Historic Cafes of Turin: A Journey Through Time and Taste

April 29, 2024 in Travel & Destinations by Charlotte Sinclair

Caffè Platti since 1870

Turin, a city celebrated for its refined architecture and rich cultural heritage, is also renowned for its historic cafes, more so than any other city in Italy. These establishments, some operating for over a century, are not just cafes but monuments of gastronomy and tradition, nestled under the elegant arcades and colonnades of Turin's grand squares.

Iconic cafes like Caffè Mulassano, which opened its doors in 1907, and Al Bicerin, dating back to 1763, are landmarks in their own right. Other venerable institutions include Caffè San Carlo from 1822, Caffè Platti since 1870, and Baratti & Milano, established in 1858. Each cafe offers a window into the past, where patrons can sip on a coffee or aperitif in the very same setting where generations before them have.

Caffè Platti since 1870
Caffè Mulassano, which opened its doors in 1907

The mid-19th century in Turin saw every reputable cafe, bar, or restaurant employ what we would now call a master bartender—individuals who crafted and closely guarded the recipes for the establishment’s signature aperitifs. These beverages, particularly vermouths, were unique to each bartender and establishment, contributing to a rich tapestry of local flavors and traditions. Some, like the vermouth from Caffè Mulassano, are still produced today, testament to their enduring popularity and quality.

Turin’s social and cultural landscape

These historic cafes are more than just places to eat and drink; they are cultural institutions that have contributed significantly to Turin’s social and cultural landscape. Each cafe holds stories of artistic and political discussions that have shaped the intellectual history of Italy. The architecture and ambiance of these cafes reflect the elegance and charm of Turin itself, making them popular spots not just for locals but for tourists seeking to experience the authentic Italian cafe culture.

Al Bicerin

Visitors to these cafes can enjoy a range of traditional Italian pastries and coffees, or evening aperitifs, each with a story to tell. From the vaulted ceilings and mirrored walls of Caffè San Carlo to the intimate and historical setting of Al Bicerin, these establishments promise an immersive experience into the culinary and cultural history of Italy.

Baratti & Milano
Baratti & Milano

Turin invites coffee enthusiasts, history buffs, and culinary tourists alike to explore its historic cafes, where every sip and bite offers a taste of history and a peek into the refined Turinese way of life.

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