One of the joys of traveling is experiencing life beyond your comfort zone. Exploring small streets and “doing as the Romans do”. We adults appreciate the finer things like good food, drinks and art. What about the little ones? I don’t know any 2 year olds that want to go through a museum unless it’s interactive. While traveling with little ones is rewarding it is challenging. Those little monkeys need to run around and stretch their legs.
Torino has a beautiful city center. We have pedestrian streets and large piazzas where little ones can run around. However, these are not completely void of cars. Police and taxis go through the pedestrian areas all of the time. So I’ve made it somewhat of a mission to find play areas (REAL ONES) in the city center so that any family that happens to be in town, can find what they looking for.
First up is the Giardino Aiuola Balbo. It’s located just 10 minutes from the Porta Nuova train station. I’ve passed this garden plenty of times but never really looked at it. It’s location is perfectly located near the River Po and among a ton of restaurants. This is important especially in the summer time as wait times for a table could be difficult.
As you can see, this public park is quite impressive. The lawn is gorgeous and gets plenty of sun in the early morning and shade in the late evening. What’s even more impressive is that this historic park was created in….. 1834! There’s a small playground here with 2 slides, see saws, a set of swings and baby swings. There are plenty of benches nearby for parents to rest while the little ones play. I love the wooden carousel. To me it adds a bit of old world charm to the modern hustle and bustle of the city.
We recently visited while waiting for our table at a near by Pizzeria. My girls begged to go back after dinner so that’s always a good sign! Giardino Aiuola Balbo is located on Via dei Mille & Via Academia Albertina.
UPDATED: MARCH 27, 2016
The last time I visited this park, I was with some friends who were in town visiting. We came to rest our tired feet while we waiting for the Pizzeria to open. My friends little boy Big T was off doing his own thing when he came back with a drawing. Turns out there’s a cabinet stocked with paper and markers for the kids to use! I believe they may even supply a few books now and then. This play area is well kept and there’s a wonderful group called Le Mamme dei Giardini di Piazza Cavour that has plenty of activities for kids of all ages that meet in the area. Click on the link to be directed to their Facebook page!
*The city tries its best to upkeep these play areas. They’re cleaned once a week and checked for broken and damaged structures. They’ll often place a sticker on the equipment (usually the swings) with the date and time they controlled everything. There is also small plaque indicating the recommended age for use. While most of these playgrounds are gated some may not be completely closed off and most are located near very busy streets.