Although Turin is not your typical tourist destination when visiting Italy it does offers unexpected surprises to its visitors. First on our list, is the recently renovated Egyptian Museum (Via Accademia delle Scienze 6) that houses one of the largest collections of Egyptian artifacts in Europe including the Tomb of Kha and his wife Merit and one of the oldest copies of the Book of the Dead.
Proceed onto Piazza Castello where you’ll find two of the city’s main museums; the Royal Palace which belonged to the House of Savoy and the Palazzo Madama with its wonderful collection of art works. Adjacent to the Royal Palace, you’ll find the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (near the Royal Palace) where the Shroud of Turin is kept.
Take a break at one of the many historic cafés along Via Po which were much in vogue with 18thcentury aristocrats and intellectuals. While you are here, order a bicerin (pronounced BI-che-rin), Alexander Dumas’ favorite drink made with espresso, chocolate and cream. From here we’ll take a detour to the National Cinema Museum (Via Montebello 20), located inside the Mole Antonelliana – the city’s landmark. This is supposed to be one of the tallest museums, so after your visit take the glass elevator up to the panoramic terrace for one of the best views of the city! Continue on Via Po to Piazza Vittorio Veneto – one of the city’s preferred nightlife districts. Have dinner in one of the nearby cafés or head to the embankments or Murazzi area which have recently been taken over by Turin’s Slow Food movement (as opposed to ‘fast food’) and offer a selection of appetizing dishes, drinks and gelato.
Resume your journey for day two at the Murazzi of the Po where our journey requires alternative transportation. Take the Po River Boat which will take us down the Po River past the Valentino Park with the Castle of Valentino which is the seat of the Politecnico di Torino’s architecture faculty. The park is also home to the Borgo Medievale, a replica of a medieval castle built for the 1884 International Exhibition. The boat ride comes to a stop at Italia 61 where we suggest you visit the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile (Corso Unità d’Italia 40), here you’ll find all sorts of models including 1916 Ford T, various Ferraris, Bugattis and of course several iconic FIAT models (after all Turin is the birthplace of FIAT). Take a 10 minute stroll along Via Richelmy to the nearby Eataly (Via Nizza 230) for lunch where you can find all the flavors of Italy under one very large roof! Afterwards, take the boat back to the Murazzi in the city center.
From here you can choose a few options just remember to pick up local gianduiotti made with chocolate and hazelnuts and famous for their unique triangular shape and golden tin foil. If you’d like to take a break and do some shopping, head to Via Garibaldi and Via Roma, the latter offers more select brands. You can continue your sight-seeing up to the Superga Basilica which is visible on the hilltop across the Po River. To go uphill, you can take the Tranvia Sassi – Superga (Piazza Modena 6), for a 20-minute ride up 670 meters or drive up hill for a majestic view of the city.
If you have more time, plan ahead and book tickets to a soccer match of one of the local teams Juventus or Torino FC. If you are traveling with kids, you might want to consider a visit to Zoom Torino the new animal park in Cumiana (40 kilometers SW of Turin).
Tip:If your trip to Torino is a cultural one, we recommend you opt for the Torino+Piemonte card (2 day car with reduced/free entrance to museums and public transportation). You can pick up the card at the Tourist Office in Piazza Castello or Piazza Carlo Felice near Porta Nuova train station.
written by Vanessa Viara