Turin is a beautiful city and is now seeing more and more tourists. Here is a comprehensive guide of things to see in the city.

  If you plan on visiting many museums and/or palaces I would definitely recommend getting a Torino + Piedmont card or an annual museum pass.

1. Reggia di Venaria Reale

This glitzy palace used to be one of the Savoy house’s royal residences. It was designed by the architect Amedeo di Castellamonte and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The beautiful gardens, which feature artwork and fountains, were inspired by Versailles. The palace complex is composed of the palace and gardens, as well as the stables (designed by Filippo Juvarra), which features the last remaining bucentaur (a state barge used by Venetian doges and visiting royalty) and hosts temporary exhibitions. Unlike many other palaces, the Reggia di Venaria explains its construction in depth as well as Turinese history up until the Risorgimento.

2. Museo Egyzio

This museum is known to most as the second best Egyptian museum in the world and the best one outside of Egypt. It boasts an impressive collection of artifacts (one of the world’s largest) which include a copy of the “Book of the Dead”, several sarcophagi as well as a few mummies. The massive collection of artifacts was assembles by Bernardo Drovetti and Ernesto Schiaperelli and contains artifacts taken from all over Egypt. The setup of the museums takes you on a journey along the Nile, situating all the artifacts in context in a way that makes it easier to understand and more interesting. Since the museum is very big, I would recommend separating it into two visits so as to not be overwhelmed. If you have less time and aren’t very passionate about Egyptology, I would only listen to the 1 hour version of the audioguide.

3.  Mole Antonelliana and Museo Nazionale del Cinema

If you’re looking for a museum to see with small children, I would definitely recommend this one. From its interactive explanations to its many movie sets and posters, this is one of the most child friendly museums in Torino. The first part of the museum consists of an explanation of the scientific principles behind cinema and its precursors, then you get to see all the inventions that preceded film following which you get to try your hand at acting in front of some moving backgrounds. Finally, you can take a break and watch clips from old movies before taking a loof at the sets. There’s also a panoramic lift in the Mole Antonelliana (the symbol of Torino), from which you can see breathtaking views of the city.

4. Museo Nazionale del Risorgimento Italiano

The museum is housed in the beautiful Palazzo Carignano built by the Baroque architect Guarino Guarini between 1679 and 1685 and was the home of the first king of Italy after its unification in 1861. This museum is the most comprehensive Risorgimento museum in Italy (it is the only national museum) and it houses a very impressive collection of paintings, weapons, caricatures, uniforms and carriages connected to the Risorgimento. This museums explanation of 19th century Italy is not to be missed.  


5. Museo Pietro Micca

This museum is quite tiny compared to the other ones on this list (seeing the whole museum will take you about 45 minutes) but it’s definitely worth a visit. This museum explains the Battle of Torino much better than all the other museums and you get to visit the underground tunnels that were built during the war including the place where Pietro Micca, an Italian war hero, died. There are guided tours in Italian but if you don’t speak Italian you can get taken down into the tunnels separately. This museum is great to visit if you have a little extra time on one day or just don’t feel like spending too much time inside a museum.

6. The Porta Palazzo markets

The Porta Palazzo food markets are the largest in Europe. You can find a large variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese and fish as well as things like clothes and toothpaste. Although they are open every day, on Saturday the flea markets are there too so there are plenty of interesting things to look at. If you need to get any groceries, the markets are much cheaper than most Torino supermarkets.

7. Chiesa della Consolata

If you only have time to visit one or two churches in Torino, this should be one of them. Like most Italian churches, it is very ornate with lots of semi-precious stones and gold, but there a few more things to see in this one. First off, there are the epaulets that soldiers would hang if their prayers to make it back from war unhurt or alive were granted, then there are the ex-votos, which are drawings that people would make if their prayers to the Virgin Mary of being healed were granted (they feature an illustration of their injury or sickness with the Virgin Mary looking down on them) and finally there are the golden hearts.

8. The City Center

If you want to get a feel of the city on your first day, I would recommend going for a walk in the City Center. You can get a first look at Piazza Castello and the palaces that line it (Palazzo Madama and Palazzo Reale), stop for a coffee at of the cafés in Piazza San Carlo and take a look in some of the shops on Via Roma.

9. Palazzo Reale

This huge Baroque palace, designed by Amedeo di Castellamonte, was the home of the Savoy family between 1646 and 1865. On top of the usual dining rooms, ballrooms and throne rooms that you normally would expect to see in a palace, you can also visit the impressive arms and armour collection housed in the Armeria Reale, the royal gardens laid out by Le Notre, an impressive collection of paintings in the Galleria Sabauda, the Museo Archeologico and the royal library. You should definitely see this palace in two visits if you want to get through everything.

10. The Basilica di Superga

To get to this church you will have to take a funicular (small train) up the mountain and through the Parco Nationale della Collina di Superga which is quite nice especially if youère travelling with children. The church itself was built to thank the Virgin Mary for Turin’s victory in the Battle of Turin in 1706. The church was designed by Filippo Juvarra and commissioned by Prince Vittorio Amedeo II. The church’s restaurant is quite nice and not too expensive so you don’t have to bring a lunch if you don’t want to. On top of the church and the view, you can also visit the Crypt (where many members of the House of Savoy are buried) and the royal appartments, although the tours are only offered in Italian (if you don’t speak Italian don’t nother with the royal appartments, they aren’t spectacular to look at). 

11. Parco Valentino

If you’re looking for something outdoorsy to do, or a nice green space to go for a walk or job, this is the place. The park is right next to the River Po between the Ponte Umberto I and the Ponte Isabella.

12. Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile

This is another great museum to visit with kids and anyone with even a passing interest in cars. The displays start with vintage cars and then move to the present day showing how historic events shaped how cars have evolved as well as displaying a healthy number of race cars. The museum also shows the effect that cars have had on the environment. 

13. Palazzo Madama

This palace has two faces, with the medial half facing east and the Baroque half, designed by Juvarra, facing west. In it you will find a palace, the largest collection of ceramics in Italy, a very quaint garden and a couple of more modern temporary exhibitions. This palace is quite ordinary if you compare it to other things you can find in Torino but is worth a visit anyways if you have the time.  


Published by IE