Many people consider Turin to be the European capital of Baroque: many palaces and churches were built in this style during the kingdom of the Savoia. It isn’t the typical Italian city, with red and yellow buildings: is a bit more French, so much that is also called “the little Paris”; wide boulevards with white buildings make the city center more similar to Paris. Around the city, a crown of churches and castles, some up on a hilltop, some lost in a park, provide plenty of interesting views. Turin also has an aristocratic atmosphere – the centre is filled with posh 19th century cafes, regal-like arcaded mansions, debonair glittering restaurants, and grand churches.
Defined by Le Corbusier as “… the city with the most beautiful natural location in the world”, celebrated by numerous historical figures, including Friedrich Nietzsche, Mark Twain and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the which he described its panorama from the Superga hill as “… the most beautiful sight that can strike the human eye”, is one of the most important Baroque cities in Europe and is considered, together with Milan and Palermo, the Italian capital of Art Nouveau, of which, among other things, its countless and famous historic cafes are a great example, which flourished especially in the Risorgimento and Belle Époque periods.
A city with a two-thousand-year history, it was probably founded near its current position, around the third century BC, by the Taurini, then transformed into a Roman colony by Augustus with the name of Iulia Augusta Taurinorum in the first century BC. After the Ostrogothic dominion, it was the capital of an important Lombard duchy, and then passed, after becoming the capital of the Carolingian brand, under the nominal lordship of the Savoy in the 11th century. City of the homonymous duchy, in 1563 it became its capital. From1720 was the capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia (even if only de facto until the perfect merger of 1847, when it also became one formally), State that in the nineteenth century would have led to the Italian unification and that made Turin the first capital of Kingdom of Italy (from 1861 to 1865).
Site in 2006 of the XX Winter Olympic Games, birthplace of some of the major symbols of Made in Italy in the world, such as martini, gianduja chocolate and espresso coffee, it is the hub of the Italian car industry, as well as an important center of publishing, the banking and insurance system, information technology, cinema, food and wine, the aerospace sector, industrial design,sport and fashion.
Turin was the first capital of modern Italy, while it’s not a famous tourist destination like Florence or Rome, the setting is pleasant, with the Po River flowing through the city, the genteel hills overlooking the city and scattered with pleasant villas and surrounded by the Italian Alps off in the distance. This is why the famous architect Le Corbusier defined Turin as “the city with the most beautiful natural location in the world”.
In the 18th century Savoy, newly proclaimed a kingdom, embarked on an urban design project for its capital Turin. At this time many public squares, grand boulevards and royal palaces were built in order to make the city fit for a capital. After 1801 when Napoleon conquered the city, he created more large avenues in order to allow his troops easier movement, further altering the city’s layout.
Turin is an important city of technology and industry, and the FIAT automobile company is based here. (The ‘T’ in the name stands for Torino; FIAT = Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, which translates as: Italian Automobile Factory Turin.) It was also the birthplace to many important cultural and political movements in Italy. Turin inhabitants are well known across Italy for their understatement and composure and the city reflects this attitude.
Turin offers an extraordinary variety of attractions and entertainment opportunities. It is also within easy reach of the mountains and major ski resorts, as well as easy access to the Ligurian Riviera and Western Europe via France or Switzerland from here. It is an elegant and aristocratic city, the fourth largest Italian municipality after Rome, Milan and Naples and, together with the Lombard capital and Genoa, forms the so-called industrial triangleItalian. Rich in Baroque style palaces, large avenues, parks, art galleries, Savoy residences, castles, important museums and attractions, Turin is a city that has not yet been stormed by mass tourism and this has allowed it to still keep some of its characteristic features intact. In 2015 the city was the European Capital of Sport and hosted the Exposition of the Holy Shroud.
In 2017 the city of Turin was permanently among the top 10 in Italy for tourist arrivals and presences, respectively 1,200,000 and 3,700,000. If you also include the first urban belt, arrivals reach almost 1,900,000 and presences 5,000,000.
The recognition also seems to come from the foreign presence and the interest of the international press: for 2016 the New York Times recommended the city of Turin – the only one in Italy – as one of the 52 destinations in the world to visit in the year, while Skyscanner dedicates the opening of the review to her among the twenty beautiful cities of art in Italy and bloggers include her among the sixteen Italian cities to visit. In total, the attendance recorded in the city during the calendar year was 4,800,000.
The international travel site eDreams has designated Turin as one of the most important tourist destinations in the world for 2017 and as the first European tourist stop, also defining it as the cultural capital of Northern Italy.
Turin’s main attractions include important baroque palaces and churches, a regular and attractive street grid, an extensive network of arcades, famous coffee shops and a number of world-renowned museums. Five palaces in Turin itself and nine more in the region served as residences for the Savoy royalty and are now inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The Torino and Piemonte Card is worth its money if you plan to visit most places. The pass provides free access to all the museums and other attractions of the city listed below. You also can use free the Venaria Reale bus service, which is operated by GTT, to travel to Venaria and see the restored palace. The entry to the palace is also covered by the pass. Also don’t miss the opportunity to use the Navebus service and take a boat tour in the river Po. This service is also operated by GGT and is included in your pass. The card entitles you with free travel from Dora Station to Torino International Airport, service operated by GTT. Trip with chain train to Superga is also included with the small fee to reach the top of the church and a guided visit to the tombs of the Savoy Royal family.
Historical theme route
Turin has a very ancient history. There are reports of settlements of Celto-Ligurian populations dating back to the third millennium BC, but in general the birth of the city is made to coincide with the foundation of a Roman castrum during the campaigns in Gaul led by Julius Caesar. The first Roman settlement in 28 BC became a real colony called Augusta Taurinorum (ie “Augusta dei Taurini”, one of the pre-existing Celtic-Ligurian peoples), from which the current toponym of Turin derives.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Turin was subsequently governed by the Ostrogoths, the Lombards and the Franks of Charlemagne. In the year 940 the Marca di Torino was founded and the city passed under the dominion of the royal house of Savoy, becoming the capital of the duchy in 1576. In the following century the city expanded, exiting the Roman walls and conquering the area of Monferrato and the city of Asti, as well as an outlet to the sea.
From the beginning of the eighteenth century, after having repelled a long siege by the French and Spanish, the city finally became the capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia ruled by the Savoy.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century and after the Congress of Vienna, Turin was also assigned the kingdom of Genoa and Liguria, which laid the foundations for the unification of Italy that would take place in the following 50 years. Turin thus became the first capital of the Italian kingdom from 1861 to 1865, the year in which the rank of capital was assigned to Florence and, from 1870, to Rome.
Since then Turin, deprived of the luster of capital, necessarily had to rediscover a predominant role. By way of moral compensation, a policy of tax concessions was implemented which favored the establishment of new establishments and international trade fairs, which soon made it one of the major industrial cities in Italy.
The end of the war then saw Turin become, thanks to FIAT, the main industrial pole of the country, marking the path of the economic boom and attracting thousands of emigrants from southern Italy. Rai and Sip were also born in Turin, the first telecommunications companies in Italy.
Turin is also a city of culture, the International Book Fair is held here every year, one of the most important events in the sector, and is also one of the main headquarters of the Slow Food movement, which organizes Terra Madre and the Salone del Gusto. It houses the Egyptian Museum which is the second in the world for the importance of the collections collected
In recent years, especially starting from the 2006 Winter Olympics, Turin has gone through an important phase of transformation with the modernization and redevelopment of numerous peripheral areas, which have brought it back to the splendor of its best times.
Ancient and Roman Turin
Bull outpost of Bric San Vito: remains of a small Celtic-Ligurian village datable between the 4th and 3rd centuries BC with archaeological findings from a subsequent late-ancient and early medieval settlement;
archaeological park of the Porta Palatina and the Roman walls;
Porta Decumana, incorporated into Palazzo Madama, and related archaeological excavations;
remains of the Roman theater;
archaeological complex of the Duomo: foundations of the three twin paleochristian basilicas on which the Renaissance cathedral stands, in turn resting on pre-existing houses from the Roman era of which evident evidence remains;
remains of the corner tower of the walls near the sanctuary of the Consolata;
stretch of the Roman walls in the underground rooms of the Palazzo dell’Accademia delle Scienze;
various remains of imperial houses, including the traces of the domus in via Bellezia, via Santa Chiara, via Bonelli, piazza Castello, the underground necropolis of piazza San Carlo and the public buildings in piazza Emanuele Filiberto and corso XI February.
Medieval and Renaissance Turin
Due to the impressive urban planning works carried out by the Savoy court starting from the sixteenth century, Turin has preserved few monuments belonging to the medieval and Renaissance periods. These include:
Palazzo Madama and Casaforte degli Acaja, whose central body was built between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries in Gothic style, expanding and incorporating the structure of the original Roman-era Porta Decumana and giving the palace the appearance of a castle, which will be completed in the following centuries with the eighteenth-century facade of the Juvarra;
church of San Domenico, located in the homonymous street; it was built in the 14th century and represents the only authentically medieval complete monument in the entire city, even if modified in the Baroque period and subsequently brought back to the original Gothic forms through 19th century conservative restorations;
Cathedral; built between 1491 and 1498, it is the only example of a Renaissance-style place of worship in the city;
Romanesque bell towers of the Basilica della Consolata (dating back to the 10th century), the Duomo (15th century, then completed in the 18th century by Juvarra) and the church of Sant’Agostino (15th century);
Casa dei Romagnano, medieval remains in via dei Mercanti 9;
House of the Senate, in piazza IV Marzo 17;
Casa del Pingone, in via IV Marzo; house with medieval tower (masked), former residence of Filiberto Pingone, historian who in 1577 wrote the first history of Turin, entitled Augusta Taurinorum;
Palazzo Scaglia di Verrua (XV century);
Mastio della Cittadella, the only surviving building of the complex Turin defense system, built starting from 1564 in a style between the Renaissance and the Baroque.
Forts and Castles
The entire territory is dotted with magnificent palaces, noble castles and imposing fortresses. In addition to the Royal Residences, the ancient ruling dynasties left a legacy of inestimable value, such as Pralormo Castle, the place for flower lovers to be during the “Messer Tulipano” event; Masino Castle which now belongs the FAI (Italian National Trust) and is the setting for the famous “Three days for the Garden”; Ivrea Castle, a 14th century defensive structure built by Amedeo VI of Savoy; Rivara Castle which houses the Centre of Contemporary Art; Malgrà Castle at Rivarolo Canavese; Cavour Castle at Santena, home and resting place of Count Camillo Benso; Miradolo Castle at San Secondo di Pinerolo with its exceptional exhibitions, and much more besides …
Over the centuries, this sub-alpine area was also a place where major fortifications were built. For instance, Exilles Fort in Val Susa, built in 1155 to control the frontier, one of whose most famous prisoners was the mysterious Man in the Iron Mask. At Bardonecchia there is Fort Bramafam, an example of late 19th century military construction, while Val Chisone has the Fenestrelle Fort, the longest masonry built structure after the Great Wall of China.
Baroque and neoclassical period
Among the most famous monuments of Turin also abroad are the nineteenth-century Mole Antonelliana, the undisputed symbol of the city, which houses the National Cinema Museum (the main one in Europe); the Royal Palace (ancient residence of the dukes and later of the kings of the House of Savoy); Renaissance Cathedral of St. John the Baptist of the fifteenth century (known as there is kept the Holy Shroud); the Egyptian Museum (the second most important in the world after the one in Cairo); the Galleria Sabauda (significant collection of paintings);Palazzo Carignano (designed by Guarini and seat of the first Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament) and the imposing Palazzo Madama. The latter, in particular, deserves attention, as it is located in the true social and geographical center of the city; its oldest portions even date back to the Roman era (these are two of the four towers, now incorporated into the facade).
Originally it was the south gate, transformed into a castle in the Middle Ages with the addition of two towers; it was remodeled several times, particularly at the beginning of the eighteenth century, when it was equipped with a facade by Filippo Juvarra.
The city of Turin and its surroundings are embellished by numerous Savoy residences, World Heritage Site of ‘ UNESCO; in the municipality of Turin there are the Royal Palace, the Madama Palace, the Villa della Regina and the Valentino.
The floral style
Turin also boasts a conspicuous presence of Liberty buildings built between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. The important architectural testimonies of this era are still perceptible in some central areas of the capital such as the Centro, Crocetta, San Salvario and Borgo Po districts, but with an absolute predominance in the area surrounding the first stretch of Corso Francia, including the Cit Turin and San Donato. In the wake of the growing success of the editions of the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative Art (culminating in that of 1902), Turin was in fact considered as one of the capitals of Liberty and saw the proliferation of this new style mainly in architecture, with contributions from the major authors of the time.
A characteristic of Turin is constituted by the arcades that extend for over 18 km of which about 12 are interconnected. The first arcades dated back to the Middle Ages but it is from the 17th century that the monumental porticos still present today began to be built. The first evidence is the order of Carlo Emanuele I of Savoy of 16 June 1606 regarding the construction of piazza Castello according to the project by Ascanio Vittozzi which included arcades around the whole square. Even in the project for Piazza San Carlo di Amedeo di Castellamonte of a few years later there were arcades all around. In the same years Filippo Juvarrahe built the porticoes of Porta Palazzo.
In 1765 Benedetto Alfieri was commissioned to redo the arcades of Piazza Palazzo di Città while in the course of the 19th century those of the current Piazza Vittorio Veneto, Piazza Carlo Felice and Piazza Statuto were added. The two railway stations of Porta Nuova and Porta Susa were joined by a porticoed path through Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, Corso Vinzaglio, via Sacchi, via Nizza, via Pietro Micca and via Cernaia. The portico that connects piazza Castello with piazza Vittorio Veneto through via Poon the left side it was designed in such a way as to also continue crossing the streets to allow the king to reach the Po without getting wet in case of rain.
Savoy Royal Residences in Turin
Known as the “Crown of Delights”, the group of castles built by the House of Savoy looks like a large crown circling the Royal Palace of Torino when seen from above. It is the Royal Residences of Turin and Piedmont, UNESCO World Heritage Site: maisons de plaisance and sumptuous gardens, theater of the refined court life and a real proof of the Savoy House hegemony. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) declared the Residences a “Heritage for Humanity”. Today, these Royal Residences can host events and gala dinners to experience the atmosphere and magic moments of times past. In this journey through ages you will experience stunning settings and an extraordinary cultural heritage.
Palazzo Carignano – Appartamenti dei Principi
One of the most original buildings in Baroque, it was designed by Guarino Guarini in 1679. It is a symbolic place in the history of Savoy and the Italian Risorgimento: as well as being the birthplace of Carlo Alberto and Vittorio Emanuele II, it was the site of the Sub-Alpine Parliament and the first Parliament of Italy. Since 1878, the rooms on the piano nobile have accommodated the National Museum of the Risorgimento which was recently renovated for the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Unification of Italy. Technical details: the palace is in the historic centre of Turin. It has 4 conference rooms that can be used for gala dinners and cocktail parties – 700 sqm, 200 sqm, 130 sqm and 120 sqm – which can hold 300, 170, 120 people each (theatre style). There is also 100 sqm in the atrium with the monumental staircase for 100 people at cocktails.
Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi
A place of leisure and hunting, this was the favourite spot of the Savoy family for spectacular parties and solemn marriages. Filippo Juvarra designed the exceptional architecture for the sovereign in 1729, styled on the model of contemporary Central European Residences. Reopened to the public after a massive restoration work, the hunting lodge is one of the most extraordinary examples of European architecture of the 17th century. Technical details: situated 10km from the centre of Turin, the residence has two rooms in the Citroniere seating 360 each and also the Sala dei Camini holding 130.
Palazzo Madama – Museo Civico d’arte Antica
Palazzo Madama describes the two thousand year history of Turin because it includes, in one building, the Roman towers of Porta Pretoria, the 15th century Castle of Ludovico d’Acaja and the facade added in 1721 by Filippo Juvarra. When it lost its defensive function, it became the elegant palace of the “Mesdames Royales”, firstly Christine of France and then Marie Jeanne Baptiste of Savoy-Nemours, wife of Carlo Emanuele II. In the 19th century, court life gave way to politics: Carlo Alberto installed the first Royal Senate here, where the birth of the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed. Since 1934 it has been home to the Civic Museum for Antique Art. Technical details: in the centre of Piazza Castello, the Palace can hold events for up to 200 people in the Sala del Senato and for 80 people in the Camera delle Guardie. There is also the Corte Medievale for 100 people at cocktails.
Construction was begun in 1646 by the Madame Royale Christine of France, wife of the Duke Vittorio Amedeo I, and it went on to become the sumptuous official residence of the dukes and then the kings of Savoy. In the reception rooms and the private apartments, the frescoed ceilings, the paintings, the precious tapestries, the inlaid furniture and the porcelain all reveal how tastes changed from the 1600s to the 19th century, under the guidance of the court architects ranging from Juvarra and Alfieri to Palagi. Technical details: located in the heart of Turin, the Palace accommodates meetings for 220 participants in the Salone degli Svizzeri (in theatre style)
La Venaria Reale
A Royal setting for a royal event. 10 km from Turin, plunged into a magnificent environmental and architectural context, discover Venaria Reale. It seems almost impossible to be able to step into a new dimension of living so close to a major city, to lose yourself into nature, arts, and history, where all the elements strike a perfect balance and the result is almost unbelievably good. And yet, it is true.
Castello di Rivoli Museo d’arte Contemporanea
A baroque building that was a Savoy residence, it now accommodates the most important museum of contemporary art in Italy, with works ranging from the 1950s to the present date and showing significant exhibitions. Technical details: the residence is 150km outside Turin. The Sala Convegni, situated in the Manica Lunga, and the Theatre, equipped with the most sophisticated technology, can hold 200 and 100 people respectively.
Villa della Regina
After careful restoration, the Villa of the Queen has been reopened to the public. Acting as a dramatic backdrop to the city, it is in the centre of Italianate gardens with pavilions, fountains and agricultural areas once again in production. Begun as the royal hillside vineyard of cardinal Maurice and the princess Ludovica, it was the residence of duchesses, princesses and queens of the House of Savoy up until the 19th century.
Castello del Valentino
Building began in the 16th century and then Christine of France, wife of Vittorio Amedeo I, had it transformed and extended by Carlo and Amedeo di Castellamonte, (1620-1660): the French taste of the Madame Royale can be seen in the pitch of the roofs. It is now used as an annex to the Turin Polytechnic for the Faculty of Architecture. Technical details: just 2km from the centre of the city, in the midst of the splendid setting of Valentino Park, the castle has 7 rooms available. The main ones – the Salone d’Onore and the Sala delle Colonne, can seat 100 (theatre style) and 120 (buffet) respectively.
Churches and places of worship
There are numerous religious buildings in the city of Turin. The vast majority of these are Catholic churches. If we exclude the numerous modern churches built from scratch after the Second World War following the strong housing expansion of the city, resulting from the great immigration flow of the 1950s and 1960s, most of Turin’s churches were built in the 17th and 18th centuries.; the prevailing architectural style is the Baroque but there are examples of Renaissance and Neoclassical styles or of mixtures between one of these and the baroque (type neoclassical facade and baroque body).
The rich past of religious tradition in the area of Turin has always made it one of the top places for pilgrimages whether following in the tracks of the Social Saints or in discovery of the rich artistic heritage found in the churches, everyone will know to what they are drawn and respond to the discreet spiritual call of Turin’s territory. Visit the Sacro Monte at Belmonte, a UNESCO world heritage site since 2003, in order to realise how art and nature enrich the paths of spirituality. And it should not be forgotten how the province of Turin is a place where different faiths and traditions meet: since the 12th century, the Waldensian Community has been living in the Pellice, Chisone and Germanasca Valleys, while the Jewish Community has been present in Turin since 1424.
Well-known architects contributed to the design and construction of the related works, including:
Amedeo di Castellamonte (Chapel of the Holy Shroud, Basilica of Corpus Domini)
Carlo di Castellamonte (Chapel of the Holy Shroud, Church of Santa Cristina)
Andrea Costaguta (Church of San Francesco da Paola, Church of Santa Teresa)
Guarino Guarini (Chapel of the Holy Shroud, Sanctuary of the Consolata, Church of San Lorenzo)
Filippo Juvarra (Basilica of Superga, Church of San Filippo Neri, Sanctuary of the Consolata, Church of Santa Cristina, Church of the Madonna del Carmine)
Filippo Giovanni Battista Nicolis of Robilant (Church of Santa Pelagia, Church of the Misericordia)
Bernardo Vittone (Church of the Santissima Annunziata, Church of Santa Maria di Piazza, Church of San Francesco d’Assisi, Church of Santa Chiara)
Ascanio Vittozzi (Basilica of Corpus Domini, Church of the Holy Trinity)
Cultural theme route
Turin has an international level museum system, with over 50 museums present in the city and metropolitan area, which in 2017 reached a total of 5.3 million visitors. There are four national museums (Museum of Cinema, Automobile Museum, Mountain Museum, Museo del Risorgimento) and many other museums of national and international importance such as the Egyptian Museum, the ‘ Royal Armory, the Museum of Art Eastern, the Museum of Astronomy and Planetarium, the J-Museumto which was added, until 2015, the Sports Museum. Some museums have been expanded and renovated in recent years (for example the Cinema Museum, the Egyptian Museum and the Automobile Museum) or are being renovated: among these, the Luigi Rolando Museum of Human Anatomy, the Anthropology Museum and ethnography, and the Cesare Lombroso Museum of Criminal Anthropology, which will be unified in a single Museum of Man, inside the ” Palazzo degli Istituti Anatomici ” in Corso Massimo d’Azeglio.
The artistic collections of the city are very important: there are in fact works by Leonardo da Vinci, Antonello da Messina, Beato Angelico, Andrea Mantegna, but also by Van Eyck, Rembrandt, Van Dyck. For figurative art it is worth mentioning the Galleria Sabauda (one of the most important art galleries in Italy), which houses paintings for the period from the 12th to the 18th century. For modern and contemporary art there are the Civic Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art (the second largest museum of modern art in Italy, with 5,000 paintings and 400 sculptures), the Civic Museum of Ancient Art ofPalazzo Madama, the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation containing exhibitions of contemporary artists from all over the world and the Giovanni and Marella Agnelli Art Gallery and the Merz Foundation. Considering that the nearby Rivoli houses the Museum of Contemporary Art in the homonymous castle, Turin can be considered as the most important Italian museum center for contemporary art.
The collections of ancient art, whose collection was begun by Duke Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia in the second half of the sixteenth century, are preserved in the Museum of Antiquities, which also collects the main Piedmontese archaeological remains from the Paleolithic to the Late Middle Ages. In the 1940s, the Egyptian collections that made up the Egyptian Museum, the most important in Europe (as well as the oldest in the world), were separated from the Museum of Antiquities, as it is the custodian of the second largest collection of Egyptian art in the world and importance after that of the Cairo Museum.
The Museo Egizio in Torino (or Museo delle Antichità Egizie) is the only museum other than the Cairo Museum dedicated solely to Egyptian art and culture. The collections that make up today’s Museum were enlarged by the excavations conducted in Egypt by the Italian Archaeological Mission between 1900 and 1935 (a period when finds were divided between the excavators and Egypt).
Gam Torino – Galleria Civica d’arte Moderna
The GAM was the first museum in Italy to promote a public collection of modern art. The nucleus of the collection dates back to 1863, when the Savoy endowed Turin with a civic museum. Articulated along a tour that winds through the four floors of the museum, the collections and exhibitions surprise visitors with their richness. The tour begins on the second floor, where paintings and sculptures from the 1800s are exhibited. The first floor hosts works from the twentieth century – from Divisionism, Futurism and Abstractionism to Pop Art and Arte Povera – chronologically aligning works by great Italian and foreign masters, such as Balla, Severini, Boccioni, De Chirico, Dix, Ernst, Klee. The GAM offers a rich set of events: from the great exhibitions of Italian and international artists to the most contemporary research dedicated to oung people.
Juventus Museum was inaugurated on 16 May 2012. Designed by a group of undertakings under the supervision of Architect Benedetto Camerana, the stadium was conceived according to cutting-edge standards, prioritising technology and interaction while respecting its nature of exhibition space for objects of cultural and historical interest. The company’s goal was to give life to a creature with two souls: modern and interactive on the one hand, traditional and classic on the other. Thanks to the use of new technologies, Juventus Museum provides both a sports and a sociological overview through sports history. Through several documents, the Museum tells the story of both Juventus team and urban and national football; by means of an overview on the most significant events that took place worldwide form the end of the XIX century, it also tells Turin’s and Italy’s story. Tradition and forward-thinking intertwine, thus making this structure one of the most important and renowned sports museums in the world.
Mao – Museo d’arte Orientale
The Museum, inaugurated in December 2008, is housed in the historic Palazzo Mazzonis, an eighteenth century monumental building. A discerning and careful restoration has enhanced the structure and decorations and created optimal display facilities. The galleries are arranged over the three levels of the building and contain art from South and Southeast Asia, the most important Italian collection of Chinese funerary art from the Neolithic age to the Tang period (tenth century AD), religious and secular art from Japan, art from the Himalayas and a smaller but remarkable collection of Islamic art. The ground level contains two exquisite and quite unique Japanese Gardens as well as a space for temporary exhibitions.
Mauto – Museo dell’automobile di Torino
A must-see for car enthusiasts, the Museum was set up in 1932, on the left bank of the Po River, based on the idea of two pioneers of Italian motoring, Cesare Goria Gatti and Roberto Biscaretti di Rufﬁa. It was Roberto’s son Carlo who conceived the initial collection: the “steam vehicle”, by Virginio Bordino (1854), the ﬁrst Benz model (1893), the ﬁrst Peugeot model to circulate in Italy, the Pecori, the ﬁrst three-wheeled car built in our country, just to mention a few of the most valuable exhibits. The futuristic refurb, completed in 2011, has helped to reposition the museum within the Italian cultural sector: the new exhibition – included in 2013 by The Times in its list of the top 50 in the world – extends over three ﬂoors and takes visitors on an emotional journey among vintage vehicles and dream cars, important prototypes and iconic models, while songs from the Sixties and the rumble of Formula One engines can be heard in the background.
Museo di Arti Decorative Fondazione Accorsi – Ometto
It is structured in the manner of a house-museum, in a series of richly furnished rooms: furniture, carpets, tapestries, paintings and objects of Italian and French origin are arranged in such a way as to recreate the atmosphere of the 18th century.
Museo Nazionale del Cinema – Mole Antonelliana
The Museum is one of the most important in the world for the wealth of material and the multiplicity of its scientific and educational activities. Yet what makes it really unique is the specific format of the display. The museum is housed in the Mole Antonelliana, a bizarre and beguiling monument, the symbol of Turin. And starting with the settings within the Mole, the Swiss production designer François Confino has applied ingenuity and imagination, multiplying the itineraries to create a spectacular presentation, which invests the visitor with continuous and unexpected visual and auditory stimuli: those who enter are not just visitors but also explorers, authors, actors, spectators… to whom the Museum will provide the thrill of an unforgettable experience
Museo Nazionale del Risorgimento Italiano
The upper floor of the Carignano Palace building has hosted the National Museum of the Italian Risorgimento since 1938. Completely recreated in 2011, today it is a modern space, capable of narrating the period of the ‘Risorgimento’, from the great revolutions of the 18th century to the onset of World War I, to visitors in a European key. The museum itinerary includes the two original parliament houses: the Chamber of Deputies of the Subalpine Parliament – the only one in Europe, among those founded under the constitution of 1848, which has wholly survived and which was nominated National Monument in 1898 – and the majestic courtroom destined for the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Kingdom, with vaults painted by Francesco Gonin, built between 1864 and 1871. The museum also boasts a highly specialised library known all over the world.
Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli
In a fascinating hanging structure on the roof of the Lingotto in Turin, the first great Fiat factory, the Pinacoteca Agnelli permanently houses masterpieces from Giovanni and Marella Agnelli’s private collection which is open to the public. The “Scrigno” – as Renzo Piano who designed it calls it – hosts extraordinary masterpieces ranging from the Eighteenth century to the mid-Twentieth century. Among the works on display you can admire paintings by Matisse, Balla, Severini, Modigliani, Tiepolo, Canaletto and Bellotto. Do not miss the works of Picasso, one belonging to the blue period and the other to the Cubist period, the impressionist paintings by Renoir and Manet and two plaster statues by Antonio Canova.
Turin can now boast a great variety of theaters and performance rooms. The city is also home to several theatrical institutions, including the main one is the Teatro Stabile di Torino, declared the National Theater: founded in 1955, second in Italy after the Teatro Stabile di Milano, it manages the seasonal productions of Carignano, Gobetti and the Limone di Moncalieri foundries. Among the major theaters, with a capacity of more than 400 seats, there are the Regio theater, where the premiere of Puccini’s La bohème was held, the Carignano theater, the Alfieri theater and the Colosseum theater; important, then, is theGobetti theater, main seat of the aforementioned permanent city theater.
The Teatro Regio of Turin is the Opera House of the City of Turin, one of the largest international opera houses with a billboard that every year offers a season of opera and ballet, concerts, musicals and a rich program for families and for the children. The Teatro Regio is located in the heart of the city, in Piazza Castello, the origins of the majestic theater date back to 1740 and the facade is declared, since 1997, UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Orchestra and Chorus of the Regio are the protagonists of the artistic activity of the Theater with many recordings on CD and DVD and a rich international presence thanks to prestigious tours all over the world.
Magic and the Occult
The city is also known for the tradition of magic and occultism. Indeed, Turin is not only the seat of the Shroud and the social saints of the nineteenth century, such as Giovanni Bosco or Giuseppe Benedetto Cottolengo. Popular legends, starting from the fact that the city was a very well equipped stronghold in the 17th century, affirm that Turin is crossed by a dense network of tunnels and undergrounds, used by the Savoy and the nobles for traveling undercover. In 1556 Nostradamus stayed in Turin and here lived a singular character likeGustavo Adolfo Rol. Cagliostro, Paracelsus, the Count of Saint-Germain and Fulcanelli also made their appearance in Turin. Occult experts argue that Turin is the vertex in two magical triangles: the first, the white one, with Lyon and Prague, while the second, the black one, along with London and San Francisco.
For the esotericists, the positive magic of Turin arises from the “white heart” of Piazza Castello, from the Cathedral which houses the Holy Shroud to the Great Mother of God and up to the Mole Antonelliana, which indicates the sky. Masonic symbols are present in many palaces and in some tombs of the monumental cemetery of Turin. For some time there have been tour operators in the city that also organize guided tours of the mysteries of Turin. On the sides of the staircase that leads to the entrance to the church of the Great Mother of God we find the two statues depicting the Faith and Religion, between which the Grail hideout would be found.
The Fontana del Frejus to Piazza Statuto was designed by Count Marcello Panissera to commemorate the inauguration of the homonymous tunnel and is indicated by esotericists as the “black heart” of the city, for two reasons: because it is located to the west, and then to the position inauspicious because of the sunset, and because here was the vallis occisorum, a place of killing and burial. In fact, it housed the gallows, which remained for centuries in piazza Statuto and which was then moved by the French to the intersection of corso Regina Margherita and Via Cigna: the rondò ‘d la forca (Rotonda della forca). Tradition tells that the angel that dominates the obelisk, and on whose head is placed a five-pointed star, is Lucifer, in fact the most beautiful angel, and that therefore in Piazza Statuto, under the Frejus Fountain, find the door of hell.
Since 1998 there have been night tours inspired by the literary traditions that have made Turin a magical city; one of them appears in the special contents of Dario Argento’s Giallo film and was quoted by the US newspaper The Washington Post in an article on Turin on 29 July 2007.
The typical Turin cuisine is a rich and elaborate cuisine. Despite this, it is deeply rooted in the territory. In fact, it was born from a union between its peasant origin and the refined needs of the Savoy court, both open, moreover, to the influences of French cuisine.
Turin is probably the city with the largest number of public fountains in the world where you can drink water for free. Turin has good public water, surging out from the nearby mountains. You’ll see public drinking fountains everywhere, usually in the shape of a green bull, locally called Turet. Restaurants will happily serve you a carafe of tap water and not hassle you to buy bottled.
In contrast to a first impression of the central area and the old prejudices about the gray and industrial city, Turin is one of the Italian cities with the most public green per inhabitant. On a city surface of 130 km², there are in fact 21.37 km² of green areas: which means that each inhabitant has about 23.6 m² of greenery. In the city there are 60,000 trees along the streets and 100,000 trees in the parks. In addition, thanks to a visible green index of 16.2%, Turin ranks thirteenth among the seventeen cities with the most trees in the world.
It is also the first Italian city, among those with more than 500,000 inhabitants, as regards the share of separate waste collection, which in 2014 reached 42.2%.
Urban hygiene and waste collection have been managed since 1969 by Amiat, a company that also deals with the environmental recovery of the Basse di Stura landfill, of which the oldest part – exhausted in 1983 and with a total area of 300,000 m² – has become river park, known as the Marmorina urban park.
Turin has 51 parks in the urban area and the largest and most popular are: Parco del Valentino, Parco della Pellerina, Parco Colletta, Parco Rignon and the more recent Parco Colonnetti. Around the city, in a ring, there are the Parco della Mandria and the Parco della Palazzina di caccia di Stupinigi, ancient hunting reserves of the Savoy, and those located on the Turin hills. In the various districts of the city there are many small parks, in which there are 240 play areas for children. Mayor Amedeo Peyronhe created, in the early sixties, the first garden in Italy equipped with games for children. According to a 2007 report by Legambiente, Turin is the first Italian city for structures and policies dedicated to children.
Monumental and secular trees
Turin is home to several large trees. From the large plane tree in the Parco della Tesoriera (660 cm in circumference of the trunk, over two centuries old) to the plane trees of the Valentino Park, from the metasequoias of the Rocky Garden inaugurated in 1961 to the oldest trees of the Botanical Garden founded in 1729, adjacent to the walls of the Valentino Castle. Turin is also home to secular exotic trees such as the costal sequoias (Sequoia sempervirens) of the hilly parks of Villa Genero and Giacomo Leopardi, the numerous specimens of Caucasian walnut (Pterocarya fraxinifolia) that line the Po and appear in public parks such as the Cavour Gardens, the Sambuy garden, the Royal Low Gardens (along Corso San Maurizio), the Millefonti park. Two spectacular specimens of hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) enrich the large Remembrance Park that extends along the Colle della Maddalena.
The Via Francigena, a branch of the Moncenisio, passes through Turin. The itinerary, one of the favorites in the Middle Ages, crossed the France / Italy watershed at Colle del Moncenisio, arrives from the Susa Valley, land of great abbeys such as Novalesa, Sacra di San Michele and Sant’Antonio di Ranverso and passing through Turin along the Park Colletta tends to San Mauro Torinese and then towards Chivasso and subsequently to Vercelli, where it joins the other branch of the Francigena, the one coming from the Gran San Bernardo pass.
Getting Around Town
It is possible to drive your own car around Torino (although with some limitations and paid parking), but it is advisable to make use of the extensive network of public transport on the roads and the underground, as well as of the taxi tour, car sharing and bike hire proposals.
Blue Zone: Paid parking is available throughout the town centre and in most of the surrounding streets, varying in hourly rates from €1.30 to €2.50 depending on the area. Parking vouchers can be purchased from GTT authorised retailers (tobacconists, newsagents, cafés)and at ticket machines.
Pedestrian areas and Limited Traffic Areas (ZTL): The main pedestrian areas in the centre are Via Garibaldi, Via Lagrange and Via Carlo Alberto, the shopping streets. A limited traffic area (ZTL) has also been put in place; from Monday to Friday, from 7.30am to 10.30am, only cars with permits can pass through (residents, disabled, coaches, etc.). Within the ZTL some streets are for use solely by public transport also in the afternoons, evenings and on public holidays.
By Public Transport
Buses and trams cover all Torino, crossing it in every direction from early morning to late at night. The route of the first driverless underground railway in Italia connects Collegno (from the west) to Lingotto (from the south) to the city centre and to the stations of Porta Nuova and Porta Susa. For the young (and young at heart) there is the “Night Buster” service, a safe way to get around at night: every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from the outskirts to the centre and back, with bus stops close to the main areas of nightlife. Tickets can be bought from authorised GTT retailers (tobacconists, newsagents, cafés)..
Each district has at least one taxi rank – obviously more frequently found in the centre, in the main squares and at the railway stations, taxis can also be booked by phone.
Torino has 175km of bike paths, an excellent alternative to the car because it’s quicker, easier to park and cheaper. And with the bike sharing service Bike going by bike is even more convenient: operational 24/7, free of time limits or waiting times, this service is located in over 100 points in the city.
By Tourist Buses
Tour buses are not subject to the limitations of the ZTL (limited traffic areas) but must first receive authorisation to pass through the central area by requesting exemption for occasional transit from the GTT offices. In the city centre, tour buses can stop briefly to allow passengers to get on or off in Piazza Castello, in front of the Regio Theatre, and in front of street number 17 in Via Pietro Micca.
The long colonnaded route created in the past for the promenades of the Savoy household in the town centre has now become an absolute paradise for shoppers: Via Roma and the parallel streets of Via Lagrange and Via Carlo Alberto are home to the shops of top Italian and international designers, where you can find the very highest fashion elegance or stay loyal to Turin tradition of historical brands, ateliers and tailoring.
The spectacular Galleria Subalpina, in art nouveau style, faces onto Piazza Castello whose colonnaded walks are an invitation to continue along Via Po, perusing the stalls of used books and records, antiques and period bookshops. On the other side, for a very pleasant stroll, there is one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets: Via Garibaldi. This is crossed by the streets of the Quadrilatero Romano with its craftspeople, historical and modern shops, in an alternative route to that of the top names. And for those who love a colourful, multiethnic atmosphere, every district of Turin has its own market: the top one is at Porta Palazzo, the town’s true multiethnic heart in terms both of people and of the goods on display. Nearby there is also Balôn, the historical flea-market.
Not to be missed are the local markets of the Crocetta, Piazza Madama Cristina, Piazza Benefica – called this by the Torinese but whose official name is Piazza Giardini Martini – Corso Racconigi and Corso Palestro.
In Turin there are 49 local markets. Although it is not the city that hosts the largest number of them, the record is nevertheless constituted by the fact that they are fixed, open every day and located in all the neighborhoods. The most important in terms of size and turnover take place in Piazza Benefica, in Corso Alcide De Gasperi, in Via Onorato Vigliani, in Corso Svizzera, in Corso Racconigi and in Piazza Barcellona.
The most famous market is Porta Palazzo (Pòrta Pila in Piedmontese language), which is the largest open-air market in Europe.
Every Saturday nearby is held the Balon, a large open-air second-hand market, which on the second Sunday of each month becomes the Gran Balon, where antiques are also sold.
In 2011 the Turin director Daniele Gaglianone made the documentary film Men and Markets centered on the markets of Porta Palazzo, Piazza Benefica and Corso Spezia.
By night Torino changes appearance, a city that loves to have fun and to entertain its guests.
Many nightclubs are concentrated on the riverfront called Murazzi del Po, especially in the stretch overlooking Ponte Vittorio Emanuele I, and in the area around the Gran Madre church over the Po river. The arcades of piazza Vittorio Veneto and the districts of San Salvario and Quatrilatero Romano they are full of aperitif bars, restaurants and night clubs.Right from the aperitif moment the streets light up and all the night spots come to life, the wine bars, restaurants and clubs offer jazz music or a trendy DJ set. And then there’s also classical music, theatre and opera for the more refined tastes, shows, concerts, cabaret, literary cafés, carnivals, dance, all night long events… something for everyone.
Piazza Vittorio Veneto, Borgo Dora and the Quadrilatero Romano – the true historic centre – are home to many venues: here art, food and design make the environment even more sparkling, live music can be heard, people chat, artistic performances are watched, and people dance until dawn. Also San Salvario has an irresistible allure, the multiethnic district between Porta Nuova station and Valentino Park, the focus of a major urban renewal project. Valentino Park is also a meeting place, with its boats along the Po that have become venues with a great atmosphere or the clubs for night owls looking for very “fashionable” clientele. The city centre – Via Po, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, Via Mazzini, Corso Matteotti – is full and eventful: after the cinema, theatre or dinner, numerous pubs, crèmeries and bars are ready for all those looking for enjoyment. Lastly, along the roads of the hill there are the largest and most famous nightclubs of the city.
Many theatres or specific locations of the city: the Regio Theatre, where Giacomo Puccini triumphed in 1896 with “La Bohème” conducted by Arturo Toscanini; the Auditorium del Lingotto, maximum in sound quality; the Auditorium RAI, built at the end of the 19th century and home to the RAI’s National Symphony Orchestra; the Carignano Theatre, a baroque gem where the first tragedies by Vittorio Alfieri were performed. The recently renovated Officine Grandi Riparazioni, one of the most important examples of 19th century industrial architecture in the city and a unique European model of industrial reconversion, will be hosting international exhibitions, shows, concerts, theatre performances and clubbing events, adding something new to Torino offer.