Mysterious city, where black and white magic meets, the former Italian capital. Torino, today’s capital of Piedmont, is all this and more. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have enough time, the top things to do in Turin, Italy, can be squeezed in a couple of days. If you can afford some more time, however, we know you won’t regret it.
- 1 What to do in Turin for a perfect holiday
- 2 A bit of Turin history
- 3 Top things to see and do in Turin
- 3.1 1. Pay a visit to Palazzo Reale and Piazza Castello
- 3.2 2. Explore Palazzo Madama
- 3.3 3. See the Holy Shroud at Duomo di San Giovanni Battista
- 3.4 4. Visit the Real Chiesa di San Lorenzo (Royal Church of San Lorenzo)
- 3.5 5. Discover Egyptian history at the Museo Egizio
- 3.6 6. Pay a visit to UNESCO site Palazzo Carignano
- 3.7 7. Walk around Piazza San Carlo
- 3.8 8. Enjoy the view from the Mole Antonelliana
- 3.9 9. Stroll along the Covered Galleries (Passaggi Coperti)
- 3.10 10. Visit the mysterious Chiesa della Gran Madre di Dio
- 3.11 11. Go to Turin’s magic heart at Piazza Statuto
- 3.12 12. Borgo Medievale and Valentino’s Garden
- 3.13 13. Castello del Valentino
- 3.14 14. Take a day trip to Basilica di Superga
- 3.15 15. Take another day trip to La Venaria Reale
- 3.16 16. Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi
- 3.17 17. Sample the traditional cuisine
- 3.18 18. Enjoy the Bicerin historical drink
- 4 6 reasons why you should visit Turin
- 5 Planning a Turin trip
What to do in Turin for a perfect holiday
A bit of Turin history
The former capital of the Italian kingdom and current capital of the Piedmont region, Turin is a beautiful city in northern Italy.
Turin is a 2000-year-old aristocratic lady. Its origins are linked to the first settlements of Celtic tribes around the 3rd century BC. In 58 BC, Julius Ceasar set up a military settlement, Julia Taurinorum, where the Po and Dora Riparia rivers join, but the official foundation of the city is to be placed in 28 BC when Emperor Octavianus Augustus founded the second outpost and named it Augusta Taurinorum.
From the 4th and 5th centuries, Turin has been under Barbarians’ attack, in 569 the Longobards made the city capital of a dukedom, and in 773 Charlemagne made it the centre of a Frankish countship. In the 10th century, Turin was incorporated in the Marca Arduinica, a vassal territory of the Italic Kingdom and the Sacred Roman Empire created after the fall of the Anscarids rule. In the 11th century, Adelaide di Susa from the Marca Arduinica rulers married Oddone of Savoy, officially kicking off the influence of the Savoy clan over the territory.
Turin as a crucial European hub
For some 1000 years, the Savoys ruled Turin. Widely connected to the other royal families through strategic marriages, they contributed to making it one of the crucial European hubs as well as a magnificent and lively city.
In the 16th century, Turin became the capital of the Savoy Kingdom and in the immediate years, the citadel and the battlements were built. The city centre was given its distinctive Baroque style, austere and elegant.
Architects, artists, and writers started pouring and Turin royal court quickly became a centre for the arts with names such as Torquato Tasso, Gianbattista Marino, and Filippo Juvarra.
In 1706, Turin lived 117 days under the siege of the French Army, but the citadel fought back and the was freed also thanks to the fierce sacrifice of men like Pietro Micca who died in the explosion he himself set off to prevent the French troops from moving forward from the tunnels surrounding the city.
1713 saw Turin become the capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia. More palaces were built and renovated to make it look grand enough for the newly acquired status of the imperial capital.
Napoleon occupied the city in June 1800 demolishing the bastions and the gates and replacing them with the boulevards Paris-style. French became the official language and a guillotine was erected in Piazza Carlo Emanuele. Turin lived French-style until 1814 when the Vienna Congress approved the return of the Savoy with Vittorio Emanuele I as the king.
After strong support to the battles of the Italian Risorgimento, in 1861, Turin became the first capital of unified Italy. Vittorio Emanuele II was declared the last king of the Sardo-Piedmont Kingdom and the first king of Italy. Only four years later, however, and despite fierce protests in Turin, the title of capital of the new nation was given to Florence.
Turin never gave up on its cultural and economic importance. In the late 19th century essential factories such as FIAT and Officine Savigliano were born and at the beginning of the 20th century, Turin was one of the world’s industrial capitals.
Top things to see and do in Turin
Many are the themed itineraries you can follow in Turin. Monumental, lively and proud, Turin is multifaceted. History buffs can follow what I like to call the “royal itinerary”, exploring palaces and buildings linked to the former Italian royal family, the Savoy dynasty, while the lovers of esoteric will easily get caught up in the mysterious crossing between white and black magic.
The great choice of both indoor and outdoor activities and places to see in Turin makes it a perfect destination to visit in every season. Whether you want to know what to see in Turin in one day or you are planning to stay for longer, our guide will help you plan a perfect trip.
1. Pay a visit to Palazzo Reale and Piazza Castello
One of the first Turin sights to include in your itinerary is Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace), the main residence of the Savoy family located in Piazza Castello, the heart of the city from where all the main roads branch off. This is one of the six royal residences located in the city center and declared world heritage site by UNESCO in 1997 alongside 11 other palaces scattered around Turin.
The huge complex of the Musei Reali di Torino includes the Palazzo Reale itself, the Royal Gardens, the Library, the Savoy Gallery, an impressive collection of paintings that includes masterpieces of Beato Angelico, Filippino Lippi, van Dyck, and Rubens, the Armeria Reale (Royal Armory), one of the world’s largest collection of weapons from pre-historic times to WWII, and the Ancient Museum and Roman Theater underground.
Part of the royal museums is also the Chapel preserving the Holy Shroud, which is now under restoration and closed. The shrine where the Holy Shroud is kept can be seen at the Duomo behind the palace.
Some 3-km route, the complex will show you the most crucial moments of Turin’s history from the first Roman settlements to the Italian unification.
The royal complex stands at one end of Piazza Castello, which is believed to be the heart of Turin’s white energy. The line that separates Piazza Castello with Piazzetta Reale, the entrance to the royal palace, is guarded by the statues of Castor and Pollux, and this where the good and evil, the sacred and demoniac, the white and black magic meet.
If you are spending even only one day in Turin, don’t miss its Royal Palace.
Address of Turin’s Palazzo Reale: Piazzetta Reale (Piazza Castello).
Opening hours of Turin’s Palazzo Reale: Tuesday-Sunday 9 am-7 pm (ticket office opens at 8.30 am and closes at 6 pm). Closed on Monday.
Entrance fee to Turin’s Palazzo Reale: 12 € the full ticket, 6 € for 18 to 25-year-old and teachers, free for less than 18-year-old and holders of Torino+Piemonte and Royal cards.
2. Explore Palazzo Madama
Used in the 17th and 18th centuries as a residence for the ladies of the Savoy royal family, Palazzo Madama is actually much older. As a matter of fact, it’s been there since the beginning of Turin’s history. Created as a Roman gate, it was turned into a fortress in the Middle Ages and then became the castle of the Acaia rulers.
In the 19th century, King Carlo Alberto made it the seat of the Senate of the Kingdom of Italy, and since 1934 it has been hosting the Museum of Ancient Art. Today each floor of Palazzo Madama represents an era. And this is why it’s totally one of Turin things to do.
Travel through the Baroque opulence of the queens’ apartments on the first floor, admire the sculptures and paintings from the Gothic period and the Renaissance on the ground floor and visit the medieval remains on the underground level. The second floor is devoted to decorative art collections.
Address of Palazzo Madama: Piazza Castello.
Opening hours of Palazzo Madama: Open daily except Tuesday 10 am-6 pm.
Entrance fee to Palazzo Madama: 10 € for the full ticket for the museum excl. temporary exhibitions, 8 € for visitors between 18 and 25 years old and for older than 65, free for younger than 18 and holders of Torino+Piemonte and Royal cards.
3. See the Holy Shroud at Duomo di San Giovanni Battista
The only Renaissance church in Turin, the Duomo is devoted to John the Baptist. A mix of Baroque and Renaissance styles, the cathedral of Turin today preserves the Holy Shroud. For practising Catholics, or even only cultural tourists, this makes it one of the top things to do in Turin.
The “Sindone” is a 4.42-mt-long and 1.13-mt-wide piece of linen cloth and, according to the tradition, it’s the funerary cloth used to wrap the body of the Christ after it was removed from the cross. The Shroud, or better, the silver and glass shrine can be seen at the very end of the left nave, while in the right nave you can watch a video that explains everything about Christ’s cloth. If you want to know more about the Shroud, you can visit the Museo della Sindone (6 €) in Via San Domenico 28, some 10 minutes walk from the Duomo.
Built at the end of the 15th century by the will of the Savoys and Bishop Domenico della Rovere, Turin’s cathedral was expanded in the 17th century to host the Shroud, brought to Turin from Chambéry in 1578 by the Savoys.
In the 17th century, architect Guarino Guarini was commissioned both the majestic dome and the chapel where the Shroud is kept. From the original building, we can see the bell tower and the facade. The facade and the interior of the Duomo were restored after the huge fire that destroyed much of it the night between April 11th and 12th 1997. The Shroud, too, was damaged, and this is why it has been placed in a new shrine made of sealed bulletproof glass, air-isolated and with only an inert gas, protected from the light and all atmospheric agents.
Some believe Piazza San Giovanni is the line separating good and evil because it’s where the Cathedral housing the Holy Shroud stands and also where capital executions happened.
Address of Turin’s Duomo: Piazza San Giovanni.
Opening hours of Turin’s Duomo: Daily 7 am-12.30 pm and 3-7 pm.
Entrance fee for Turin’s Duomo: Free.
4. Visit the Real Chiesa di San Lorenzo (Royal Church of San Lorenzo)
The royal church of San Lorenzo sits in Piazza Castello, but the absence of a facade makes it hard to spot it. You can understand there is a church between those walls only for the presence of a dome. Wanted by the Savoys as part of the royal palace, the church was devoted to San Lorenzo after the victory by Emanuele Filiberto over the French troops on August 10th (day of St. Lawrence) 1557.
The church was designed Baroque-style by the monk architect Guarino Guarini and consecrated in 1680.
In 1578, when the capital of the Savoy dukedom was transferred from Chambéry to Turin, the same Emmanuel-Philibert, Duke of Savoy, brought here the Holy Shroud to allow Milan’s bishop Carlo Borromeo to worship it after a pilgrimage of gratitude from Milan to Turin for the end of the plague. Today a copy of the Sindone is still kept in San Lorenzo church.
This church is beautiful and definitely one of the places to see in Turin for its wonderful dome inspired by the Islamic architecture and the 17th-century altar. The design for the facade was never completed because the royal family didn’t want to interrupt the harmony in the architecture of the existing Piazza Castello and to avoid the symbol of the royal power to be hidden by a religious building.
Address of Chiesa di San Lorenzo: Via Palazzo di Città 4.
Opening hours of Chiesa di San Lorenzo: Monday to Saturday 7.30 am-12 pm and 4-7 pm; Sundays and holidays 9 am-1 pm and 3-7.30 pm.
Entrance fee for Chiesa di San Lorenzo: Free.
5. Discover Egyptian history at the Museo Egizio
Among the top things to do in Turin, you must absolutely include the Museo Egizio, founded in 1824 by King Carlo Felice. Similarly to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, the Museo Egizio in Turin is entirely devoted to Egyptian ancient culture, art and history, enshrining the discoveries and studies of the most important researchers in this field, such as Jean-François Champollion, the French expert in decoding Egyptian hieroglyphics.
It displays essential relics found during the archaeological diggings in pharaohs’ tombs and ancients cities. As you enter, you are given the audio guide and a map to help you follow the chronological path. Among the Turin sights, this is a real gem. If it’s your first time in Turin, I highly recommend it.
Address of Museo Egizio: Via Accademia delle Scienze, 6.
Opening hours of Museo Egizio: Daily 9 am-6.30 pm (Monday until 2 pm).
Entrance fee to Museo Egizio: 15 € the full ticket, 11 € for 15 to 18 years old, 1 € for 6 to 14 years old, free for less than 6 years old and holders of Torino+Piemonte Card.
6. Pay a visit to UNESCO site Palazzo Carignano
Beautiful Baroque-style palace looking over its namesake piazza, Palazzo Carignano is yet another project of Modena-born architect Guarino Guarini. The works for this building started in 1679 and ended in 1685. It was the official residence of the Carignano family, part of the Savoys, until 1831, when it became a public building.
This is one of the most important royal palaces in Turin, together with Palazzo Reale and Palazzo Madama, and one of the Savoy buildings enlisted by UNESCO. Here, Carlo Alberto and Vittorio Emanuele II were born, and here was the seat of the first Italian Parliament.
The red facade is covered with cotto tiles, while the back comes with an eclectic style of white stone, pink stucco, and pillars. Today the seat of the National Museum of the Risorgimento, the interior of Palazzo Carignano is rich in frescoes and decorations. Along with the museum covering the series of battles terminating with the Italian unification, visitors can also view the apartments of the Carignano Princes with a free guide provided at the entrance, organised following a specific timetable and in groups not bigger than 25 people. This is why I recommend stopping by in advance and enquiring about the time of the tours.
Address of Palazzo Carignano: Via Accademia delle Scienze 5.
Opening hours for Palazzo Carignano: Tuesday to Sunday 10 am-6 pm (last entrance at 5 pm), Monday closed.
Entrance fee to Palazzo Carignano: 5 € full ticket, 2.50 € for 18 to 25 years old, free for younger than 18, and holders of the Torino+Piemonte and Royal cards. Free entrance for everyone on the first Sunday of the month.
7. Walk around Piazza San Carlo
A beautiful square in the city centre, one of the best things to see in Turin is Piazza San Carlo and its twinned Baroque-style churches of Santa Cristina (1639) and San Carlo (1619). Created as Piazza Reale, it later became Piazza d’Armi and Place Napoléon before being named Piazza San Carlo in 1618 after Milan’s bishop San Carlo Borromeo.
Its beautiful layout makes it a perfect setting for concerts, political meetings, and all sorts of events. But to make this square important socially and historically is not just its beauty. The coffee shops lined around its perimeter, among which the most famous are Caffè Torino and Caffè San Carlo, have been for centuries the meeting point for intellectuals, researchers, aristocrats and even members of the royal family.
In 1773, writer Vittorio Alfieri bought here a house that later transformed into a cultural association. Piazza San Carlo was even the theatre of a protest repressed in blood when the Minghetti government decided to move the capital of the newly unified Italy from Turin to Florence in 1864.
Sip your coffee at one of the old cafes and soak in Turin’s regal feel with the view of the statue of Emanuele Filiberto on a horse in its center.
8. Enjoy the view from the Mole Antonelliana
Symbol of Turin, there is more than one reason to visit the Mole Antonelliana. Panoramic elevator, historic landmark, and the house of the Museo del Cinema, across the different floors of the Mole Antonelliana you can explore the most important moments of the history of the big screen.
The museum shows how the techniques and styles evolved and you can view different types of sets. You can also play some interactive ruse such as 3D, be part of movie scenes and see some of the iconic symbols or objects of international and Italian cinema such as the red scarf of famous Italian movie director Federico Fellini.
Originally built as a Synagogue between 1863 and 1889 following a project by architect Alessandro Antonelli, 167-mt-tall Mole was later bought by the local Council that made it a national monument. In 1961, for the 100th anniversary of the Italian unification, they inaugurated the panoramic elevator and still today we can go up to admire a view of the city and the surrounding Alps.
Address of the Mole Antonelliana: Via Montebello 20
Opening hours of the Mole Antonelliana: Daily 9 am-8 pm (last entrance an hour before closing time), closed on Tuesday.
Entrance fee to the Mole Antonelliana: 10 € is the full ticket for the museum, 7 € for the elevator, 14 cumulative museum+elevator; 8 € for the museum for older than 65 and university students up to 26 years old, 5 € for the elevator for 6 to 18 year-olds, older than 65, university students up to 26 years old, and holders of Torino+Piemonte Card, 11 € cumulative museum+elevator for university students up to 26 years old, older than 65, and groups of 15 people with booking; free museum and elevator for up to 5 years old, free museum for holders of Torino+Piemonte Card.
9. Stroll along the Covered Galleries (Passaggi Coperti)
That Turin is a royal city appears obvious from the first sight. The architecture is majestic and roads and buildings were built in the most comfortable way so that also the elite could enjoy the city and walk around without giving up on their luxury and amenities.
Often in Turin’s city centre, you will see the walkways between buildings are covered, and this was aimed at easing the members of the upper class. The first of this series of covered walkways were built in 1856 and later destroyed for further construction works, but many others were built and lined up with cafes, shops, and theatres.
Lovely tourist attractions, they are part of the soul of the city. Among the best you can visit today are 19th-century Galleria Subalpina between Piazza Castello and Via Cesare Battisti, Galleria Umberto I between Piazza della Repubblica and Via della Basilica, and Galleria San Federico, built in the first half of the 20th century and that you can access from Via Roma, Via Bertola, and Via Santa Teresa.
10. Visit the mysterious Chiesa della Gran Madre di Dio
Coming from the city centre, cross the Po river from Ponte Vittorio Emanuele I bridge and you’ll find yourself facing an imposing structure on a hilltop. This is the Chiesa della Gran Madre di Dio, Italian for Great Mother of God Church, one of those places that in Turin are said to hold powerful energies.
The large staircase in front of the austere-looking facade is dominated by the two statues standing on the two sides representing Faith, holding a chalice in her left hand, and Religion. According to the legend, the Holy Grail, the chalice from where Jesus Christ drank his last wine before being arrested, tortured and crucified, is buried somewhere in the middle.
It’s believed that this was the site of a temple of the goddess Isis, whose cult was replaced by the advent of the Christian religion. Some believe that the same name of the church, devoted to the Mother of God, actually refers to Isis goddess.
Address of Chiesa della Gran Madre: Piazza Gran Madre di Dio 4.
Opening hours of Chiesa della Gran Madre: Daily 7.30 am-7 pm.
Entrance fee to Chiesa della Gran Madre: Free.
11. Go to Turin’s magic heart at Piazza Statuto
Being Turin part of both white and black magic triangles, it’s only normal to expect that some places hide negative energies. Apparently, Piazza Statuto is the heart of all evil, so if you are into esoteric and mysteries, stepping over this cobbled piazza is one of your top things to do in Turin.
In the middle of the piazza stands tall the statue of the Fontana del Frejus, the fountain of Frejus road tunnel. The workers’ statues sit on a rough pyramid made of rocks brought from the Frejus to commemorate the people who died during the construction works of the tunnel. Many, however, believe this is the black heart of Turin, the point of the black magic triangle, and the gates to Hell.
The link to the Darkness, however, is not recent. Piazza Statuto is located west, where the sun sets and the dark starts, reason why the Romans chose this area for capital executions and bury the dead.
Truth is, it’s a beautiful piazza surrounded by covered porticoes to allow the members of the bygone aristocracy to enjoy their promenade also during the rainy days. I suggest a visit even if you are not an esoteric fan as all around is full of delicious restaurants.
12. Borgo Medievale and Valentino’s Garden
Get to the medieval quarter inside Parco del Valentino and you will whirl back to a couple of hundred years, right when the Middle Ages were in full tilt. The only thing, this medieval quarter is not quite medieval.
Built between 1882 and 1884 for the Esposizione Generale Italiana, fair promoted by the Italian industrial society, this medieval quarter was planned by a team of artists and researchers. They carefully recreated buildings, shops, and interiors as close to medieval times as possible, even using the same materials.
In 1884, real workshops of carpenters, pottery artisans, textiles craftsmen, and more, were opened to show daily life back in the day. Although it was supposed to be destroyed at the end of the exhibition, in 1942 it became a museum and now it’s one of the favorite places to visit in Turin.
Inside the quarter, there is the so-called Rocca, a 4-story building where you can see a proper medieval house, the kitchen, the bedroom, the dining halls, and the internal courtyard.
If you are spending at least three days in Turin, do try to squeeze this in your itinerary.
Address of Turin’s Borgo Medievale: Viale Virgilio 107, Parco del Valentino
Opening hours of Turin’s Borgo Medievale: The Borgo opens daily 9 am-7 pm (in summer until 8 pm), La Rocca daily except Monday 10 am-6 pm (last entrance 5.15 pm)
Entrance fee to Turin’s Borgo Medievale: The Borgo is free, the ticket for La Rocca is 6 €, but it closes in winter.
13. Castello del Valentino
If you are still wondering what to do in Turin, Castello del Valentino will enchant you at first sight. Today the building of Turin’s university, its huge facade seems to belong to a romantic fairy tale and the surrounding park completes the royal scene.
Built in the 16th century by order of Christine of France, wife of Vittorio Amedeo I, the castle is a design of architects Carlo and Amedeo di Castellamonte, who gave it a French touch in honor of the queen. After the death of Christine of France, the castle lost its rank as a residence and was used as a veterinary school, military base in 1824, and the school for engineers from 1859. Today, it’s the building of the Department of Architecture of the Politecnico di Torino, Turin’s prestigious university.
The interior is beautifully decorated in a typical 17th-century style and each room boasts its own frescoes. On the left of the castle, there is the Botanic Garden founded by Vittorio Amedeo II in 1729 and that preserves several rare species and a rich library.
Address of Castello del Valentino: Viale Mattioli 39.
Opening hours of Castello del Valentino: Since it’s now the building of a university, the castle can be visited only on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month. Booking is mandatory and must be done online. Email for info: email@example.com
Entrance fee to Castello del Valentino: Ticket is 3.50 €, the guided tour is free but the booking fee (mandatory) is 3.50 €.
14. Take a day trip to Basilica di Superga
One of the best places to visit in Turin is the gorgeous Basilica di Superga. A pearl of Piedmont Baroque, it was designed by Italian architect Filippo Juvarra. In its underground, you can visit the Savoys tombs, while from its terrace you can admire a view of Turin, as long as it’s a clear day.
Alongside the basilica itself, there are also the tombs of the Savoy Royal Tombs. Designed by architect Francesco Martinez, Juvarra’s grandson, some 62 Savoia’s tombs are displayed, as well as the Royal Apartments.
How to get to Basilica di Superga: Take the tram 15 from Piazza Castello or buses 68 or 61 from Porta Nuova station and get off at Sassi. From here, you can take the train on the old rack railway to Superga for a ride of about 20 minutes.
Opening hours of Basilica di Superga: Daily 10 am 1.30 pm and 2.30-7 pm, Sunday 10 am-7 pm, Wednesday closed
Entrance fee to Basilica di Superga: 5 € for the tour to the royal tombs or the apartments, 4 € for older than 65 and students, free for younger than 12 and holders of the Torino+Piemonte Card.
15. Take another day trip to La Venaria Reale
Don’t end your Turin sightseeing without visiting at least one of the royal residences in the outskirts of the city. Easy to reach, fans of slow travel can make their visit to La Venaria Reale one of their lovely day trips from Turin.
Built as the hunting lodge of Duke of Savoy, Carlo Emanuele II, the famous Reggia di Venaria is a huge complex where luxury and opulence are key.
Visiting La Venaria Reale you will travel in time across the history of the House of Savoy, the evolution of their supremacy and Turin from county to kingdom, and the architecture as a demonstration of power and grandeur. Start your visit from the basement, where you can cover the Savoy dynasty through their portraits.
Counts in the Middle Ages, Dukes from the 15th century and Kings from the 18th century, the House of Savoy have been one of the longer-running ruling dynasties in history. In fact, almost 1,000 years went by from the Umberto I Biancamano early 11th century to Umberto II, the last King of Italy, in 1946.
La Venaria Reale complex is a journey through the history of former Italian royal family and their love for elegance and style. Across the different floors, you will visit the royal apartments, the hunting lodge, the galleries, the never-missing chapels, the grand stables, a design by architect Filippo Juvarra, and obviously the wonderful gardens.
Your day trip from Turin can include a delightful lunch at one of the restaurants or cafes in the area.
How to get to Venaria Reale: You can get the VenariaExpress shuttle bus from Piazza Vittorio or Piazza Castello and it will drop you near the entrance to Reggia Venaria station. Timetables change in summer and winter so I recommend you ask at the tourism office.
Opening hours of Venaria Reale: 9 am-5 pm (Saturday and Sunday until 6.30 pm), Monday closed.
Entrance fee to Venaria Reale: 25 € the full ticket, 16 € only mansion and gardens, 5 € only the gardens; reduced 14 € for over 65, university students; 10 € between 6 and 20 years old, and university students (mansion + gardens); free for younger than 6 years old, and holders of Torino+Piemonte and Royal cards.
16. Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi
Wonderful hunting lodge just outside the city, the Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi enters the list of the best places to visit in Turin with full rights.
In 1729, Vittorio Amedeo II commissioned the building of a hunting lodge in the lands in Stupinigi that Emanuele Filiberto had bought in 1564. The great Sicilian architect took inspiration from the Roman architectural tradition he had learned at the schools of Carlo Fontana and Fischer Von Erlach. This way, he designed a lodge with an elliptical salon in the middle with side pathways laid out like hunting routes.
A long, tree-lined boulevard represents the link with the rest of Turin’s architectural style and the pillar of the whole complex consisting of the lodge, a courtyard, the garden and the park.
A favourite of the Savoys among the leisure and hunting places, the Palazzina di Stupinigi briefly hosted also Napoleon.
How to get to Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi: Take the bus from Torino Lingotto train station.
Opening hours of Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi: Daily 10 am-5.30 pm (Saturday and Sunday until 6.30 pm), closed on Monday.
Entrance fee to Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi: 12 € for the full ticket, 8 € for visitors from 6 to 18 years old and older than 65, university students and holders of the City Sightseeing Torino ticket; free for children less than 6 years old and holder of the Royal and Torin+Piemonte cards.
17. Sample the traditional cuisine
Rich in flavors, not-so-light and quite meat-centric, the local cuisine is what to do in Turin whether you are a foodie or simply want to explore the local culture.
Delicacies like garlic-rich bagna cauda, a hearty polenta dish, tajarin pasta with butter and sage and vitel tonné (veal on a tuna sauce) are only some of the specialties you can try in Turin’s best restaurants for first-time visitors.
18. Enjoy the Bicerin historical drink
A warm and cozy blend of coffee, chocolate, and milk is a perfect hug at any time of the day. Turin’s Bicerin is this and more. A historical drink cherished by many notables, enjoying a Bicerin is one of the city’s oldest cafes is definitely one of the top things to do in Turin.
6 reasons why you should visit Turin
1. Beautiful architecture
Monumental palaces and buildings define some 2000 years of architecture in the first capital of unified Italy. The royal mansions of the Savoy family scattered all around the city center and Turin’s outskirts add to the artistic value of the urban landscape and make your trip interesting and engaging.
With more than 40 museums, it’s safe to say that Turin has something to offer to anyone. Whether your interest is cinema, contemporary art, the Egyptian culture, sports or anthropology, Turin got you covered. Turin is also the city where the only self-portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci is kept.
Alongside being Italy’s capital, Turin boasts also a long tradition of chocolate authority. Enjoyed in both liquid and solid forms, Turin’s chocolate can become addictive and easily a big part of your trip. After Turin, your chocolate experience will never be the same. Make sure you try the finest at Guido Gobino and also taste Bicerin.
4. Sacred art and architecture
The Savoy royal family never neglected their spiritual life, so it goes without saying that Turin is home to beautiful churches and a fine sacred art alongside important symbols of the Catholic religion, first among all the Holy Shroud. More on how to visit the Holy Shroud below.
5. It’s green
Despite being a large city, the traffic in Turin is not mental and many people choose to bike over driving. Turin has also some lovely parks where you can have a picnic, a bike ride, a nice walk or run, or simply relax surrounded by greenery.
6. It’s magical
While this can be read as a generic compliment, in Turin’s case it applies pretty literally. Considered the crossing point between black and white magic, if you are wondering what to see in Turin away from the usual tourist path, you can look for the holy grail, research the occult, explore where good and evil meet, and capture the energy of unlikely spiritual places.
Planning a Turin trip
Here are some practical tips to make the most of your Turin trip and save money on the main Turin sightseeing.
Purchase Turin+Piedmont Card
The Tourism Office sells the 1-day card (23 €) that gives you free entrance to maximum three landmarks, while the 2-day card (35 € or 15 for under 18yo), the 3-day card (42 € or 19 for under 18) and the 5-day card (51 €) give you free entrance to almost all landmarks and discount to the remaining attractions. With the 1, 2 and 3-day cards, you can match the GTT tickets for public transport. You can also buy the card online before you arrive.
If you are traveling to Turin with your family, you can purchase the Royal Card. One ticket for an adult and a child younger than 12 costs 34 € and gives you free access to the main royal residences (including the temporary exhibitions), free public transport for 48 hours (including the shuttle bus to Venaria royal residence), free access to the “Reali Sensi” experiences. Children between 3 and 11 years old need their own ticket for public transport.
How to get to Turin
From Rome, Milan, Florence, Genoa or other big Italian cities, you can take the Frecciarossa, Frecciabianca or Italo trains and get to Turin’s main station, Porta Nuova, in Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 53.
If you are coming from the airport, you can reach Turin by car, bus or train. From the Arrival area, you can easily rent a car or book a taxi. The SFMA railway connects the airport with Turin’s train station Dora GTT from where you can easily reach Porta Susa, the city center, and the metro. The ride takes 19 minutes and the ticket costs 3 €, it lasts for 120 minutes from validation time and can be used on SFMA, metro and GTT buses. Website: www.sfmtorino.it
Rome-based travel writer, blogger and photographer.