo Market
Seafood in Porta Palazzo Market
Butchery and sausage trailer in Porta Palazzo Market
Butcher shop in Porta Palazzo Market
Produce vendors at Porta Palazzo Market
Pumpkin or zucca is a very important crop here
Porto Palazzo Market
Porto Palazzo Market

Staying true to our word, on the way back to the apartment we stopped and bought our chocolate candies. Fortunately, we didn’t need to buy much at this price.

Candies at the cioccolateria
Candies at cioccolateria

We stopped at the apartment and rested a little bit. All the activity is taking a toll on us physically, especially Linda, for back and hip pain.

We then headed the other direction from the apartment and went to another market, Market Valdocco Palestro. This market is similar, but smaller than this morning’s market. It is set up on a boulevard with stalls on either side of the sidewalk. The big item of interest here is the Nescafe coffee pods. Vivien and Joseph have a machine for them, so we are checking to see if they have any interest. Dave liked the morning market more than the afternoon; Linda felt the afternoon market drew a better clientele.

Neighborhood near Market Valdocco Palestro; seems a bit more upscale here
Neighborhood near Market Valdocco Palestro; seems a bit more upscale here
Tables in Market Valdocco Palestro
Tables in Market Valdocco Palestro
Tables in Market Valdocco Palestro

On our way home we stopped at Pasticceria Tamborini (this name is similar to the salumeria we went to in Bologna … Tamburini, but clearly different. We decided to have a bicerin here, since the place we wanted to go to is closed today. A bicerin is a hot drink made with espresso, drinking chocolate, and milk/whipped cream. It is an expensive concoction, but very tasty. We became aware of it in Stanley Tucci’s show “Searching for Italy”. One thing we knew was you didn’t stir the drink, you just drank it. Well, one of us had to stir it to get it all together. The other just created a channel through the whipped cream to let the other liquids through it.

Bicerin at Pasticceria Tamborini
What we expected to be biscotti, but turned out to be more like a lady finger

We continued to the apartment and relaxed before Dave headed out to get our rental car. We aren’t leaving until Friday, but it was cheaper to rent the car on Wednesday than on Friday or Thursday. We’ll use the car to go to Breuil-Cervinia tomorrow and then over the weekend in the Bra-Alba-Mango-Asti area. Dave came back slightly unnerved as there were detours along his route to the parking garage and what should have been a ten-minute trip turned into a 35-minute trip. His only hope is that with the re-routing, he didn’t end up in a limited traffic zone.

After Dave got back, we started to get ready for dinner. It’s been a while since we ate dinner, we’ve typically done a heavier lunch and skipped dinner. Tonight’s dinner was at Porta di Savona, a location recommended by Lonely Planet. The food and service were great. Linda had a mixed salad and trout with hazelnuts. Dave had veal tartare with caramelized onions, Caprino cheese, and hazelnuts and agnolotti with meat sauce. For dessert we had Bonet Langarole (chocolate and macaroons pudding).

Tonight’s house wines of choice
Mixed Salad
Veal tartare with caramelized onions, Crapino cheese, and hazelnuts
Trout with hazelnuts and fennel
Agnolotti with meat sauce
Bonet Langarolo (chocolate and macaroons pudding)

After a nice walk home, where we saw a cool church, we settled in for the night.

Cheisa della Santissima Annuziata – sorry, not interior pictures … lol

Same city … new place

This morning started with us cleaning off more dirt that settled over night and packing our bags. Dave thinks unlike at home where his clothes shrink, they seem to have expanded in the suitcase, because it keeps getting harder to close the suitcase.

With the blog in decent shape and everything packed up, we decided to get pastries and coffee at our new favorite place, Caffeteria Palazzo di Citta. Oh, can the day get worse? They are closed. We tried a place called Coffee Joint. They had mediocre doughnuts and coffee. We won’t be back. They did have Wi-Fi, though, so we got the blog uploaded there.

Chocolate filled doughnut, apple pastry, brownie

We then set out for the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. We know you thought you were through with churches. Dave says, sorry, no such luck. The Cathedral is beautiful and it holds the “Shroud of Turin”, the linen in which Christ was supposedly wrapped. While that notion has been proven to be false, it doesn’t stop people from believing.

Cathedral fo St. John the Baptist in Torino; the structure in back is actually part of the Royal Palace
Sanctuary of Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Altar at Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (look through the windows behind the altar … remember that image for later)
Last Supper painting in Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Last Supper painting in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Side Chapel in Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Side Altar in Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Crucifix in Side Altar in Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Statues and frescos in Side Altar in Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Side Chapel in Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

After visiting the Cathedral, we headed off to the Royal Palace of Turin. Matt warned us that it was gaudy, but we thought, heck we’ve been to Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg and the Biltmore. Well, never underestimate Matt’s advice, some of the palace is absolutely gaudier that the other two. Actually, it was nice to walk through the palace and art museum connected to it. Additionally, the free garden area outside was very nice.

Dave chasing woman with camera (seriously, she asked Dave to video her as she walked and then twirled)
Entrance to Palazzo di Reali (Royal Palace)
Chapel of Royal Palace in background
Royal Palace Gardens
This art in the gardens represents the author being in the center of the damaged marble (representing the fire in the Chapel in 1997) fallen around him that now allows him to see.
Your greeting at the Royal Palace
Grand Staircase in Royal Palace
Arrival room
Nothing sets off a gaudy pink room like the addition of bird statues
Wooden floor in the Throne Room in Royal Palace
Armor/military display in Royal Palace
Ceiling in Armor room in Royal Palace
Ceiling and wallIt is essential to protect your horse, too.
With the ostentatiousde display within the palace, we were surprised by the common royal carriage
Armor for horse and knight
Everyday dining at the Royal Palace
Ceiling in meeting room in the Royal Palace
Chapel in the Royal Palace
Chapel in the Royal Palace (you may have seen this in the picture of the altar in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist)
Dome in Chapel in Royal Palace

From there we started back to the apartment (we left our luggage in the old apartment and had to pick it up at 14:00). We decided to stop at “Candy Lisa” after seeing gummy bears half the size of your hand. Linda walked through the store selecting some unique items and Dave talked to the check-out girl. She was quite surprised that we were from the USA and we chose to visit Torino. She wondered why we weren’t in Venice, Milano, or some other tourist location. We said we preferred to visit somewhere that had more of a feel of how the locals lived, though there are plenty of tourists here. As we continued, we stopped at Gelmarket. This place pretty much sells just frozen foods. This means everything from fruit to pasta meals to “second plate” meals, “international foods”, etc.

Palazzo di Madama
We decided we could live in the corner unit of this building
Pizzeria in Torino
This is what cause our pain in our apartment

We arrived at the old apartment at about 13:55, just in time. Since we couldn’t check-in to the new apartment until 15:00, we decided to have lunch in between the two apartments (please remember that the two apartments are 150 feet apart). We had a very good meal at Ristorante Conte Verde. Linda had Spaghetti Carbonara (no cream) and Dave had Spaghetti Bolognese.

Spaghetti Bolognese
Spaghetti Carbonara

The women checking us in arrived while we were eating. After Dave finished his meal, he walked over to check in. We really like this new place. It has a couple of sofa/loveseat places to sit and a desk on which we can do the blog. When Linda got to the apartment, Linda asked Dave, “How is the bed?” Dave thought, “How the hell should I know?”, but instead responded that the girl checking us in asked if I wanted to check out the bed, but he told her, thanks for the offer, but my wife is downstairs. Linda couldn’t stop laughing. Dave didn’t get why she thought this was so funny. Lol

Entry hall
When we lived in Little Rock, we called this a “Keeping Room”
Kitchen, duh
Another, duh, bedroom

After settling in here, we went out for a little more looking around. That involved checking out some men’s stores to get Dave a new shirt (Dave appreciates no comments about his repeat clothing). Not finding anything for that and a Telecom Italia Mobile store that was of no use, we went off to check out a new area. Guess what, they have a church. It is the Church of St. Francis of Assisi (Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi). It is a blasé church from the outside, but has some beauty to it inside.

Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi
Altar in Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi
Chapel in Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi
Chapel in Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi
Chapel in Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi

From there we walked a little more, stopped at Pam grocery to pick up some things, and then dropped them off at the apartment. Dave got a message about where to park the car we are getting tomorrow, so we went to check the location; it’s really close. In fact, it’s very near where we had dinner on Sunday, so we went to Il Molo, which is across the street. We had beer and wine, a meat and cheese plate, and sausages. It was a fun experience.

Meat and Cheese plate
Sausages and potatoes

We then came home (Dave thought … hey, we haven’t had gelato today). As it turns out, Dave didn’t have to twist Linda’s arm too hard to get her to say yes. Dave had Crème di Nonna Elide (kind of an orange flavor) and Cuore di Panna (core of cream … kind of plain). Linda had Gianduia (chocolate-hazelnut) and Mascarpone with Fig and Caramel. While it was good to try somewhere new, it just didn’t measure up to our standards and we won’t be back.

After gelato, we called it a night and settled in for a quiet night.

If you want to see more pictures or more detail in the pictures, you can click here: 2022-10-04 Torino


The morning started with Dave finishing the blog, which took longer than usual because the internet at the apartment is not very stable.

Dave’s version of the morning: Our next piece of excitement was the drilling into the stone/brick wall in the apartment upstairs that is being renovated. That was the last straw for Linda. We will leave this apartment tomorrow and check into a new apartment in the afternoon.

Linda’s version of the morning: I didn’t sleep well and in the middle of the night I got up to take some pain meds and do some hip/ low back exercises on the floor. This sounds fairly ordinary but the flooring in our apartment was made of some kind of hard pebbly plastic. Fun. Neither of us were very pleased with this place – not clean enough, not comfy enough (what?? No couch??), just Not Enough!! In the morning, the construction noise started from upstairs. We were warned just yesterday by the host right before moving in that there might be debris falling from the ceiling!! At 10 am, I informed a not-too-pleased Dave that I was looking at new places. He took a shower and came out more agreeable. We went out for caffe and pastry and found a new place fairly quickly, just a few meters up the same street!

After dealing with that, we headed out to get something to eat at about 11:15. Not the way the day was supposed to go. As we ate our cannoli, we decided we would take a quick trip to Aosta today.

Our barristas today at Caffetteria Palazzo di Citta
Cappuccino, Espresso Latte, Crema Canoli, Zabaglione Canoli

We grabbed a train that was scheduled to leave at 13:25. It finally left the Torino Porto Nuovo station at 13:35. We recognized that we certainly raised the average age on the train.

Old Street Car
Old Street Car
Front of Torino Porto Nuova train station
Linda by interior entry at Torino Porto Nuova

What a day!  Sometimes a surprising change in plans is fun. This was the day we were going to do tomorrow but with the apartment check out/ check in required for Tuesday, we decided to do Aosta today.

Four hours of train ride (that had beautiful views, but lousy windows to try to capture) for a two-hour exploration in Aosta, a gorgeous mountain town that is Italian with Swiss chalet architecture and food that is mostly French. It was magical. We want to go back! Their tourist season is, probably, biggest in winter.

Aosta train station
View of Italian Alps from Aosta
View of Italian Alps from Aosta
View of Italian Alps from Aosta
Arch of Augustus in Aosta
Mura di Aosta – walls that protected Augusta Praetoria (ancient name of Aosta) in Roman times
Mura di Aosta – walls that protected Augusta Praetoria (ancient name of Aosta) in Roman times
View of Italian Alps from Aosta

We had planned to eat, look around town and maybe do a little shopping. Linda found a great yarn shop but couldn’t afford the luggage space. Dave even offered to get another suitcase!  We walked awhile and saw that the 4- star Bistro we were hoping to have late lunch at was closed (website said open till 22:00) we opted for a sandwich shop on Piazza Emile Chanoux across from Town Hall, only to find that they weren’t serving food. The Italian way is coffee and pastry in am (till noon); lunch noon till 15:00; dinner 19:00 to whenever. We’ve been here almost 5 weeks and really should know better.

Piazza Emile Chanoux in Aosta
Town Hall on Piazza Emile Chanoux in Aosta

We shared some great local wines (Petit Arvine and Torrette) then on the walk back towards the train, quickly grabbed ‘take away’ prosciutto and fungi pizza that was folded over (a 12-inch by 5-inch rectangle). And a bottle of water for the train trip back. Dave was anxious to get back so we could finish with our laundry and pack to move tomorrow.

Petit Arvine and Torrette (Aosta regional wines)
People of Aosta on Piazza Emile Chanoux
Souvenir stand in Aosta seems pretty Swiss focused
Street in Aosta
A couple of balconies in Aosta
Two slices of prosciutto and fungi pizza in Aosta

The train trip home was uneventful and arrived about five minutes late. That’s on-time, right? We walked back to the apartment and quickly realized that we made the right decision to leave tomorrow. We were greeted by dust and rock everywhere. We made the mistake of leaving our suitcases open, so it was in there, too. Linda got the worst of that. Oh, and on the bed, too. Yuck! Dave will be suggesting to our host that he put plastic below the exposed beams to catch the stuff.

Dust and stone throughout the apartment

In an effort to calm our nerves, we headed out to find GELATO! Fortunately, we were successful. Dave had Salted Caramel and Tiramisu; Linda had Fig with Ricotta, Almond Cream, and Hazelnut. Time to call it a night. Here’s looking forward to a better Tuesday.

Travel day to Torino/Turin

Linda woke to the noise of breaking glass and ignored it three different times before she finally got out of bed at 7:40. It’s Sunday morning! Why do they need to put their glass recycling out so early?

We weren’t in any hurry to pack up but were ready to move on to Turin. Corniglia was a charming little sea town said to be the quietest in Cinque Terre in terms of tourist activity. They forgot to tell us that the locals live loudly here! LOL

We left the apartment and headed up the hill a bit for breakfast. A couple of the caffe-bars here serve their version of an American breakfast and that is exactly what Dave ordered. Linda, not up for jiggly bacon and eggs, asked for a cured meats/cheese plate with toast. Both breakfasts included a coffee beverage and juice. The orange juice looked more like Tang but tasted more like mandarin – Yum. Our meals were very good and Dave found out too late that he could’ve asked for jam (as the toast was plain).

Today’s breakfast is brought to you by Bar Nunzio
Dave’s runny whites, but hard yolk eggs, cooked, but not crispy bacon, cheese and dry toast … sounds terrible, but it tasted great. In the back, hot water in the picture to water down the Caffe Americano (next), Latte Macchiato, and Orange Juice
Linda’s meats and cheese breakfast

Between breakfast and heading to the train station, we decided to take one more quick walk (quick, primarily because of how small Corniglia is). We stopped at another Oratorio in town. This one had an artistic show going on that was called “Unruled”. There were two woman playing violins.  They sounded fantastic.

Altar area in Oratorio Dei Disciplinati
Ceiling in Oratorio Dei Disciplinati
Two violinists in Oratorio Dei Disciplinati

The little bus to the train station arrived a couple of minutes after we showed up with our gear but unfortunately when the driver checked our 3-day bus/train passes, he informed us that they expired yesterday and offered no alternative other than to walk to the train station. This was not the end of the world as 1) the weather was 65 degrees, 2) it was downhill on a paved (not cobblestone) road, and 3) Dave did all the work! See photo. It took about 20 minutes and we met a few folks who were walking uphill, some with their luggage. We were glad we weren’t them.

Violinists in Oratorio Dei Disciplinati
Nice view of people taking the stairs in Corniglia

We decided to take an earlier train and spend over two hours in a new place, Sestri Levante, just for a change of scenery. It was a very average place and we quickly found a bar open on Sunday with locals sitting outside, smoking and chatting loudly (recurring theme). Dave had a latte macchiato (espresso with steamed milk) and Linda had a birre (beer). It was enjoyable just to listen to the gentlemen who would be about Dominic’s (Dave’s dad) age when he died bantering in their native language, sometimes with their hands but always loudly!

We must be missing our little ones, because we sure like taking pictures of the tots we see.
A beer and a caffe latte, all is well with the world
Sestri Levante train station
Games of chance at the bar in Sestri Levante
Bar area and patrons in Sestri Levante
Italians, primarily men, hanging out at the bar in Sestri Levante. They all arrived in the last hour.
Italians, primarily men, hanging out at the bar in Sestri Levante. They all arrived in the last hour.
Italians outside the bar in Sestri Levante

Back on the train and headed up the coastline, we went through the Italian Riviera then through Genoa. As we left the coast and headed north of Genoa, the terrain turned flatter with more trees. As we approached Turin, the countryside became farmland. We could see the snow-covered Alps in the distance.

Coast along Italian Riviera
Cruise ships in Genoa
Dave working on the blog on the train

Arriving in Torino at about 18:00, we quickly realized that we “we’re not in Kansas, anymore”. We had returned to a big city life. This was obvious from the size of the train station to the bustle of the street as we headed to our apartment. We chose to take a taxi for the one mile. Once we got near our apartment and encountered the crowds, we knew for sure life would be different for the next few days.

Train platform in Torino Porto Nuovo station
Torino Porto Nuovo train station
Torino Porto Nuovo train station

We had a little trouble getting into the apartment building, first, due to Dave not reading all the information telling you how to get in and, second, due to phone service that still doesn’t seem to work well. Once we got in the building, we headed up the elevator (YEA!! … yes, Dave wrote that). We passed through a locked gate that is shared by other apartments residents, a locked gate in front of our apartment, and the locked door to the apartment. We feel very safe, should someone try to get in … lol. For those keeping track, yes, we have five keys, including the one for the elevator.

After dropping off our things and looking around the apartment (that didn’t take long), we headed out to the streets of Torino. We are clearly in the heart of the central city shopping and dining area. The streets and restaurants were both alive and filled with people.

Apartment entry
Apartment bedroom/living room and shower
View out apartment window

Unlike Rome, this city’s streets are laid out in more of a grid fashion. The architecture seems to have less of a “Roman” feel to it, instead a feeling of a French/continental Europe influence.

Street in Torino
Palace of Savoy Senate
Street in Torino
Street in Torino
Street in Torino with the Cathedral dome in background

After looking at a quite a few menus, we settled on a restaurant called Trattoria Da Ale, located in Piazza Corpus Domini. We ordered a half-liter of house wine and Linda ordered the spaghetti with clams and Dave had the lamb chops. Both were outstanding.

Tonight’s dinner location
Spaghetti with clams
Four lamb chops in scottadito and a small salad, diced roasted potatoes showed up later
Cheisa Corpus Domini across from dinner location

In between ordering and receiving our food, two three-wheeled “deliver trucks” called APE, pronounced “ah-peh”, showed up honking their horns loudly and repeatedly. It turned out that in the back of the vehicles were guitars, a drum set, and amplifiers. We thought they might be setting up to play. It turns out that setting up meant playing from the back of the vehicles. They played for quite a while and drew a good-sized crowd. Hopefully, through the videos below, you will get a feel for things. When they were done playing, they packed up the vehicles, started honking their horns again, and drove off. It was really fun.

Street musicians on APes

We then walked around a little more, coming to realize the restaurant was less than two blocks from our apartment. And, a café that Linda thought would be nice for breakfast one day is located right next door. The advantages of city-life, we guess.

If you would like to see more videos of the musicians or more detail on the pictures, you can click here: 2022-10-02 Corniglia-Sestri Levante-Torino