Turin Top 10

10 things you must see and do during your stay in Turin

The capital of Piedmont region is a city with a majestic architecture, an elegant appearance and an old-fashioned air. After the Winter Olympic Games of 2006 the city has been restructured and it gained again its splendour. This city has been the Italy capital, and this is still evident in its architecture. Nowadays Turin is also the seat of important and numerous cultural initiatives, as the Salone del Libro (an annual books fair in which are present all the principal Italian publishing houses) and the Salone del Gusto (annual food fair that has among its organizers Slow Food association). The monument symbol of the city is the Mole Antonelliana, that today houses the National Museum of Cinema. Turin is the city of the very big and wide streets with their beautiful arcades that lead to the Po river. The elegant palaces and the gallerias, where you can breathe a little past. Turin city of the mystery, because it is called “the city of the devil” (with Lyon and Prague it is one of the three cities which compose the “devil triangle”) but at the same time here is preserved one of the most celebrated relics: the Shroud of Turin. The Egyptian Museum is the feather on its cap, the second museum in importance after the Cairo’s one. There are so many reasons to visit this city that we want to help you, we begin with the 10 things that you must not miss.

The Mole Antonelliana in Turin Turin - Mole Antonelliana - Photo by Stefano

The Mole Antonelliana in Turin

Symbol of the city, the Mole Antonelliana was conceived to become a synagogue when the works began in 1863, it was projected by the architect Alessandro Antonelli. The Mole was at the centre of numerous polemics so it was finished in 1889, but the particular ups and downs of this beautiful monument wasn’t finished yet. In August of 1904 a lightning struck the statue which was on the top, which was substituted with a star, and in 1958 an hurricane, destroyed 47 metres of the pinnacle, which was rebuilt in 1961 as a metal structure covered with stone. Thanks to an innovative panoramic elevator you can arrive on the top of the Mole in every period of the year and enjoy a breathtaking panorama of Turin. The Mole is 163,35 meters high, and it is the highest monument of Italy. But the exterior is not everything: inside the Mole there’s the National Museum of Cinema, that will make you live the history of Cinema from the beginnings, with a suggestive and emotional path.

Information to visit the Mole Antonelliana:

When: Tuesday – Friday and Public Holidays 10 am to 8 pm – Saturday 10 am to 11 pm
Never: Monday
Tickets: Panoramic elevator 4,50 €, reduced tickets 3,20 €; National Museum of the Cinema: 6,50 €, reduced tickets 2,00 € Tickets Museum + elevator: 8,00 €, reduced tickets 4,50 €

The Castle square in Turin Turin - Castle Square - Photo by Marcos.zion

The Castle square in Turin

This square is the real fulcrum of Turin: this has always been the central point of the life of this city, since the Roman age. The square is surrounded by arcades on three sides in four, every one built in a different period, and in the centre rise Palazzo Madama, or the castle that gives name to the square. From here the four big streets of Turin start: Via Roma, Via Pietro Micca, Via Po and Via Garibaldi, the latter is a pedestrian street since 1998 and it’s one of the longest of Europe. This square was planned in 1584 from Ascanio Vitozzi, in the square there was the Castle yet which was built in 1200. This Castle was perfectly integrated in the new project and later embellished by the baroque façade made by Filippo Juvarra. Important palaces gives onto the square: The Royal Theatre, built in 1700; The Palace of Giunta Regionale; The Government Palace, nowadays seat of the Prefecture; The Armory and the Royal Library, the latter keeps works of Leonardo da Vinci. The Castle is surrounded by three statues: the Alfiere dell’Esercito sardo by Vincenzo Vela, which is in front of the façade of Palazzo Madama; the Cavalieri d’Italia, made by Pietro Canonica, and the Emanuele Filiberto duca d’Aosta based on a project made by Eugenio Baroni.

Palazzo Madama and the Antique Art Museum of Turin Turin - Palazzo Madama (Interior) - Photo by Paolo Crosetto

Palazzo Madama and the Antique Art Museum of Turin

The stupendous Palazzo Madama is in the centre of the Castle Square and today it is the seat of the Antique Art Museum. The façade of the Palace, a work made by Filippo Juvarra, gives onto via Garibaldi and it is of an extraordinary beauty. The Museum, hosted in this exceptional place, has a particular collection organized in two paths: the first one is dedicated to the history of the rooms that you visit, the second one is dedicated to the works contained in the rooms. The collections are organized in the four floors of the Palace and they will make you live a real time voyage. In the basement there’s the Lapidario Medievale, which contains stone sculptures and goldsmith’s art works. On the first floor there are art works dated from Middle Age to Renaissance, in the Torre dei Tesori (litt. Treasure’s tower) is kept the beautiful portrait by Antonello da Messina titled “Ritratto d’uomo”. In the baroque style rooms of the first floor are kept masterpieces of 1600 and 1700: paintings, furnitures and ornaments. On the second floor you’ll find works of decorative arts: ivory, ceramics, goldsmith works, stained-glass and tissues.

Informations to visit the Antique Art Museum of Turin

When: from Tuesday to Saturday 10 am to 8 pm, Sunday 10 am to 8 pm.
Never: Monday
Tickets: 7,50 € reduced ticket 6 €. The entrance is free every first Tuesday of every month.
How to get here: from the stations of Porta Nuova and Porta Susa you can reach the Palace by feet, passing through via Roma and via Garibaldi. Bus: 11, 12, 51, 55, 56, 61, 68. Tram: 4, 13, 15, 18

Turin Cathedral and The Chapel of the Holy Shroud Turin - St John Cathedral

Turin Cathedral and The Chapel of the Holy Shroud

The Cathedral of Turin is dedicated to the Saint Patron of the city: St John. It was built between the 1491 and 1498 and it’s the only building in Renaissance style of the city, this church was asked by the Cardinal Domenico della Rovere and the initial project was made by the architect Meo del Caprina. To build the cathedral three mediaeval churches were pulled down: St John, St Mary and one dedicated to the Saviour. Even if St John Cathedral has been restructured many times during the centuries, it has never lost its original appearance. In XVII century the church was enlarged and it was added a chapel in which keeping the Holy Shroud, the works and the project was made by Guarino Guarini. The Chapel hosted for long time the famous relic: the holy shroud should be the linen cloth with which was covered the body of Jesus Christ after the crucifixion and on which is bared the image of the Christ. Every year hundreds of pilgrims go to this Chapel to see this unbelievable relic. In 1997 due to a fire, the chapel made by Guarini has been seriously damaged and it’s still closed for works. The Holy Shroud is currently exposed in a new glass shrine and kept in controlled ambient.

Castle and Park of Valentino in Turin Turin - Valentino Castle - Photo by Nando Scafroglia

Castle and Park of Valentino in Turin

The Castle and the park of Valentino are situated in the centre of the city near the Po riverside. The origin of the castle is dated back in the XIII century. It was bought by Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy in 1564, under suggestion of Andrea Palladio. But the current appearance of the castle is the consequence of the will of Maria Cristina of France, who wanted a castle which followed in style of the castles built in that period in France (1620). The legend tells that the duchess wanted this castle as place for its love meetings, and that she used to kill her lovers throwing them into a well.
The building is horseshoe shaped with four towers and a central court with a marble pave. The park, that today is a public space, completely surrounds the castle. It is very loved by the Turin city dwellers. During 1884 Universal Exposition there was built a reproduction of a medieval village, which is still there and nowadays is used for temporary exhibitions. The park has been seat for flower shows, among these Flor 1961 of which remains the stone garden and the mountain garden, characterized by little waterfalls, fountains and little rivers. In the park deserve a visit the rococo style fountain, made by Ceppi, also known as “Twelve months fountain”.

Egyptian Museum in Turin Turin - The Goddess Sekhmet - Photo by robylab

Egyptian Museum in Turin

This museum, second in importance only after El Cairo one, is in Turin from two centuries. The Palace in which it’s hosted is dated back in XVII century and it’s the seat of the Science Academy (which hosts Savoyard Gallery also). The foundation of the Museum is dated back in 1826, by Carlo Felice who bought the collection of a French consul in Egypt: Bernardino Drovetti. The collection was successively enriched by finds of Ernesto Schiapparelli. The most known archaeological finds there conserved are: The Papyrus of Turin (or Royal Canon), a document which helps to reconstruct the sequence of kings which followed one other on the throne of Egypt; The Papyrus of the Gold Mines, on which is represented a map of a mining site in Nubia; The intact tombs of Kha and Merit, Kha was the chief architect of the works for king Amenhotep III tomb, and Merit was his wife. There are also conserved the statues of the goddess Isis and Sekhet and a statue of Ramesses II, which was found in the temple of the goddess Mut a Karnak. The latest important acquisition, in the ‘70’s, was the little temple of Ellesija, given from the Egypt to Italy, as thanks for the work made in the safeguard of the archaeological sites menaced from the construction of Aswan dam.

Information to visit the Egyptian Museum of Turin:

Tickets: 7,50 €, reduce ticket 3,50 (young 18-25 years, teachers, helpers), free entrance for under 18 and disabled.
When: from Tuesday to Sunday 8,30 am – 7,30 pm (last entrance 6,30 pm)
How to get here: Train: from Porta Nuova or Porta Susa station, bus 55 or 56 or tram 13, stop “Piazza Castello”; Bus 13, 55, 56, 72; Metro, stop: “Porta Nuova”.

Eating in Turin Turin - Agnolotti - Photo by walimai73

Eating in Turin

Hearty eater will be happy to tickle their palate in Turin, this city has a lot of typical dishes and products, from the first courses to the pastries. The typical pasta of Turin is the “agnolotti”, it’s a pasta made with small pieces of flattened pasta dough, folded over with a meat stuffing. The origin of this kind of pasta are very popular, people used to make them on Monday to utilize the leftovers of the Sunday meal. The best way to eat this pasta is with the brasato, a sauce made with meat. The preparation requires the meat to be marinated in the Barolo wine. An other typical dish is the bagna cauda, a sauce, its principal ingredient is the ail, it’s generally served in little pots and with raw or cooked vegetables. But the real masterpieces of Turin food are the cakes, and to be exact: chocolate. In Turin there are real experts of chocolate, probably helped by the fantastic nuts, produced in the area. Indeed the most know Turin chocolate is the Gianduiotto, chocolate prepared with nuts, but even the “nocciolini”, little biscuits made in an traditional way in the little town of Chivasso. Just few words on the wines: the Piedmont is very known for its wine production. Among the white wines: Gavi and Langhe, or if you prefer red wines: Dolcetto, Barbera, Barolo, Nebbiolo and Barbaresco.

Going out in Turin Turin - Going out - Photo by bluviolin

Going out in Turin

Turin during the night changes its aspect and from cultural city rich of museums, monuments and churches becomes the capital of the fun. Everything begins at the aperitif hours, the streets illuminates, people move in direction of the cafes, wine bars and clubs to listen live music or eat something. It was in occasion of the Olympic games that Turin showed its funny and live character to the rest of the world.
The area where you can find many clubs is the “Murazzi”, on the Po riverside, the scenario is charming and here there are the coolest clubs of Turin. In the Park of the Valentino there is the “Chalet disco club” a club which in the latest year is become a real point of meeting for all Turin’s young. In Vittorio Square you’ll find a lot of cocktail bar, where spend your night, and in particular we want to point out for you the “Big Mama”, which has very 90’s style.

Shopping in Turin Turin - Antique shop - Photo by Klearchos Kapoutsis

Shopping in Turin

Turin gives to the shopping addicted a lot of possibilities, from typical shops to the big commercial chains to the street markets. Via Roma is the real centre of the city, with its typical arcades, and the two parallel streets, via Carlo Alberto and via Lagrange, will show you the stupendous shop windows of the greatest national and international fashion names. In San Carlo Square you’ll find the most luxurious and elegant shops of Turin. Via Po is a very beautiful street that brings you to Vittorio Square. Here you can find some antiquities shops and book shops. Via Garibaldi is the longest street of Europe, and it will be a pleasant walk if you choose to pass into their alleys, where you’ll find old workshops and vanguard shops. Via Monferrato is the street of the fashion ateliers of young stylist and typical products shops, where you can buy the typical wines. Turin has a lot of streets market, 49 more or less, but the biggest and the more known is the Porta Palazzo street market. Don’t forget that this is the biggest street market of Europe.

Sleeping in Turin Turin - Hotel - Photo by Z_dead

Sleeping in Turin

Turin will never leave you without a place to sleep, it is full of accommodation facilities: hotels, B&B and hostels. The elegant and refined hotels or the prestigious historical houses, where you can transform your holiday in an unforgettable experience. The recent openings of great chains in Turin, as Holiday Inn and Best Western enriched the choice and the variety of solutions. The proposals are very various and go from luxury hotels to lower categories. As always it depends of your wallet.
The hostels are very beautiful and really suitable for young people who don’t want to spend too much. The greatest part of hostels are in the centre of the city.