For the past week I have been telling you about the amazing 44 hours spread over three days which we spent in Turin. In such a limited time, we saw a royal palace, landmark buildings, cobbled squares, several world-class museums, two large parks and a medieval village. Plus, the Turin Shroud.
We did it all on public transport and with our little daughter in tow. If you are a parent looking for tips and ideas how to explore Turin with a toddler, have a look. Our experience was very positive and I hope that the following points will be of help to you.
Let’s start with an
from a mobility point of view. Turin is a powerful city crossed by four major rivers and with an illustrious past. We explored extensively its central part and found it very easy and convenient to get from A to B both with our little daughter in her buggy and her walking around with us.
Streets are wide, long and straight, often fully covered by large arcades, which must be very convenient when it rains. There are many car parks, lots of them underground with a huge number of parking places and easy access to points of interest. We found driving in Turin a bit stressful, but the public transport system is well developed with frequent tram and bus services covering the whole city. There is also a metro, but we didn’t need to use it, as for everything we wanted to see there was a convenient tram or bus stop nearby.
Getting on and off the public transport vehicles with buggy was easy, too. They align almost level with the tram and bus stops’ platforms, so there is minimal lifting of the buggy involved. Once inside, we found people to be very considerate and make space for us and the buggy as much as they could.
Talking of people, let me tell you more about the Italian
Attitude to Kids
Kids are loved in Italy and people may often stop to coo over your toddler and even pay you a compliment about the beautiful child you have. Eateries and restaurants are only too happy to accommodate them and kids’ menus include lovely meals like spaghetti bolognese and gnocchi with meat.
Staff in the museums and attractions we visited in Turin were delightful to children, too. For example, the top floor of the royal residence Palazzo Madama is taken by large glass cabinets displaying a priceless collection of china and ceramics. It is a beautiful airy space and our little daughter decided that it was great for a little run around. Her daddy ran after her, eager to catch her, before she had touched anything.
The lady who was supervising the visitors on the floor approached us just then. We expected to be told off for our child running down the aisle. Instead, she had a little chat with us, showed us around and took us to see an exhibit at the back of the room especially made to be touched.
We encountered the same kind approach in all of the other places of interest we went to see. People there seemed to understand parents’ needs.
With so many things to see and do in Turin, it can get really tiresome for a toddler to be dragged around by her parents from place to place. Hence we had developed a little
to make her time in the city as enjoyable as possible. The first step was to ask Turismo Turino – the city’s Tourist Office – for recommendations for kids-friendly activities. Among their suggestions were a visit to:
- Parco del Valentino with its Medieval Village,
- the National Museum of Cinema and the lift inside the Mole Antonelliana,
- the Car Museum,
- the Egyptian Museum,
- the Cremagliera (historical train) to reach the Basilica di Superga and
- the museum A come Ambiente.
- Dedicate the morning to activities which would be exciting for our little daughter.
- Then, while she was asleep in her buggy in the afternoon, to explore in detail a museum or two.
- And to complete the day with a visit to yet another place which she would love.
She could run around, splash in the water overflowing from the fountains and just be free.
The visit to the park was a great success and on our way to the Egyptian museum, our little daughter fell asleep in her buggy which gave us a couple of hours to explore this amazing museum in some detail. If you decide to follow the same route, bear in mind that the Egyptian museum is air-conditioned inside and you may need a blanket to keep your sleeping toddler warm, even though outside is scalding hot. You can take your buggy all over the museum and there are elevators helping you reach its four floors.
In the afternoon, after our little daughter woke up we saw the Turin Shroud and then completed the day with a great visit to the National Museum of Cinema and the Mole Antonelliana where there are many exciting things for a toddler to see and do.
As such the day was a great success. It was tiring, yes, but all three of us saw the things we were interested in and our toddler had lots of opportunities to run around and feel free.
Now, after this outline for places to go to and see in Turin in a day, let me talk about two things of importance to parents.
Honestly, breastfeeding seems such a prickly topic in the UK with people eager to take offence just by mentioning the BF word, but in Italy it seems such a normal part of life that mothers simply breastfeed their babies as and where they are. There are no eyebrows raised, no comments made.
Yes, mothers in Italy are very matter of fact about it. I have seen ladies breastfeeding in waiting rooms, in cafes or simply walking down the street. It is all done discreetly. No blankets or other covers are used.
So, if you need to breastfeed your toddler or your baby, don’t worry how you are going to do it. Relax. If you feel a bit self-conscious, find a quiet bench in the park. Also, start observing how Italian mothers do it and follow their example. I think it is admirable.
The second topic I would like to mention is
Unfortunately, in this regard things are not so well organised. In my ten months of living in Italy I have found less than ten public baby- and toddler-changing facilities in the several towns and cities we have visited. I used to wonder how the Italians deal with it, but now I can tell you that they change nappies matter-of-factly, too.
They seem to either go home, use the car or do it quickly and discreetly in the buggy.
Whilst we were walking around Parco del Valentino, we came across two promotional baby-changing mobile stations (see the first photo in this piece). This was such a novelty idea and it seems to address a huge need. As it happens, the mobile stations were only operational for a week or so the smiling girls and boys staffing them told us. But it is a sign that Italians recognise that there is a problem for parents visiting their country in this respect and seem to be making small steps to address it.
To finish with, I would like to share with you three more
for things to see and do with your toddler in Turin. Kindly note that these are based on my time-limited experience in the city, so I am sure there are many more things to be added to this list. Still, here they are, in no particular order:
- Palazzo Madama – a lavish palace-cum-museum where there is a beautiful garden with fruit trees, benches and lots of swallows and butterflies flying around. In one of the rooms on the first floor, there was also a little table with some puzzles and books for a toddler to spend some happy time with one of the parents whilst the other could have a look around. There is an elevator helping you get around.
- Parco della Pellerina – a lovely park with a river rushing through it and with a nice playground.
- Treats – Turin is famous with its chocolate and ice-cream, so there are many options to treat your toddler.
Have a fabulous time in Turin!