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Culture-rich Turin, known locally as Torino, is the capital of the Piedmont region of northern Italy and briefly served as the first national capital when Italy unified in 1861. (Photograph by SIME/eStock Photo)

Marco’s Turin, Italy

For Marco Anfossi, travel is a mindset, a commitment to exploring wherever you are with the open eyes and curious heart of a dreamer, even if it happens to be the place where you were born. It helps when your hometown is as fascinating as his: Turin, Italy.

“I was born here in 1984, and in all these years I have watched my city change,” Marco says. Though he has lived in Turin for more than three decades, as a local he has the time and interest to search out “hidden corners that only a resident would have the time to learn.” And while avid traveler Marco loves to get out and see the world, he always looks forward to returning to the magical place he calls home. Here are a few of his favorite things about Turin.

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Turin Is My City

When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is Piazza Vittorio Veneto, the largest entirely porticoed square in Europe.

October and November are the best times to visit my city because the trees in our city parks are showing off their fantastic changing colors.

You can see my city best from the terrace of the convent of Monte dei Cappuccini.

Locals know to skip the ring road in the early hours of the morning.

The Gran Balon market is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs.

In the past, notable people like Italian unification leader Count of Cavour Camillo Benso, former Fiat head Giovanni Agnelli, and prominent Italian architect Filippo Juvarra have called my city home.

My city’s best museum is the Egyptian Museum because it contains fascinating exhibits that improve our understanding of human history.

If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s that the streets are all perpendicular to each other in keeping with the city planning style of the Roman era, making it very difficult to get lost.

The best place to spend time outdoors in my city is at one of the city’s beautiful urban parks. My favorite: Parco del Valentino.

My city really knows how to celebrate Christmas because the main streets of the city are decorated with beautiful lights thanks to the Luci d’artista project.

You can tell if someone is from my city if he or she knows what a gianduiotto is.

For a fancy night out, I take my friends out to Traballo or to the San Salvario district to check out the beautiful restaurants and bars.

Just outside my city, you can visit the magnificent 17th-century Palace of Venaria.

My city is known for being very quiet and reserved, but it really offers quite an active nightlife scene.

The best outdoor market in my city is the massive Porta Palazzo Market.

Gran Bar is my favorite place to grab breakfast, and Berlicabarbis Bakery is the spot for late-night eats.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I go to Grom Ice Cream Shop to devour some of the best gelato you can find in Turin.

To escape the crowds, I go to Parco Europa to watch the city from above, in the silence of nature, and be alone with my thoughts.

The dish that represents my city best is a ritual meal known as bagna càuda (literally “hot sauce”), and bicerin, a hot espresso beverage made with layers of milk and chocolate, is my city’s signature drink. Sample them at Antica Bruschetteria Pautasso and Caffé al Bicerin, respectively.

Hiroshima Mon Amour is the best place to see live music, but if you’re in the mood to dance, check out Cacao Café.

Viewing the Shroud of Turin could only happen in my city. Stowed away in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, the delicate cloth is only brought out for display on rare occasions. (The next public exhibition will be held in 2020.)

In the spring you should visit the Royal Residences of Piemont and their wonderfully colorful and fragrant gardens.

In the summer you should take part in the festivities surrounding the Feast of Saint John, which honors Turin’s patron saint, John the Baptist, in Piazza Vittorio Veneto with beautiful fireworks.

In the fall you should try to resist the various temptations at the CioccolaTò chocolate fair.

In the winter you should walk the streets of the city center and enjoy the beautiful Christmas spirit.

If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss the Juventus Stadium and Museum, home to Turin’s best local soccer team!