Turin Italy – 11 Must See Sites
Many guidebooks talk about what the city of Turin, Italy does not have. It does not have the beautiful views of Cinque Terre, the ancient ruins of Rome, the art of Florence, the weather of Sicily or the tourist appeal of Sienna. People are more likely to talk about the economy of Turin, rather than its beauty and history.
As tourists visiting Turin, Italy will discover there is both beauty and history to be found in there, not to mention great food and wine.
Turin is a city that is full of parks, palaces, arcades, cafés and colleges. The city has been the seat of a university since the Middle Ages.
Here are the 11 things you must see when you visit Turin, Italy.
Like Bologna, Turin is a city of porticoes with 18km (11 miles) of them along major streets such as the Via Po.
2. Baroque and Rococo Architecture
The buildings have been cleaned and the grey sheen that long covered the most famous buildings has been removed to show their original colors of pale pink, lemon yellow or light blue.
3. Il Quadrilatero Romano
An area of markets, trendy stores and restaurants found iin the heart of Turin.
4. Mole Antonelliana
Known as Italy’s Eiffel Tower it was completed in 1897 and was once one of the world’s tallest buildings at 548 feet (167m). Built as a synagogue it now houses the Museo Nazionale del Cinema, a museum of the Italian movie industry. Visitors can take an elevator to the top of the Mole and enjoy a spectacular view of the city, the Alps and the Po Valley.
5. Palazzo Carignano
This Pallazzo was built between 1679 and 1684 for the Carignano branch of the Savoy family. In 1820 Italy’s first king, Vittore Emanuele II was born here . The unification of Italy was announced in the Palazzo in 1861. The Palazzo Carignano now houses the Museo Nazionale del Risorgimento devoted to the 19th century unification of Italy.
6. Via Roma
Turin’s main street runs through the heart of the city and is its’ historic center. The Via Roma leads from Piazza Castello to the north through Piazza San Carlo to the arched facade of Stazione Porta-Nuova (the train station) on the southern end. The Via Roma is lined by cafés, restaurants, stores and arcades. It is dotted with cobbled piazze and crossed by streetcar tracks.
7. Piazza San Carlo
The Piazza San Carlo is located halfway along the Via Roma and is nicknamed “Turin’s drawing room”. At the southern end are the churches of Santa Cristina and San Carlo both built in the 1630’s. At the center of the square is a 19th century statue of Emanuele Filiberto that has become an emblem of the city. At the Corners of the square frescoes depict the Shroud of Turin. The Galleria San Federico located in the square’s northwestern corner houses a trendy shopping area. Piazza San Carlo is known for its society cafés and in 1786 Antonio Benedetto Carpano invented vermouth in one of these cafés.
8. The Shroud of Turin
One of the most famous Christian relics in the world it is said that the shroud is the winding sheet used to wrap Christ after his crucifixion. The Shroud of Turin is kept in a silver casket inside an iron box within a marble coffer inside the urn on the altar of the Cappella della Santa Sindone in the Duomo di San Giovanni (Turin’s cathedral). Although the original shroud is rarely on view you can see a replica.
9. Museo Egizio
This museum has the best collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts outside of Cairo and London. The museum contains tombs, maps, reconstructed temples, collections of papyrus, sculpture and art as well as items from Egyptian civilizations used in weaving, fishing, farming, hunting, etc. Wall and tomb paintings are on display. Visitors can purchase a combined ticket for both the Museo Egizio and Galleria Sabauda (which houses a collection of paintings owned by the Savoy’s including many Dutch, Flemish, French, and Italian works).
10. Duomo di San Giovanni
Turin’s cathedral is located on the Piazza San Giovanni. Built in 1498 and dedicated to St. John the Baptist it is the only example of Renaissance architecture in the city. Inside and through a black marble arch on the right side of the church is the Cappella della Santa Sindone which contains the urn that houses the Shroud of Turin.
11. Savoy Residences
There are palaces, residences and castles located in the city center and in the surrounding towns.
Always check on operating hours for museums and historical sites when you are planning your trip. In Italy hours change by season and the whim of the people running the facility. Even then it is always good to have a back-up plan just in case a site is closed while you are there.
Video Slideshow of Sites in Turin
Good music to listen to as you watch the tour.
How to find the Torino Tourist Information Office:
A Tourist Information Office is located at Via Roma 226 under the colonnade at the south-west corner of Piazza San Carlo. It is normally open daily from 9 am to 7:30 pm. There is a smaller office at Stazione Porta Nuova normally open from 9 am to 7:00 pm and closed on Sunday.
There are ATM’s throughout Turin, Italy and credit cards are commonly accepted in the city. Although ATM’s are generally available even in the smaller cities and towns in Italy, credit cards are not always accepted.