Italy’s fourth biggest city and capital of the Piedmont region, Turin, is sophisticated and elegant with a real old world charm. Home to Italy’s Royal family, there are grand palaces, impressive boulevards, vast parks, elegant shops and classy art galleries. And in recognition of the rich heritage and culture, Turin was also awarded World Book Capital status.
In addition to being the home of the Italian Royal Family, Turin (Torino in Italian) is also known as the home of the world-famous ‘Shroud of Turin’, headquarters of Fiat and home to Juventus Football Club. Turin in the northwest of the country, and surrounded by the snow-capped Alps, is also a wintersports paradise and hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics.
Soak up the culture at Piazza San Carlo
For a spot of people watching head to the central Piazza San Carlo which is surrounded by fine architecture in baroque, rococo and neoclassical style. The Piazza San Carlo opened in 1650 and is named after its designer, Carlo di Castellamonte. Stop awhile and enjoy the coffee-culture in one of the many cafes and restaurants that line the piazza. In the center lies the equestrian-themed Duke Emanuele Filiberto statue, known as the El Caval èd brons which was created in 1838 by sculpture Carlo Marocchetti.
Glimpse the Shroud of Turin
Unless you have extreme patience you’re unlikely to catch a glimpse of the Shroud of Turin. Housed at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, the shroud is rarely on display and only by papal decree. If you’re determined to see the controversial linen cloth for yourself, check the official website for viewing dates.
Visit the world-renowned National Cinema Museum
The landmark building of Turin, Mole Antonelliana, houses The National Cinema Museum. The Mole Antonelliana was originally built in 1888 and was designated as a synagogue until the change of use in 1990. Standing at 167 meters tall to the tip of the tower, this is also the tallest structure of its type within Europe. The National Cinema Museum itself covers some five floors and 3,200 sq. m. of interesting exhibits, including the history of the video camera, poster collection, watch Turin as seen in films through the ages and browse movie memorabilia including Superman’s original red cape from 1978.
Admire the Juventus Stadium
Even those not particularly into football can’t fail to be wowed by the impressive Juventus Stadium which cost 120 million euros to build. Opened in September 2011, in the Vallette region, Juventus can seat 41,000. Possibly the most environmental conscious football stadium in the world, Juventus holds daily stadium tours and has a shopping center and museum on site. Juventus are in Serie A, as is the other big football club in the city; Torino, and rivalry is fierce! Juventus are the most successful however and have twice won the UEFA Champions League. Watch which colours you wear on match day!
View the contemporary art at the Castello di Rivoli
The 17th century unfinished castle of Rivoli today houses one of the most important Contemporary Art Museums within all of Europe. Standing atop the Rivoli hills, just outside of Turin, there are collections by Franz Ackermann and Frank Gehry.
Explore Turin’s Royal Palaces
Turin's streets are brimming with culturally important baroque palaces and a rich heritage within the many churches. The Residences of the Royal House of Savoy have housed Italy’s royal family for centuries and are today listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Within Turin itself there are 5 official residences and 9 further properties within the Piedmont region. In Turin visitors can explore the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace of Turin) and the newly refurbished Palazzo Madama, which used to house the Queen amongst the rich medieval and baroque heritage. There is also the Palazzo Carignano which houses the Museum of the Risorgimento (indeed the only national museum to feature The Resurgence), the Castello del Valentino (Valentino Castle pictured above) and the Villa della Regina.
Discover the Basilica La Consolata
Probably the most important religious building in Turin is the Church of Our Lady of Consolation which was built in baroque style during the 17th century. This Catholic basilica is also one of the oldest in the city.