Learn about Piedmontese wine
The vineyard-covered landscapes of Piedmont’s Langhe-Roero and Monferatto regions have been recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which should give some indication of how much respect the wine has garnered. The protected landscape covers five distinct wine-growing regions with centuries-old grape varieties popular the world over. So, why not visit one of the city’s many enotecas, and with the help of knowledgable barmen learn the difference between Barolo and Barbaresco, or discover if you prefer Asti Spumante or Moscato d’Asti. Basically it’s daytime drinking because it’s raining, but the sophisticated Italian way. Vinarium Enoteca and Enoteca Botz come recommended.
Attend a matinée at the opera house
Located in the heart of the city in Piazza Castello, Teatro Regio Torino is the city’s main opera house that stages concerts, ballets and operas between October and June. It hosts internationally-prestigious touring companies and artists, so there is bound to be something spectacular showing when you visit. You can purchase tickets online or at two box office sales points: Via Garibaldi on the corner of Piazza Castello or Via Rossini 8. Typically evening shows sell out, but matinées are always less popular so it is worth trying your luck. In addition, one hour before the performance begins, any remaining tickets or returned tickets are put on sale the price reduced by about 20 per cent.
Or catch a matinée at one of the art house cinemas
If classical music is not your vibe, Turin also has a high concentration of art house cinemas that screen films in the original language. The city has a strong film culture as it is home to both the Torino Film Festival and Italy’s first and only museum dedicated to cinema: the Museo Nazionale del Cinema housed within the Mole Antonelliana, the pinnacle of the Turin skyline. We suggest trying Cinema Massimo (part of the Mole Antonelliana complex), Cinema Centrale Arthouse, or Cinema Fratelli Marx, but check out a complete list here and find the one closest to your hotel.
Relax at the spa
The luxurious QC Terme Torino is located inside the 19th-century Palazzo Abegg and its regal gardens. On a rainy day you can skip the gardens and utilise the indoor pools, bio saunas and indulge in the treatments and therapies on offer. Admission is €36.
Take your time with a tasting menu
Piedmont cuisine is indulgent and rich, and many of the region’s traditional products are world-renowned; for example, its quality Fassona beef and the coveted Tartufo Bianco d’Alba (Alba white truffle). As the region’s capital, it’s no surprise that Turin has become somewhat of a foodie-heaven with many gourmet and Michelin-starred restaurants. A rainy day is a perfect opportunity to indulge in a lengthy tasting menu. Check out our guide to Turin’s fine dining restaurants to help decide where to go.
Spend as long as you want at the museums
Ancient Egypt, old masters, contemporary art, cinema, cars. Whatever your interests, the museums and galleries of Turin have something to offer you. When it’s raining you can take as long as you want, or even visit more than one. Take your pick from the Culture Trip’s top 10 museums and galleries in the city.
Try your hand at some classic Piedmontese recipes in a cooking class
Piedmont deserves its a reputation as an Italian foodie paradise, rooted in the region’s bounty of white truffles, vineyards that produce some of the country’s finest wines and the fact that it’s where the slow food movement began. This makes it the perfect place to take an Italian cooking class. There are many classes on offer so you can try your hand at any number of dishes. Piedmont is the king of antipasti: a hot speciality is fiori di zucca ripieni: pumpkin, courgette or squash flowers are stuffed with a meat, parmesan and parsley filling and quickly deep-fried.
Also popular is vitello tonnato, which is fine slices of veal served cold with tuna-flavoured mayonnaise and capers. Of course there is also amazing Piedmont pasta for primi piatti: one of the local pasta types is tajarin – a ribbon pasta similar to tagliattelle – and in the autumn and winter months it is typically served with sage, butter and shavings of Alba white truffle. Piedmont secondi piatti (primary fish in a meal) are often rich and meat-based. For a truly personal and authentic Italian cooking experience there is Turin Mamma – Australian host Rosemarie includes a trip to the market to buy the ingredients before teaching you in her home.
Shop for gastronomic gifts at Italy’s original and biggest Eataly supermarket
If the sun is shining while you’re on holiday, going to the supermarket probably doesn’t appeal. But, if it’s raining and you’re suffering from culture/museum malaise, shopping for souvenirs at Eataly is the perfect solution. Trust us, shopping at Eataly is not like your average weekly shop – Eataly Torino is the original store of the now globally-renowned Eataly supermarket chain, located in the Fiat factory complex in Turin’s suburb of Lingotto. Eataly was established with the aim of distributing sustainably and responsibly-sourced Italian produce at affordable prices. It brings together artisanal-quality food from throughout Italy into a convenient superstore set-up so you can return home with a delicious hamper full of regional specialities.