10 things to do and see in Turin

A complete and detailed guide about 10 things to do and see in Turin in 1, 2 or 3 days

10 things to do and see in Turin
10 things to do and see in Turin

Turin is the many aspects city. Ancient capital of Savoy, the cradle of Renaissance, industrial capital, city of art and culture, innovation pole. It offers to visitors a perfect combination of architectural and monumental jewels, museums (over 40), art galleries, entertainment,  good food, international events such as the “Salone del Libro”  – the Book Fair, the “Salone del Gusto” – the  Taste fair  and the Torino Film Festival. 

 The Mole Antonelliana, the Egyptian Museum, the royal residences, the Holy Shroud, the gianduiotti are just some of the treasures of the city on the banks of the Po. A trip destination for those who want to know the glories of its splendid past, discovering  his masterpieces, participating in its vibrant cultural life of art exhibitions and festival,  without forgetting  the pleasure to wander among its markets or historical cafés.

If you are looking for a hotel in Turin, we suggest you to choose among those offered by Booking.com. There are about 120 hotels with prices, pictures  and comments of guests already stayed there. Go to Booking.com

Mole Antonelliana in Turin

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Symbol of the city of Turin, the Mole Antonelliana’s construction begun in 1863 and was designed by Alessandro Antonelli to be a synagogue. In 1878 it was sold to the city who wanted to make a monument dedicated to the king of Italy Vittorio Emanuele II.

This unique building, 167 meters high,  has a square base surmounted by the famous dome and spire. It was inaugurated in 1889 with the statue on the spire of the winged genius. In 1905 a five-pointed star replaced the statue of the winged genius that a lightning destroyed the year before. You can reach the “Tempietto”  – little temple (85 m. high)  through a lift made of glass inside the Mole. From the tempietto  you can admire a truly amazing view of Turin. The Antonelli’s building is currently home of the National Museum of Cinema, the only one of its kind in Italy. Museum collections offer to visitors a journey through the history of cinema through a path on five levels: the Archaeology of Cinema, the Film Machine, the collection of posters, the video installations and the great Temple Hall surrounded by 13 chapels that tell about some great themes of the seventh art (Fantastic and Horror, Animated Film, Fiction, Love and Death, Western, etc …).

Where: Via Montebello

How to get there:

Bus: n. 13, 15, 55, 56, 61 (Via Po stop)
n. 16 (Corso San Maurizio stop)
n. 68 (Via Rossini stop)

When: Tuesday – Friday and Sunday from  9 am to 8 pm – Saturday 9 am to 11 pm

Lift: Tuesday – Friday and Sunday 10 am to 8 pm – Saturday 10 am to 11 pm

Never: Monday

Tickets:

Museum: full price € 9.00; reduced € 7.00; Youth (6 to 18 years) € 2.50; free for children up to 5 years, disable people and Torino + Piemonte Card.

Panoramic lift: full € 6.00; reduced € 4,00; free for children up to 5 years, disable people and Torino + Piemonte Card + Lift Museum: full € 12.00; reduced € 9.00; Youth (6 to 18 years) € 5.00; free for children up to 5 years, disable peple and Torino + Piemonte Card.

Piazza Castello in Turin

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The square is the real fulcrum of Turin: this has always been the central point this city, from the Roman age to Renaissance. Piazza Castello, as it appears today, was designed by Ascanio Vitozzi in 1584 thanks to the Duke Carlo Emanuele I.

The square, surrounded on three sides by elegant arcades built in different periods, is the setting for important historic town buildings: the austere Royal Palace, residence of the King of Sardinia until 1659, and then of Vittorio Emanuele II King of Italy, until to 1865; the Teatro Regio; the Palace of the Regional Council; the Government’s Palace (now the office of the Prefecture); the Secretariats; the Armory and the Royal Library, containing the famous red chalk  Self-portrait  of Leonardo da Vinci. The heart of the square is the imposing Palazzo Madama, the ancient castle from which it takes its name, surrounded by three monuments: the sculpture dedicated to the Flag – Beare, monument to the Sardinian Army, an equestrian monument that celebrates the Knights of Italy and the statue of Emanuele Filiberto Duke of Savoy. Piazza Castello is also the meeting point of the four major streets of Turin: Via Roma, Via Pietro Micca, Via Po and Via Garibaldi, one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe.

Palazzo Madama and the Museum of Ancient Art in Turin

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The Civic Museum of Ancient Art  is settled in Palazzo Madama, but this beautiful building has been a fortress castle. It has been also the residence of two “Madame Reali”  – Royal Madams – Maria Cristina of France and Giovanna of Savoy-Nemours, under whose reign the building was enlarged and embellished. In particular, in 1718 Filippo Juvarra, architect of the Savoy  house, designed and built the great western façade and the imposing staircase, undisputed masterpiece of the Baroque.

The thousands objects, preserved in the beautiful setting of the palace show ten centuries of the history of Italian and European artistic production (from the Middle Ages to the Baroque). The visit is organized on four levels: in the underground floor there is the Medieval Lapidary with stone sculptures and jewelery (XII-XIII century); The ground floor houses Gothic sculptures, paintings and precious objects (XIII-XVI century); the first floor is devoted to the arts of the XVII and XVIII century with paintings, furnishings and  decor of the rooms; the second floor, dedicated to decorative arts from all periods, contains ceramics, ivories, textiles, glass. Among the masterpieces of the Museum don’t miss the “Portrait of a Man” by Antonello da Messina, kept in the Tower of Treasures and the Heures de Turin-Milan, the only code in the world illuminated by the Flemish artist Jan van Eyck.

Where: Piazza Castello

How to get here: Bus: 11, 12, 51, 55, 56, 61, 68. Tram: 4, 13, 15, 18

When: from Tuesday to Saturday 10 am to 6 pm, Sunday 10 am to 7 pm.

Never: Monday

Tickets: 10 €, reduced ticket 8 €. Free of charge or people under 18 and disable people. The entrance is free every first Tuesday of every month.

Saint John’s Cathedral and The Chapel of the Holy Shroud in Turin

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The Cathedral of Turin is dedicated to the Saint Patron of the city: St John. It was built between the 1491 and 1498 thanks to Cardinal della Rovere. It has a Renaissance style façade with white marble on which there are three portals decorated with reliefs, and a bell tower in red brick with Juvarra crowning element.  Inside there’s a  latin cross base and three naves with Gothic elements.

In XVII century the Cathedral was enlarged and it was added a chapel in which keeping the Holy Shroud, Baroque masterpiece made by Guarino Guarini. The Chapel hosted for long time the famous relic: the holy shroud should be the linen cloth with which the body of Jesus Christ was covered after the crucifixion and on which is bared the image of the Christ, but 1997 due to a fire it has been seriously damaged. The Holy Shroud is currently exposed in a lying position inside a watertight shrine, in the absence of air and in the presence of an inert gas. During expositions the Shroud is shown in another shrine.

Where Via XX Settembre

When Chapel all days of the week from 7.30 am to 7.30 pm

Tickets Free of charge

Castle and Park of Valentino in Turin

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Close to the city center there is the beautiful river park of Valentino redesigned in ‘800 from French landscape architect Barrillet-Dechamps. The origin of the name is uncertain  (for someone can be traced back to the saint of lovers whose remains are preserved in a church not far away from the park), but the park is well known by jogging and cycling lovers

In the heart of the city park stands the magnificent Castello del Valentino, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with other Piedmontese Savoy residences. With Maria Cristina of France, the Royal Lady who made it her favorite residence, the palace had its best time. Used for different purposes in the following centuries, today the castle is the headquarter of the Polytechnic  Architecture Faculty. Other buildings too are inside the park. One of the most unique is definitely the medieval village, which is a reproduction of a village of ‘400 with fortified houses, shops, streets, drawbridge and Rocca (ie the castle of Borgo). It was built for the International Italian Exhibition of 1884 in Turin as the Hall of Ancient Art and at the end of the event, the complex was kept as a pleasant and attractive place for recreation.

Where: Corso Massimo D’Azeglio

How to get there: Bus:  9 – 16 – 42 – 45 – 45.

When:

Castle: Saturday from 9:30  to 12 am

Borgo: Monday to Sunday from 9  am to 7 pm (from November to March); from 9 am to 8 pm  (from April to October).

Rocca: Tuesday to Sunday  10 am – 5.15 pm (last entry), closed Mondays

Tickets

Castle: Free admission. Reservations required.

Borgo: Free admission.

Rocca: full admission € 6, reduced € 5.

Egyptian Museum in Turin

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This museum, dedicated exclusively to the art and culture of ancient Egypt, is in Turin since two centuries. The foundation of the Museum is dated back in 1826, year in which Carlo Felice, King of Sardinia,  bought the collection of a French consul in Egypt: Bernardino Drovetti.

The collection, successively enriched by purchases and excavations, nowadays is made by more than 30,000 pieces, including statues of pharaohs, sarcophagi, funerary steles, jewelry, everyday objects (there are “only” 6,500 exposed ). This make the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Turin one of the richest Egyptian museums in the world. Among archaeological finds there are : the Statue of Ramesse II and the intact tombs of Kha and Merit, the Mensa Isiaca, the rock temple of Thutmosi III transported from  Elessiya, 200 km at the south of Assuan, and here composed to save it from the artificial lake Nasser after the construction of Assuan’s dike

Where: Via Accademia delle Scienze

How to get there: By train: Porta Nuova station; Porta Susa station ( + bus 55,56 or tram 13 up to Piazza Castello) ; by bus: n. 13, 55, 56, 72. Metro Porta Nuova stop

When: Tuesday – Sunday 8.30 am – 7.30 pm (last entry 6.30 am) closed Monday and 25th December

Tickets: 7,50 €, reduce ticket 3,50 , free for under 18, disable people, and Piedmont + Turin card possessor

The Venaria Reale in Turin

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Carlo Emanuele II wanted the construction of the Venaria Reale as a hunting and pleasure lodge, and it’s one of the magnificent ducal residences in Piedmont. It was built to create a “Crown of Delights” around the capital to testify the power of the Savoy. Built between 1659 and 1679 on a design of Castellamonte, the imposing complex of the Reggia di Venaria developped along a 2 km axis that linked the village, the Royal Palace with the beautiful Hall of Diana and the Gardens.

After the destructions of some parts operated by the French in 1693, it was started a renovation and extension project by Garove. After him, Juvarra, built the decorated  big gallery (known as Diana), the solemn chapel dedicated to Saint Uberto (the saint of hunters), and the building called “Big Stable or ” Citroniera “, magnificent examples of Baroque architecture.

The works of the Royal Palace were completed in the late XVIII century by Alfieri. In 800 it began the long period of decline of the palace (transformed into military barracks) completely ruined a century later. Fortunately a European restoration project has restored the splendor of that place of delight as it was in the past. Since its opening to the public in 2007, the Venaria Reale was declare UNESCO World Heritage Site and  nowadays is among the top five most visited cultural sites in Italy.

Where: Repubblica square 4, Venaria Reale (TO), 10 km far from Turin’s centre

How to get there

Auto: Turin ring road North, exit Venaria or Savonera / Reale;

Dedicated shuttle bus: GTT Venaria Express, GTT Bus: lines 72, 11;

Train: line Torino Dora-Ceres (Venaria stop, Viale Roma).

When

Tuesday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm; Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 9 am to 8 pm. Closed Mondays (except public holidays,  Christmas, who have the same opening times as Sunday), 24 and 25 December. The Palace is open (at the same times on Sunday) in the holidays: New Year (from 11 am ), Epiphany, Easter and Easter Monday, Liberation Day, Labor Day, Republic Day, Assumption, All Saints, and the Feast Saint Stephen

Tickets € 20

GAM Museum of Turin

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Considered one of the main European capitals of contemporary art, Turin was the first Italian city to promote a public collection of modern art. Founded in 1863, the Civic Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art (GAM) has a collection of over 45,000 works including paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, drawings and engravings from the XVIII century to the present, as well as one of the most important European collections of movie and video artist.

The rich museum collection documents especially the Italian art, especially from Piedmont, but there are spaces dedicated to international historical avant-garde and foreign art. The collection includes works by great masters such as Fontanesi, Balla, Boccioni, De Chirico, Ernst, Klee. Since 2009 the works are exhibited according to four thematic paths which change over time to allow the visitor to discover continually the collections. Within the GAM are also present, a video library, the Wunderkammer (chamber of wonders),  a comfortable space where you can admire the works that from time to time are displayed and the Underground Project, exhibition area in the basement to study the contemporary art in relation to the culture of the past century.

Where: Via Magenta

How to get there: Subway line 1: Vinzaglio stops and King Umberto; Bus: 5 /, 14, 14 /, 33, 33 /, 52, 64, 68; Tram: 9, 15.

When: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 to 18.

Never: Monday

Tickets: Adults € 10; reduced € 8.

Things to eat in Turin

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Gourmets don’t have to be worried once in Turin. Here the cuisine is full of dishes and flavors. Excellent products, specialties, succulent preparations make Turin the heart of Piedmont cuisine. From the starters (salami, veal with tuna sauce, vegetables with the famous breadsticks), continuing with the first courses: agnolotti (stuffed pasta with meat) served with braised cooking sauce or butter and sage, and tajarin, fresh pasta long, thin, topped with white truffle sauce or meat offal.

Second courses: meat (boiled, braised in Barolo accompanied by various sauces), cheese (robiole, tome) and the famous bagna caôda,  the oil-based sauce, garlic and anchovies in which you dip raw or cooked vegetables . Great desserts made with chocolate as the bonèt, hazelnut cakes and Gianduja chocolate. All with great red wines (Barolo, Dolcetto, Barbera just to name a few), white wine(Arneis, Moscato) and sweet and dry sparkling wines. And finally liqueurs and digestives: Vermouth (wine mixed with herbs and spices) and grappa made by many grapes, especially that of Barolo.

Where to sleep in Turin

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Turin will never leave you without a place to sleep because it’s full of accommodation facilities: hotels, B&Bs 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 go from luxury hotels with 5 stars to lower categories with two or three stars, all comfortable and settled in the city center

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.

If you are looking for a hotel in Turin, we suggest you to choose among those offered by Booking.com. There are about 120 hotels with prices, pictures  and comments of guests already stayed there. Go to Booking.com