Just a while back I was running the beautiful fields of Tortona, looking at all of the picturesque buildings and thinking to myself: how can everything look so beautiful?
I expected beautiful, but I still fell in love with this tiny city and its ease. I prefer smaller cities. It’s so relaxing to walk the streets without a bunch of tourists around and without all the plastic souvenir shops. Sure, language barrier can be a problem then and for example finding restaurants, but I think it’s worth a little trouble.
Though to be fair, we didn’t have much trouble. My sister has been living in Italy, in Tortona, for a year and she now speaks Italian and did all the talking for us. But the one time my Italian speaking sister wasn’t with us when we ordered coffee – well, I enjoyed the smallest cup of coffee I have ever seen. It was cute, now that I’m thinking of it. But definitely not what I ordered.
Tortona is beautiful and quiet. But there are still things you can see and do, cute little cafès and shops. But bear in mind: there are no tourists. Therefore there are not that many that speak or even understand English. So any knowledge in Italian will come in handy.
And you will get some stares. Being the only tourist in the city speaking a foreign language. But people were friendly and I loved my visit.
What to do and see in Tortona, Italy
My favorite thing to do in a new city is to just walk around and not really have a whole lot of particular things to see or do. As I mentioned, I love spending my time exploring the city and its little shops and cafes. That I do recommend doing in Tortona!
This place was also excellent for running or walking, which was nice, because that’s not always the case when travelling. For example in Rhodes we went for a run and it was very inconvenient.
I want to give a little shoutout to a small jewellery store called L’oro. We bought these beautiful bracelets from there and the owner was so warm and kind, even though the store was a bit busy at the time. Now every time I wear my bracelet I remember that little store and our trip and I can’t help but smile.
This I checked out actually while running. It’s a beautiful – well – golden Madonna. But it is pretty.
Duomo di Tortona
I’m not huge on churches, but somehow I end up checking them out anyway when travelling. Especially when I travel with my sister, who’s a priest. Duomo was beautiful and way bigger than I anticipated. Also, going in to a church from a busy (well, “busy”) street, it’s nice to go into a space that is totally quiet and calm. Duomo was free, at least we didn’t have to pay.
Parco de Castello
(Castello di Tortona) A nice park that is on a hill. You get a nice workout just walking up! The park also had some old ruins which are always cool to look at. Also a good place to jog or work out.
Molino Alpha Restaurant
There are restaurants in Tortona, but unfortunately we only got to visit two of them as we mainly just cooked at my sister’s place. One nice place I have to recommend though and that is Molino Alpha (pizzeria restaurant). Unfortunately there wasn’t gluten-free pizza. I don’t have coeliac’s disease, but I don’t really tolerate gluten well. Gluten-free food was hard to find altogether. At another pizza place I asked for gluten-free pizza and the waiter told me that “the dough has very little gluten, because the pizza is thin”. Impeccable logic, really. If only my stomach agreed.
Would I visit Tortona again?
Yes! I would love to run in the fields again and have gelato in one of the cute cafes. I think you can make a nice day trip there from Milan, or stay for a few nights.
Do you prefer big cities or do you like smaller ones?