One of the things I was most worried about before coming to Torino was the housing situation. This is probably due to the fact that we were not told where we would be living prior to coming here. Anything unknown is usually a cause for worry, especially when going to live in another country. I had no idea which of the three areas of town (downtown, midtown, or near school) was going to be the best fit for me.
Here's the truth: no one area is any "better" than another. Each part of town has its own unique attributes as well as its own pros and cons. Torino is a beautiful (and huge) city with all kinds of things to offer to all kinds of people. I don't think I have heard a single person complain about the area in which they live. Props to USAC!
I was placed in the midtown area of Torino, so basically halfway between school and downtown. Actually, the downtown area is somewhat closer than school (about 2 metro from downtown and about 4 metro stops away from school). To get to school, it takes about 25 minutes. I can either walk to the nearest metro stop which is about 10 minutes away, or take the bus almost directly from my apartment to school. I usually take the metro, since the bus is not as consistent and I like to walk as much as I can (to burn off all the pasta). If the bus arrives when I actually want it to, the journey to school takes about the same amount of time as taking the metro. However, the bus has proved to be very convenient at times. I have found that bus 18 will take me nearly anywhere I need to go.
Overall, I really love the area around me. Yes, it does take a little bit of time to get to school, but we really are at a great half way point between campus and downtown. There is also a huge variety of businesses to choose from. There are several restaurants and retail shops in the area, as well as a few grocery stores and open markets. There are tons of great options for shopping on Via Madama Cristina; I actually found a great pair of boots for only 10 € while shopping there one night. There is also an awesome open market on this street where you can find a great selection of foods as well as clothing and other items at amazing prices.
Of all the great features this area has to offer, Valentino Park is definitely my favorite. I can't believe that such a beautiful park is literally just steps from my apartment. The park runs along the Po River and is quite a contrast from the busy city just over the hill. In this area you can see the amazing Valentino Castle as well as the Medieval Village, both of which are absolutely stunning. I actually walked down to the park just today to enjoy one of the first warm (ish) and sunny days since I've been here. iPhone photos don't exactly do this place justice, but for now I hope it gets the idea across!
Overall, wherever you live there will be positives and negatives. There can never be an "ideal" location in such a large city with so much to see! Every area has something amazing and unique to offer, you just have to get out and explore!
Ciao for now!