“When the horns stopped blowing in Via Roma, it was like a kind of signal. Everything came to a halt. The big, elegant cars slowed down, the gentlemen raised their hats and the ladies dropped curtseys. Even the storekeepers came out quickly and attentively to exchange greetings. The customers inside the shops watched everything through the windows, smiling. Then Umberto, Mafalda and Maria of Savoy would come walking along, more elegant than anyone else, their heads held high. They moved with the kind of dignity of people who had learnt how to walk as the family of a king should walk. And as soon as they appeared in Piazza San Carlo, liveried waiters would come out of the Caffè Torino to welcome them, like a whole squad of butlers, with the old owner of the Caffè to the fore...”


This image of Turin in the 1930s shows how the life of a busy, lively city revolved aroud a few special focal points. The Caffè Torino was - and still is - one of the most important of these.

The Caffè Torino first opened in 1903. Its founder was courageous enough - and enough of an entrepreneur - to want to enter into competition with the famous old cafes which has overlooked the wonderful Piazza San Carlo for so many years. He turned the Caffè Torino into a kind a salon. The Caffè Torino was decorated according to the taste which prevailed at the turn of the century: beautiful marble, painted medallions, finely embossed long benches of wood and marble, a sumptuous staircase and beautiful gilded mirrors. It is the kind of taste which is timeless and which still looks good today.

The Caffè Torino itself is timeless and unforgettable. It has been the ideal setting for a wealth of scenes and stories - sometimes historical, sometimes cultural, sometimes just worldly and sophisticated. Many illustrious people, from Pavese to Einaudi to De Gasperi, used to go to the Caffè Torino. Some of the legendary stars of the 1950s also went there - James Stewart for one, the beautiful Ava Gardner, when she was in love with Walter Chiari, for another, Brigitte Bardot, at her most stunning... and this is not to mention the unforgettable Erminio Macario.

The Caffè Torino miraculously managed to escape unharmed from the Allied bombing raids in November 1942. It then entered a whole new phase of glamour during the glittering 1950s, which were in such contrast to the grey depression and sadness of the war years. At that time, people could even sit outside during the winter thanks to a system of heating which used infrared rays. The fashion for sitting outside in winter is now coming back - so the Caffè Torino was fifty years or so ahead of its time.

People from Turin like to stop and look at the windows of the Caffè Torino. A good number of tourists doing the same thing have been pleasantly surprised. There are wonderful displays of good things in the windws, just as there were almost a certury ago. There are sweetes and chocolates on siver trays and beautifully packaged specialities made by expert confectioners and pastry-makers. These displays outdo themselves at Christmas and Easter, when the delicious things on view become veritable works of art - so much so that they have even been featured in the pages of “Life”.

The Caffè Torino is now almost a hundred tears old. It still maintains the original furnishings and decorations, which look as good today as they did when the Caffè Torino opened. Its rarities have remained unchanged through time. The quality of its exclusive recipes, and the care with which they are prepared, has also remained unchanged. Its delicious delicacies are still unique. Even a simple cup of hot chocolate has an extra special something different at the Caffè Torino.

The Caffè Torino is an ode to good taste - in every sense of the word - and it now boasts an elegant restaurant. Anyone who yearns for more of the Caffè Torino’s irresestible Belle Epoque atmosphere, and who finds that breakfast does not provide enough of it, can now return for lunch. They can enjoy a delicious meal in unique surroundings - a wonderful combination which keeps people coming back for more... and more... and more.