Turin was the first capital of the Kingdom of Italy and retains something of the discreet Savoyard flavour of those years. Split by the Po – Italy’s longest river – with the Alps standing protectively in the background, it is somehow ‘perfect’, but surprising in equal measure.
The air of elegance is reflected in the ordered streets and piazzas, and in the cafés, with their characteristic pavement tables, or ‘dehors’, where some of Italy’s greatest minds, from Cavour to Gramsci, cut their intellectual teeth. Turin has some 18 km of porticoes to explore, an itinerary that will take you variously to Piazza Castello, Piazza San Carlo and Piazza Vittorio Veneto, all of which are best reached on foot, as are the splendid ‘Valentino Park’ and the ‘Murazzi’ along the Po.
Turin is an important cultural centre, with the renowned collection of the Museo Egizio (‘Egyptian Museum’), the Cinema Museum in the Mole Antonelliana, and the Civic Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art or ‘GAM’. This is also the heartland of Italian heavy industry, and the home of FIAT and the Agnelli family: innovation is in the blood.
Turin is also a vivacious, multicultural city. Enjoy a sunset aperitif in the vibrant San Salvario neighbourhood, then head to a restaurant in the ‘Quadrilatero’ where there are always new flavours to discover, from traditional classics to experimental avant-garde cuisine. Piazza Statuto, meanwhile, marks the start of a tour that explores some of Turin’s more occult and esoteric mysteries.
Just outside the city are a number of wonderful royal residences that testify to the power of the Savoy dynasty, such as the Reggia di Venaria, the Stupinigi ‘Palazzina di Caccia’ and the Royal Castle of Racconigi, with its stunning gardens: elegant, ornate and pulsing with history and culture.
Take a journey back in time to Ancient Egypt at the Museo Egizio, which houses the most important Egyptian collection outside of Cairo
Get a bird’s eye view of the city from the Basilica di Superga, or from the top of the Mole Antonelliana
Get a close-up look at the Turin Shroud
Visit the Reggia di Venaria, the most extravagant of the Savoy dynasty’s royal residences
Take a break at one of the city’s numerous historic cafés
Visit Juventus Stadium and the Juventus team museum
Sample some of the city’s wonderful chocolates
Discover some of Turin’s fascinating local legends on an evening tour with Torino Magica
Enjoy a picnic at the Valentino Park
Drink a ‘bicerin’ at Caffè al Bicerin in Piazza della Consolata