Turin

DO & SEE

Turin (Torino in Italian) is the most elegant and fancy city in Italy. The city center is full of amazing buildings, wide avenues and large squares. Turin is also Italy’s most regal city as this was the seat of the Savoy dynasty. It played an important role to unify Italy as the country we know today.

The capital of Piedmont seems to be off the tourists’ radar but it is a place full of attractions and a trip to this city will make you say “wow!”

A WALK IN TURIN

Start your visit of Turin from its main square. Piazza Castello is the best place to spend hours visiting and admiring this beautiful square. Palazzo Madama is the centerpiece of Piazza Castello. The castle was built in the 13th century and was enlarged in the 15th century. During this time Palazzo Madama was embellished by the Italian architect Filippo Juvarra with handsome baroque fronts and a stunning double staircase. Inside the building you can visit the Museo Civico d’Arte Antica – its permanent collection is the best way to discover the Turin’s history and legacy from the Roman foundation until today.

To the left of Palazzo Madama you will find Palazzo Reale, the Royal Palace of the House of the Savoy dynasty. This palace was placed on the UNESCO site list along with the other 13 residences of the Savoy Dynasty.

Visiting the palace, you will discover its amazing apartments decorated with tapestries and a collection of Chinese and Japanese vases. The Royal Armory of Turin is the world’s most important collection of arms and armor. Along with the Sabaudia Gallery, the Archeological Museum and the Royal Library, the Royal Armory is part of the Musei Reali di Torino (Royal Museums of Turin). The Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista is near to the Royal Palace and it is the first example of Renaissance architecture in Turin. The Cathedral was built between 1492 and 1498 and its main attraction is the one of the most studied and controversial artifacts: the Holy Shroud (Sacra Sindone in Italian).

Near the cathedral, Porta Palatina is the only imposing gate that remains today of the four entrances to the Roman city. Constructed of brick, the legend tells us that Charlemagne camped below this gate in 773 A.D. Around the Porta Palatina you can also see the remains of a Roman theater.

Walking few meters from Piazza Castello you will find Palazzo Carignano. This was the place of Italian parliament from 1861 to 1864 and in the rooms of this building the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed. If you want to learn more about history of Italy as a unified country a visit to the Museum of the Risorgimento is mandatory. In the rooms of this museum you will learn the history of the movement that made the Italian unification possible and discover why Turin played an important role.

Look in your pocket and if you have some coins you will find one of the most important landmarks of Turin. The Mole Antonelliana is not only the flip side of the two cent Italian euro but one of the most important monuments of the city. The Mole Antonelliana, named after its architect Alessandro Antonelli, was built in 1863 as a synagogue and since 2000 it has hosted the National Museum of Cinema. Take a ride to the top with the glass elevator to take a look at an amazing view of the city and surroundings hills.

If you want to take a break, no place is as perfect as Parco del Valentino. Bring along some beers and sandwiches and enjoy the silence of the best-loved public park of Turin. The park is located along the Po river and is the most extended urban green area in Italy. Inside the park you will find the botanical garden and the Baroque Castle (called also Valentino Castle). But the most special thing you can find here is the Medieval Castle and Village. This borgo was built in 1884 for an exhibition and because the people of Turin loved this village so much it was maintained as part of the park. It is a nice place to take a walk!

Continue your visit of the city visiting the beautiful squares and its cafes. One of the most loved squares by the people of Turin is Piazza San Carlo. Here you can find amazing buildings, the churches of Santa Cristina and San Carlo, stylish shops and historic cafes.

HIDDEN SPOTS

Fetta di Polenta

Officially called Palazzo Scaccabarozzi, Fetta di Polenta (Slices of Polenta) was built by the architect Antonelli. This building is oddly shaped: the front is less than 17 meters wide, and the back is 54 centimeters long. Palazzo Fetta di Polenta is in downtown Turin and as the flats are privately owned, you can’t go inside, but you can experience the slice of cornbread from the street.

Museum of Criminal Anthropology

Cesare Lombroso was a criminologist and the father of anthropological criminology. According to his theory some people were “natural born criminals” and race was an indicator of the evolution of humans. For his studies Lombroso had acquired tons of skulls both from soldiers and criminals and in the rooms of this museum you can have an insight into his mind.

Pietro Micca Museum

This museum was built to honor a soldier, Pietro Micca, who sacrificed himself in 1706 to save the city from the French. During a visit of this museum you can tour the tunnels beneath the city.

The dark side of Turin

Turin is a magical city. It is said that the city is both in the white magical triangle (which include Lyons and Prague) and in the black triangle (which includes San Francisco and London). Walking down the streets, you might be surprised by the powerful signals of the city. The fountain of Piazza Statuto, the Gran Madre and Piazza Castello all have something special that can reveal a closer look.

Tramezzini

This city is the place where you can eat the best slow food of Italy. In this region, you can try amazing fassona meat, a glass of Barolo wine and a giandujotto chocolate. But nothing is as Turinese as a tramezzino. Into Café Mulassano, one of the historical cafés of Turin, you can try the best Italian sandwich ever in the place where sandwiches were born. No visit to the city is complete without a bite of tramezzino with truffles and bagna cauda.

TOP MUSEUMS

Museo Egizio (Turin Egyptian Museum)

In this museum, you will find the best collection of Egyptian antiquities in the western world. The Egyptian Museum is hosted in Palazzo dell’Accademia delle Scienze and its huge collection began in 1824 when the King acquired 5000 artifacts for Egypt. The amazing collection includes statues of gods and pharaohs, papyruses, painted linens, mummies and sarcophagi, and two tomb chambers from Thebes.

ADDRESS: Via Accademia delle Scienze 6

WEBSITE: www.museoegizio.org

Galleria Sabauda

Another museum to see inside the Palazzo dell’Accademia delle Scienze is the Galleria Sabauda. The collections of this museum includes masterpieces of Paolo Veronese, Tintoretto, Tiepolo, and Canaletto, as well as Beato Angelico’s Angels in Adoration.

ADDRESS: Via Accademia delle Scienze 6

Galleria d’Arte Moderna

Inside the Galleria d’Arte Moderna you can find the finest collections of modern art in the city. Spend some hours admiring Italian artists such as Modigliani, De Chirico and Guttuso along with Renoir, Klee and Chagall.

ADDRESS: Via Magenta 31, Turin

WEBSITE: www.gamtorino.it/en/

Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile 

For those who are in love with cars, a visit to the National Automobile Museum is mandatory. The museum hosts a collection of antique and classic cars. Just outstanding!

ADDRESS: Corso Unità d’Italia 40

WEBSITE: www.museoauto.it/website/

MAO – Museum of Oriental Art

This is the most complete museum of Eastern Asian art in Italy. Walking in the rooms of this museum you will discover secrets of Chinese, Japanese and Islam art. The museum hosts both a permanent collection and temporary exhibitions.

ADDRESS: www.maotorino.it/en 

WEBSITE Via San Domenico 11

NEARBY DESTINATIONS

Langhe – The land of wine

The Langhe is a hill area near Turin and the perfect place for a day trip through the wine country of Italy. Visiting this land, you will be able to try a glass of one of the wines produced here such as Barolo, Arneis, Dolcetto, Barbera and the famous truffle of Alba. Langhe were included on UNESCO list for its cultural landscapes and winemaking traditions.

Alba

Alba is only one hour by train from Turin and the city is perfect for a day trip. Spend some hours walking in the city center and discovering the food culture. Try some typical cuisine with a plate of tajarin with white truffles, risotto al Barolo, a glass of Dolcetto and piedmonts fondue.

Reggia di Venaria and the Savoy residences

The Palace of Venaria is the Italian equivalent of Versailles. This place of beauty and opulence is just a few kilometers from Turin. Visiting the Venaria you can walk into the apartments of the Savoy dynasty and view the gardens. The Palace was built on the projects of Juvarra and today hosts temporary exhibitios and special events.

NIGHTLIFE

Turin has a vibrant nightlife and offers all you need to spend hours chatting and having fun with friends or meeting local gay men. Start your night drinking a good cocktail at Rhum–a gay-friendly bar in the Quadrilatero, the night district of Turin. If you want to listen good music and dance, Centralino and Queever is what best suits you. Another fun party in town is Les Follies Scandal which hosts some of the most famous drag queens in Italy. For those who want to have a kinky night, the Sauna Club and the Garage Club are perfect places to meet guys and have fun.

BEFORE YOU GO

Turin has one main airport: Turin-Caselle Airport. But you can get to the city with trains arriving from all over Italy. Turin is about 1 hour by train from Milan.

Festivals and main events

There are a several festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Turin each year.

  • March CioccolaTò – Chocolate Fair Trade
  • April Turin Jazz Festival
  • June Pride Week and Pride Parade, Lovers Film Festival
  • September MITO Festival of Music
  • October: Teatro a corte, theatre play in the Palace of Savoy
  • November: Artissima Art Fair Trade at Lingotto
  • December: Christmas Market and Luci d’Artista

Tourist information

When you arrive in Turin get in touch with the local tourist office for more information and to help organize your stay.

Turin Tourism Information: Piazza Castello 161