Darkness descended and we found ourselves conjuring up all sorts of scenarios as we stood in Turin’s Piazza Statuto.
And then in stepped Mirella. Appropriately dressed in black, it seemed we were in for a night of scary stories courtesy of the Magic Turin tour.
But with a twinkle in her eye and an easy manner, we were soon under her spell and engrossed in the fascinating two souls of Italy’s first capital.
Turin is a smart city, full of beautiful baroque architecture, chic shops and restaurants and a plethora of museums and attractions.
Wherever you look, you will see the soaring spire of the Mole Antonelliana, a majestic 19th century tower, now home to the fascinating interactive National Museum of Cinema.
But there are two sides to this charming city and there lies the intrigue. One soul is linked to white magic and the other to the evil black and Mirella was expert in delving into both worlds.
The Somewhere Tours and Event activity is two and a half hours of fascination, with the meeting point at the Piazza Statuto deliberate, after all in Roman times this beautiful square was the scene of many executions.
At the heart of it, is a monument to those who lost their lives building the Fréjus Road Tunnel, which connects Italy with France.
Perched on the top is a winged genius, which some believe is Lucifer, the spirit of evil, enticing you into Mirella’s world, which takes you around the city at night and past scary stone monsters, sinister architecture and unusual statutes adorning ancient buildings.
Thankfully during the day, Turin is a little less scary, in fact it is positively beautiful! Jumping aboard the City Sightseeing Bus is a great way of not only getting your bearings, but also making sure you see as much as you can.
There are three routes on this city tour and a great stop off is the Automobile Museum. Celebrating its 91st year, this gem opened in 1932 and is a showcase for Turin’s ties to the car industry.
Dubbed the city of the automobile, Turin, in the Piemonte region, has a long tradition of car building, with Fiat one of its most famous and the interactive museum plays homage to the industry, with displays of vintage motors right up to dream cars.
For real enthusiasts, a visit to the Lingotto factory, which stood out by having a test track on the roof is still an option, the building now houses an art gallery, but the circuit is still open to view.
Using a Torino and Piemonte card allows you to see lots of attractions and The National Museum of Cinema is one not to miss. A lift takes you up this magnificent building, a former synagogue, and out to a panoramic view of the city. Built in 1863, it was the tallest brick building in Europe, and you can see far out to the nearby Alps.
Inside the museum, you can relive the great history of the screen through the ages and then relax and watch films or use the latest technology.
As well as cars, Turin is known for its coffee and the Lavazza brand. A museum dedicated to brew is based at the firm’s headquarters and carrying a mini expresso cup, you can tour around and discover its humble beginnings, right up to the modern day and supplying coffee pods in space.
The Tornio and Piemonte card also gives entry to Museo Egizio, (https://www.museoegizio.it/en/ ) the oldest Egyptian museum in the world, with 4,000 years of history and artefacts to discover.
Walking around Turin is a great way to drink in its magic and one of the most impressive buildings is the Musei Reali Torino, the royal palace, packed full of art, armoury and distinguished rooms. Most important is the Chapel of the Holy Shroud, a linen cloth imprinted with the image which most Christians identify with the deposed Christ.
A few miles outside the city and just past the infamous Juventus Football Club, is Reggia Di Venaria, a former hunting lodge for Charles Emmanuel II, with superb architecture and art and a UNESCO world heritage site.
Street art makes up modern Turin and the streets of one of the city’s oldest districts, Campidoglio, is home to a 24-hour gallery, with 72 pieces adorning buildings. Also look out for stone nods to the bull, the symbol of the city.
Food and drink are a big draw to the city, with the hot chocolate delight, Bicerin, a popular beverage, the cube shaped croissant, the Crubik, a must to try, along with scrumptious gelato and breadsticks, invented in Turin in the first half of the 1600s and shaped like a French baguette.
For a place steeped in dark features, it really is a magic spot to explore!
Rebecca Hay is an experienced travel writer and member of The British Guild of Travel Writers. Follow her adventures with her family on Twitter and Instagram @emojiadventurer and on Facebook via EmojiAdventurers2.