The Italians call it “Torino,” a vibrant city in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy considered one of the most important cultural, economic and industrial centers in the country (and FIAT’s headquarters).
It’s often said that Turin is the most French city in Italy mainly because from the late 13th century to Italy’s unification in 1861, the city was the capital of the House of Savoy, the ruling family of the Kingdom of Italy. As a result, the city’s architects were inspired by the tastes of the French court.
Turin is situated between the picturesque Alps and the Po River, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The city has a mild climate and offers a wide range of activities for visitors, including skiing, hiking, and cycling. It’s also home to amazing museums, galleries and historical landmarks.
And let’s not forget the Juventus Football Club is here, one of the most successful soccer teams in Italy.
So, what is there to do in Turin? Probably more than you think, as one of our Naples, Italy neighbors who grew up in Turin once proclaimed, “It’s not just about Fiat, Fiat, Fiat.”
Visit the Mole Antonelliana
This iconic landmark dominates the city skyline as the tallest museum in the world and is home to the National Museum of Cinema.
Construction began in 1863 on what was originally planned as a synagogue. Due to financial difficulties however, the building was eventually purchased by the City of Turin and repurposed as a museum.
Visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the city and the surrounding Alps from the top of the tower.
Explore the Royal Palace of Turin
This historic palace known as the Palazzo Reale was once the official residence of the House of Savoy and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Built in the 17th century with extensive renovations in both the 18th and 19th centuries, the imposing structure with a stunning façade featuring an ornate staircase and lavish decorations is open to visitors.
History lovers can explore the opulent royal apartments and admire the palace’s magnificent art collections. Valuable books and manuscripts include a copy of the Gutenberg Bible and Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex on the Flight of Birds.
Enjoy the Local Food Specialties
Yes, eating is considered a major attraction in Turin.
The city is known for its delicious Piedmontese cuisine, especially its chocolate and wine. When you go, be sure to try some of the local specialties, such as bagna cauda made with garlic and anchovies agnolotti (filled ravioli with meat sauce) and gianduiotti (chocolate ingots wrapped in gold and silver foil).
Visit the Egyptian Museum
Museo Egizio is one of the largest collections of Egyptian artifacts in the world outside of Cairo. It was founded 1824 by King Charles Felix of Savoy.
The museum has a vast collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts, including mummies, statues, jewelry, and everyday objects. Its collection is considered one of the most important outside of Egypt, spanning over 5,000 years of Egyptian history.
Some of the most famous items in the museum’s collection include the statue of Ramses II, the Tomb of Kha and Merit, and the famous Turin King List, a papyrus that lists the names of Egyptian pharaohs from the earliest times up to the reign of Ramses II.
Take a Stroll in Valentino Park
Valentino Park, located along the banks of the Po River features extensive lawns, gardens, fountains, and winding paths popular for strolling, jogging, or cycling.
The park is also home to several historic buildings, including the Castello del Valentino, a 17th-century castle that now serves as the main campus of the Politecnico di Torino, and the Borgo Medievale, a reconstructed medieval village that is now a popular tourist attraction.
Other highlights of Valentino Park include the Giardino Botanico Alpino “Viotti,” a botanical garden dedicated to Alpine flora, and the Fontana dei Dodici Mesi, a fountain featuring 12 sculptures representing the months of the year.
Discover the Piazza Castello
Piazza Castello is one of the most iconic significant squares in Turin. It is also home to the Turin Cathedral, which houses the famous Shroud of Turin, a piece of cloth believed by some to be the burial shroud of Jesus Christ.
The most prominent building here is the Palazzo Madama, originally built in the 13th century as a fortress, later becoming the residence of the House of Savoy. Today, the Palazzo Madama houses the Museum of Ancient Art, which features an impressive collection of artwork and artifacts from the ancient world.
Explore the Lingotto Complex
A former Fiat car factory, the complex was built between 1916 and 1923. The Lingotto was one of the most advanced factories of its time, featuring a rooftop test track, which was later turned into a modern exhibition and conference center.
The rooftop test track was also restored and transformed into a public space that offers stunning views of Turin.
Visit the Basilica di Superga
This beautiful baroque church located on a hill overlooking Turin offers stunning views of the city and surrounding Alps. It was constructed between 1717 and 1731 by order of Victor Amadeus II, the Duke of Savoy, as a votive offering for the victory of the Battle of Turin in 1706.
Designed by the architect Filippo Juvarra, the church is considered one of his masterpieces. It features a stunning dome, the tallest in the region, and a grand façade with intricate decorations and statues. The interior of the church is equally impressive, with ornate altars, frescoes, and marble columns.
The Basilica di Superga is renowned for its royal tombs, including Victor Amadeus II and his successors, buried in the crypt beneath the church. The tombs are ornately decorated and feature sculptures and reliefs by famous artists of the time.
Accessible by car or cable car, the basilica a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
Reggia di Venaria Reale
Turin certainly has its glitzy historic households, including the Venaria, constructed in the mid-17th century.
The massive complex, its stables and striking formal gardens are now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Brought back to life and reopened in 2011 after decades of work, Venaria now offers a great, family-oriented day outdoors, especially in the summer, as well as the opportunity to witness the extraordinarily privileged lives of the Savoy family.
The Fountain of the Stag dances to music in a lake just outside the palazzo. A mock-Roman Fountain of Hercules to discover in the grounds and permanent exhibitions in the house, including the Peopling the Palaces lightshow conceived by Peter Greenaway, who also had a hand in the exhibitions at the Museum of Cinema in Turin.architecturehistoricmuseum
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