Visiting Turin - What to See and Do
(Turin Airport TRN, Italy)
Resting along the sparkling Po River, Turin
has become one of Italy's most prized destinations. When Italy
finally rose from the ashes of the Roman Empire, Turin was the centre of politics, commerce and culture. Today, the capital tag may have been lost, but this glowing metropolis continues to bask in past glories, while charging onwards to a bright, industrial future.
Once housing the nation's royal family, Turin slips into any 'top ten Italian holiday destinations list' with ease. The Roman Square (Quadrilatero Romano) is among the most popular sites of this city. It serves as the Old Town cradle, just a short distance from many memorable attractions, including the Royal Palace, Saint John the Baptist Cathedral and Palazzo Madama.
The sights of ancient Turin are amazing, but tourism doesn't stop there. Visitors can blend in with the locals at a Piazza Castello café, or become one of up to 85,000 ear-piercing fanatics when Juventus FC and Torino FC compete for footballing supremacy. Sightseeing is only the beginning of the city's remarkable attractions.
Ten things you must do in Turin
- Tourists must put aside two or three hours and visit the National Cinema Museum. It is found within Turin's main landmark Mole Antonelliana building and recounts the entire history of cinematography throughout its five floors. Visitors can also sit back, relax and enjoy fine Italian films on the big screen. Once finished, you can travel up to the top of the 167-metre / 548-foot building and take in a panoramic view of the city.
- The largest Egyptian Museum in Europe is located within the city centre. Some 30,000 artefacts and exhibits wait for visitors, some of which are the oldest ancient Egyptian relics ever to be excavated.
- Superga Cathedral (Basilica of Superga) is more than just a religious landmark. Erected at the top of the hills behind downtown Turin, this edifice is not only a stunning piece of baroque architecture, but it is also host to Turin's most-adored lookout point. Catch a glimpse of this fabulous city and the Alps raging behind.
- Eat, drink and shop around the Quadrilatero Romano. This square is built around the old Roman town, complete with breathtaking sites like ancient Roman walls, the Church of San Domenico and the Museum of Oriental Art. Nevertheless, it is the mouthwatering restaurants and dazzling boutique shops that are the main drawcards here. Tourists can squander several hours without batting an eyelid.
- The Royal Palace hasn't always been accessible to the public. Fortunately, it has enjoyed a recent makeover and is now open for business. Tours can be arranged from local hotels and tourist agencies. Medieval-style rooms and spectacular collections of baroque artefacts dominate the palace tours. There is even a cafeteria room within the edifice, and art work that warrants a long and absorbing stare.
- The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist is no ordinary cathedral. Of course, its facade is striking and the interior is home to a beautiful central nave. However, its main appeal is the Shroud of Turin. This is a large cloth believed to have once held Jesus Christ following his death. An image of a bloodied and beaten man, with markings that coincide with the injuries of Jesus himself, is visible on the shroud.
- Valentino Park is not only famous for its jogging tracks, cafés and restaurants, but also for housing the Valentino Castle, which is an imitation 16th-century chateau. Despite its crude attempts at authenticity, the castle is still quite eye-catching. Tourists can venture into Valentino Park day or night, but safety is sometimes a concern after the sun goes down.
- If Catholicism wasn't the main faith in the city, then football certainly would be. Two Turin teams play in Italy's top division. Juventus, who play from the Juventus Stadium, is the most successful team in the city. Although, many believe Turin FC, who play from the Olympic Stadium, are the home favourites. This makes for an electric local derby, which is known as Derby della Mole, and should be experienced by sport and non-sport lovers alike.
- Historical attractions are not the only thing on tourist itineraries. Porta Palazzo Market is a remarkable marketplace that boasts the largest, cheapest and most expansive range of goods in Italy. Local pottery, paintings, jewellery, food, clothing and more lure visitors on most mornings and all-day Saturday. This is also a great place to compare bargaining skills against the best in the business.
- Spend a few hours contemplating life, people-watching or relaxing with a coffee in the Piazza Castello. This is the bustling centre of Turin's medieval streets, boasting a plethora of restaurants, shops and cafés. Formerly the centre of the Savoy Empire, this spacious baroque square is surrounded by history. Tourists only need to walk a few steps to discover some of Italy's grandest structures.