What to see in Turin

Tourist itinerary for to visit the history centre of Turin


Tourist itinerary for to visit the history centre of Turin: museums to visit and monument to see

The best way to visit Turin, like all cities that are rich in history, art and architecture, is to explore it on foot and using public transport only for longer trips. The square layout of the city, a legacy of its Roman past, makes it easy for tourists to visit, since they can use the main squares and monuments as reference points.

Assuming a stay in the city for a weekend, with at least one or two nights in a hotel, the itinerary of what to see in Turin has Piazza Castello in the historical centre as its starting point. The "Living room of Turin" faces the new Royal centre, which brings together some of the most important museums in Turin in a single architectural complex, such as: the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace), the official residence of the Savoy until 1865, the Royal Armoury, the Museum of Antiquities and the Sabauda Gallery, one of the most interesting art galleries in Italy. Piazza Castello also faces the Church of San Lorenzo and Palazzo Madama, a building with a precious Baroque facade designed by Filippo Juvarra, which now hosts Turin's Civic Museum of Ancient Art.

Behind the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) stands the dome of the Chapel of the Holy Shroud, a Baroque masterpiece by Guarino Guarini that enriches the Renaissance Duomo (cathedral) of Turin. Near the Duomo (Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist), you can also admire the remains of one of the four Roman doors (the Principalis Sinistra (main left door), now called the Porta Palatina) that even in the Middle Ages was the entrance to the city, and the archaeological area, which has the remains of an ancient Roman theatre dating back to the first century AD.

Starting from Piazza San Giovanni, you can admire a number of medieval buildings by walking along Via 4 Marzo. We recommend turning left and following this route: Via Porta Palatina, Via San Tommaso and Giuseppe Barbaroux; in this way you will discover the Contrada dei Guardinfanti, one of the oldest areas of Turin, full of enchanting backstreets and old fashioned shops.

Continuing of what to see in Turin towards Via Pietro Micca you will return to Piazza Castello, which can be considered in the heart of Turin; the main shopping streets branch off from there: Via Garibaldi, Via Po and the luxurious Via Lagrange and Via Roma. Walking through the latter's arcades, you will see a succession of sparkling windows that lead tourists to Piazza San Carlo, recently restored and turned into a pedestrian area, faced by the terraces of historic cafés, once frequented by royalty, aristocrats and writers. The centre of the square is dominated by the Caval'd'Brons, a famous equestrian monument in honour of Emanuele Filiberto, by the sculptor Carlo Marocchetti (1838). Via Roma extends for over 750 metres and ends at the gardens of Piazza Carlo Felice, facing the Porta Nuova railway station, built between 1865 and 1868.

Moving from Piazza San Carlo, along Via Maria Vittoria for a few hundred metres, you will arrive near the Museo Egizio of Turin (Egyptian Museum) (without doubt worth a visit!), which is considered, for the value of its archaeological findings, the most important in the world after the museum in Cairo. Continuing on Via Accademia delle Scienze, towards Piazza Castello, you can admire Palazzo Carignano. It was built and designed by Guarino Guarini, and it was the seat of the first Italian parliament. It now houses the new Museo Nazionale del Risorgimento (national Risorgimento museum) and the splendid Teatro Carignano (the Carignano theatre, a project by Benedetto Alfieri, 1752), recently reopened to the public after a long period of restoration. Alongside the entrances to the theatre is the historic Il Cambio Restaurant, where you can still see the table where Cavour used to sit. A short distance from Palazzo Carignano, with access from Via Cesare Battisti, you can stroll along the Subalpina Gallery: an elegant iron walkway, made by Pietro Carrera in 1873 and featuring typical Liberty architecture furnishings and decor from the beginning of the 1900s.

Continuing the itinerary of what to see in Turin and once again back in Piazza Castello, near Palazzo Madama, you can follow the arcades of Via Po, a street that leads to Piazza Vittorio Veneto, one of the biggest squares in Europe. This square has porticos on all sides, and it was recently restored and turned into a pedestrian area. From it you can admire the Gran Madre di Dio church and the Monte dei Cappuccini, where the XVI century convent of the same name, designed by Ascanio Vittozzi, is located. The convent hosts the Museo della Montagna (mountain museum), and from here you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city and part of the hills of Turin. Piazza Vittorio Veneto is much loved by the people of Turin, also because of the numerous night spots and bars frequented at all hours of the day. From Via Po, walking along Via Montebello, you will reach the landmark of Turin, the Mole Antonelliana (167 metres high), which hosts the Museo Nazionale del Cinema (the national cinema museum, which is well worth visiting) and a panoramic elevator that takes visitors up to the little temple at a height of 85 metres, from which in good weather, there is a great overall view of the city, the hills of Turin and the Alps, whose peaks are almost permanently snow-capped.

We recommend planning on at least 2.5/3 hours to visit all the above-mentioned museums, and to split this tour over at least two days. Those of you with more time on their hands can take the opportunity of extending the route and visiting other very important cultural sites in Turin. Other places of what to see in Turin of interest to tourists are: the 8Gallery shopping mall inside the Lingotto (the former Fiat factory) and the new Museo dell'Automobile (automobile museum) (both reachable from the Porta Nuova station with the new metro line 1 - Lingotto stop), the Borgo Medievale (medieval district) and the Parco del Valentino (which can be reached from Porta Nuova by tram 9 or from Murazzi sul Po by GTT boat), or the Basilica of Superga, located at 650 metres above sea level on the Collina Torinese (Torino Hill), which can be reached with the original "Dentera" funicular (see things to do in Turin). At the Basilica you can also visit the Savoia (former Italian royal family) tombs. In the surrounding park, on a clear day, you can enjoy a great view of the city of Turin. Also not to be missed is an opportunity to visit the Reggia di Venaria with its magnificent gardens, as well as the stunning exhibitions and halls, which have just been reopened, of the Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi.

What to see in Turin: uselful imformation for to visit the main museums of Turin »

Map the center of Turin .PDF [Source: turismotorino.org]