Turin has been described as an Italian Paris; tree-line boulevards, art nouveau cafes, imposing statues and a cosmopolitan air all surrounded by the Alps. But there’s more. Turin gave the world its first hard saleable chocolate, the FIAT car, Juventus & Torino FC football teams and is also home to the Shroud of Turin.
Things to see & do
Turin has some 40 world-class museums, charming baroque architecture and covered arcaded walkways as well as some of Italy’s best cuisine.
- EGYPTIAN MUSEUM
Turin boasts the world’s second most important Egyptian museum after Cairo, not necessarily in terms of number of artifacts (as, when comparing collections, every single minute statuette or small piece is being counted), but because of its outstanding quality.
Turin is the Italian capital of chocolate. The famous gianduja, a hazelnut and chocolate paste at the origin of Nutella was created here. Another chocolate-based icon of the city is bicerin, a favorite drink among Italian and European aristocracy, made of espresso coffee, chocolate and whipped cream.
- SHROUD OF TURIN
The Shroud of Turin is rarely on public display. You can see the chest where it is stored when visiting the city cathedral, but can only it when the Pope decides to put it on display. Next scheduled appearance is 2025. There’s also a museum (www.sindone.org) devoted to the holy cloth.
Turin is the birthplace of Vermouth (1786) – what better excuse for a true Turin aperitivo?
- ROYAL PALACES
Turin’s royal palaces are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The grandeur of Turin can be witnessed all over the city: in the Palazzo Reale, Palazzo Madama, Palazzo Carignano, the large, majestic boulevards and the arcaded shopping streets, and, of course, in La Venaria, Turin’s equivalent of Versailles.
- MOVIE LOCATIONS
Numerous film scenes, including The Italian Job and Jason Bourne, have been made in Turin. Guests at the Meridien Lingotto Hotel, housed in a former Fiat factory, can jog around the rooftop test track used in the movie.
The city’s National Museum of Cinema (www.museonazionaledelcinema.org) offers plenty of film history and a fantastic view
- HISTORIC CAFES
The city counts the greatest number of cafés per capita, many of which are historic cafès. About every second or third house on Via Po, Turin’s famous promenade, is a café, confectionery or pasticceria. Piazza San Carlo, one of the main squares of Turin, alone counts three of Turin’s historic cafés. Nietzsche, Alexandre Dumas, Puccini, Rossini, Cavour and Cesare Pavese were all frequent visitors of these famous coffee houses.
- ART & DESIGN
Turin boasts a number of modern and contemporary art museums, architecturally interesting buildings and futuristic projects. Light street art such as Luci d’Artista and ManifesTo adorn the city’s streets and house façades with lights, posters and banners from November to January.
British art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon and Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli explore Turin (video below)