Discover the unmissable things to do in Turin: from the Mole Antonelliana to the Egyptian Museum, through parks, historic cafes and popular markets.
A city with a thousand faces, with an elegant historic center and a long list of world-class monuments, galleries and museums, surrounded by green parks, tree-lined avenues and hills, embraced by the chain of the Alps and the loops of the Po.
Turin has a very fascinating past and contains among its palaces, its avenues and in the bowels of the earth elusive mysteries and ancient stories. After having long been the capital of Italy and seat of the royal family, it has known an industrial period that has changed its features and his cultural appearance.
In this article you will discover what are the unmissable things to do in Turin, a city that knows how to combine history and innovation, art and culture, tradition and creativity.
Things to do in Turin, Italy: the 10 best things you shouldn't miss
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Today Turin is a multi-ethnic and lively city that has been able to welcome and incorporate new identities, but at the same time preserve its roots and its history, witnessed by the same urban appearance: ancient buildings, monuments and magnificent avenues give way to industrial structures, currently in use or reinterpreted as open spaces to cultural and artistic initiatives.
In the historic center you can breathe the history of the city, from Roman origins to the Savoy era and Risorgimento: in addition to the most prestigious monuments and museums, such as the Mole Antonelliana, the Egyptian Museum, the Royal Palace and the Shroud Chapel, It is nice to get lost in the arcaded streets, the majestic squares, the historic cafes and the refined shops. It is the place where you can taste the flavors and scents of the Turin gastronomic tradition such as gianduia chocolate, bicerin, bunet, Piedmontese wines.
Visiting Turin means immersing yourself in flavors and scents that stimulate the senses and imagination: we have selected for you 10 unmissable things to do in Turin in 2023: read on if you want to know the best attractions and places not to be missed in the Piedmontese capital.
10. Turin Aperitivo and Street Food Tour
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Turin is not only history and culture, but also excellent gastronomy inspired by the richness and uniqueness of the products of the Piedmontese territory. If you love good food you can not miss the Tour of aperitifs and street food, an engaging experience that will make you enjoy local specialties in a convivial and fun atmosphere typical of the old "piole" of Turin..
The tour, which lasts about three hours, starts from the elegant Piazza San Carlo to take you on a tasty journey through the shops and historic venues of Turin. Along the way, you can taste the vermouth, the first aperitif in the world invented in Turin in 1786, accompanied by handmade breadsticks, a platter of typical Piedmontese products with meats, cheeses and sauces, and creative cocktails with local spirits.
You can also taste the gourmet stuffed potatoes, a Turin specialty that mixes tradition and innovation, and the Piedmontese craft beer produced with quality ingredients and decorated with original labels: an unmissable opportunity to know the city from a different perspective.
9, Turin Sweet and Chocolate Tour
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If you love chocolate and want to discover its history you can not miss the Tour of sweets and chocolate, a journey through the flavors and scents of traditional Turin confectionery. This tour will make you taste the specialties of the city such as bicerin, bunet, gianduiotto, but also ice cream, pastries and coffee blends. The tour is also an opportunity to learn about the culture and history of Turin and its long relationship with the "food of the gods".
Starting from Piazza San Carlo, one of the elegant "living rooms" of the city, you will be the protagonist of a delicious journey through the city’s historic chocolatiers and cafes, including Art Nouveau furnishings, wood panelling, antique mirrors and porcelain saucers: a real time travel that will allow you to know the secrets and curiosities of the Turin chocolatiers.
8. Magic Turin guided walking Tour
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Turin is a fascinating and mysterious city, which contains the secrets of a centuries-old esoteric tradition: located on the 45th parallel, it would be the summit of the two triangles of magic, the white and the black.
If you want to discover its hidden and intriguing side you can not miss the magical Tour of Turin: the meeting point is in Piazza Statuto, one of the most sinister squares of Turin, the black heart of the city. According to legend, here is the door of hell, and it is the monument with its symbolic references to indicate its presence.
The journey continues through Masonic symbols, disturbing faces, alchemical puzzles and mysterious legends. Along the way, you can discover the secrets of the Devil’s Gate, the spooky statues of the Dioscuri, the magic of the Great Mother and the theories of the two magic triangles: about two and a half hours of mystery and hidden secrets to have a truly alternative view of the city.
7. Torino Sotterranea Tour
To try another experience steeped in mystery, the Tour of Underground Turin is definitely an activity to consider.
Thanks to this guided tour, you can go down to about 15 meters deep underground to visit hidden places full of history, such as the eighteenth-century galleries of the Pietro Micca Museum where the French siege of 1706 took place, the royal Porta Palazzo glaciers that served to preserve food in the Savoy era, the secrets cellars of the Baroque palaces where treasures and prisoners were hidden and the ancient catacombs below the churches, burial place of the first Christians.
An unusual perspective from which to admire the city and discover the Turin of the "downstairs" that on many occasions throughout history has saved and given shelter to the inhabitants of the "upstairs".
6. A journey through 4000 years of history, art and archaeology
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The Egyptian Museum of Turin has many records: it is the oldest in the world dedicated to the Nilotic civilization and is considered second in importance only to that of Cairo: it is spread over four floors, for a total of 12,000 square meters of exhibition area.
It houses a collection of over 30,000 exhibits divided into different thematic sections: the history of the museum, the statuary, the tombs and temples, everyday life, religion and the cult of the dead, writing and literature, human and animal mummies, ceramics.
It also offers temporary exhibitions, educational activities, workshops and guided tours: an experience suitable not only for lovers of ancient history, able to involve a diverse audience thanks to a modern and interactive approach.
The videoguide that accompanies the visitor along the exhibition path providing information, insights and curiosities on the finds, also allows you to interact with some objects through augmented reality and listen to the voices of the protagonists of the story.
5. The first and most important Savoy residence in Piedmont
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Palazzo Reale di Torino is one of the most important Savoy residences in Piedmont, seat of political power for three centuries. It is located in the heart of the city, near Piazza Castello, and it is a part of the Royal Museums of Turin.
Visiting the palace you can admire the magnificence of the royal apartments and the works great painters and sculptors from the Renaissance to the twentieth century: you will discover how the rulers and their guests lived in everyday life, breathing the atmosphere of a royal court with its magnificent rooms, its precious furnishings, paintings and sculptures of great value.
You will visit the Throne Room, where official ceremonies and royal audiences were held, decorated with gilded stuccoes and Flemish tapestries, the Shroud Chapel, a baroque masterpiece designed by Guarino Guarini to guard the famous relic, the Royal Armory, one of the richest and oldest collections of weapons and armor in the world with pieces from different eras and cultures, the Savoy Gallery, one of the most important art galleries in Italy with over 700 paintings ranging from the thirteenth to the twentieth century, commissioned by Carlo Alberto di Savoia who in 1832 decided to open to the public the royal family's art collection.
4. The tallest museum in Europe in a record-breaking building
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The Mole Antonelliana is the architectural symbol of Turin and houses the National Cinema Museum, one of the most important in the world.
This superb building was designed by the architect Alessandro Antonelli, who was commissioned a synagogue for the Jewish community of Turin. In 1878, due to the increasing costs and the ongoing changes made by Antonelli, the Jewish community abandoned the project, selling the building to the City of Turin.
So it became a monument to national unity and Antonelli continued the work until his death in 1888. It was his son Costanzo who completed the work in 1889, reaching 167 meters in height: the tallest brick building in the world until 1908, when the spire collapsed due to lightning.
Visiting the Mole and the Museum means immersing yourself in the magic of cinema and retracing its history from its origins to the present day through a rich collection of objects, images and installations: you can also take the panoramic lift up to the temple at 85 meters high and enjoy an extraordinary view of the city and the Alps.
3. The world’s first automobile museum
Visiting the Automobile Museum in Turin means a journey through the history, culture and technology of an invention that has radically changed the way of conceiving travel and has become a true status symbol over time.
The Museum, founded in 1933 and named after Gianni Agnelli, houses one of the most important and ancient car collections in the world, with over 200 specimens belonging to 80 different brands. The exhibition runs on three floors and tells the evolution of car from its first prototype of 1769 to the latest and futuristic models.
The Museum also offers a range of services and activities for visitors of all ages, such as audio guides, guided tours, driving simulators, educational workshops, temporary exhibitions and special events. The Automobile Museum of Turin is a place not to be missed for motor enthusiasts, but also for those who want to discover the history and culture of a city that has made the car its industrial and artistic vocation.
2. The charm of a baroque palace between art and nature
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The Royal Palace of Venaria Reale is one of the most beautiful and impressive Savoy residences, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997: it was reopened to the public in 2007 after being one of the most important restoration works in Europe.
The grand complex on the outskirts of Turin boasts 80 thousand square meters of building, whose noble part is a splendid example of Piedmontese Baroque, 60 hectares of gardens located near the historic center of seventeenth-century Venaria and 3,000 hectares of fenced Park La Mandria.
The Palace was commissioned by Duke Carlo Emanuele II as a hunting residence and was designed by the architect Amedeo di Castellamonte in the seventeenth century. Inside you can admire the beautiful royal apartments, the frescoed rooms, the art galleries and a rich program of temporary exhibitions.
The Reggia di Venaria also offers the opportunity to take walks in the park, visit the Castello della Mandria and the Borgo Castello, participate in events and activities for families and schools, enjoy local cuisine in restaurants and cafes.
1. A masterpiece of architecture between the Middle Ages and Baroque
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Palazzo Madama, the imposing building located in Piazza Castello in Turin, has very ancient origins witnessed by the stratification of styles that still characterize it today. It stands on the ruins of the Porta Praetoria of what was once the Roman colony Julia Augusta Taurinorum, founded in the first century B.C.
In the Middle Ages, the site was transformed into a stronghold of the Acaja, cadet branch of Savoy, who built a square tower and a castle with four corner towers. Later, during the Renaissance period, the castle was enlarged and embellished by Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia, who chose it as his residence in Turin.
In the 17th century Cristina of France, widow of Vittorio Amedeo I of Savoy, restored it with the dictates of the Baroque style, adding a new wing towards the square and decorating the rooms with frescoes and stuccoes. In the 18th century Maria Giovanna Battista di Savoia-Nemours, widow of Carlo Emanuele II, commissioned the architect Filippo Juvarra to build the splendid baroque façade that still characterizes the palace today.
In 1861, Palazzo Madama was the seat of the first Senate of the Kingdom of Italy: since 1934 it houses the Civic Museum of Ancient Art which preserves a rich collection of works from the Middle Ages to the eighteenth century, including paintings, sculptures, furnishings, ceramics, textiles and weapons. The exhibition area is divided into four floors and offers visitors a chronological and thematic journey through the different historical and artistic eras that have marked the life of the building.