Are you visiting Italy and wondering about the best things to see and do in Turin?
Turin is in the northwesterly part of Italy and is the capital of the Piedmont region of Italy, along the famous river Po.
Turin, or as the locals know it, Torino, was the original capital of Italy. Moreover, Turin has been a major cultural and economic center for the country for many years. It is also famous for being the FIAT headquarter.
With a population of 875,000 and a metropolitan area of (estimated) 2.2 million inhabitants, Turin got a significant facelift for the 2006 Winter Olympics. It’s now one of the most charming Italian cities to visit!
As with many regions of Italy, Turin had much Roman activity. After the Roman Empire had collapsed in Europe, Turin became occupied by various nations and empires. During the 1300-1600s, Turin experienced significant growth, and the majority of its fabulous architecture got built during this period.
Today, Turin offers a fascinating blend of old and new attractions. Additionally, you can sample some of the best foods and wines Turin, Italy has to offer.
How to get to Turin
Turin is 144km west of Milan. If you are flying to Italy, you can fly into Torino Airport or you will likely be flying into either Milan, Bologna, or Rome. The most straightforward way to get to Turin is to take the high-speed train, as there are many that both start and end in Turin.
Two high-speed train companies offer service to Turin. The first is Italo, and the other is Trenitalia. While Italo only provides a high-speed only train service, Trenitalia provides more options.
The high-speed train route from either Italo or Trenitalia on this track is Turin – Reggio Calabria and back, an exhausting 11hr and 15 min journey through Italy. Indeed, more typical trips would be Rome to Turin (4hr 46m) or Milan to Turin (57m).
Train Station in Turin – Porta Nuova
The central train station in Turin is called Porta Nuova. As a result, if you are traveling to Turin by train, you’ll want to buy your ticket to “Torino Porta Nuova.” You will find the train station in Turin’s city center, which is convenient for just about everything to see and do in Turin.
If you have just a few bags, you can likely even walk to your hotel! On our recent trip in Aug. 2020, our walk to the Hotel Victoria was only 8 minutes.
Turin Airport: Torino-Caselle
You will find the airport Turin airport (sometimes called Torino-Caselle TRN) 16km north-west of the city center, in Caselle Torinese. Typical routes from TRN are primarily to/from large European cities, such as Frankfurt, Munich, London, & Barcelona. As a result, unless Turin is your starting point on a trip to Italy, most visitors to Turin will not be arriving by plane.
How to get from Turin Airport to Turin city center?
How to get from Turin Airport to City Centre By Taxi
A Taxi from TRN (Torino-Caselle Airport) to Turin city center costs about €35-40 and takes about 30 minutes depending on traffic.
More about taxi’s in Turin
While ridesharing is not in Turin, Taxi’s are readily available. In Italy, the most popular taxi app is called “It taxi.” The app works like American ridesharing apps like Uber or Lyft. However, it’s just for Italian taxi’s. One way taxi rides in the city center of Turin cost about 10€.
How to get from Turin Airport to the City Centre By Bus
You can take either a SADEM or Terravision bus, and it is a much more economical option. Both connect the Airport to the Turin city center. Conveniently, the buses depart from the arrivals area, where you can find ticket offices to buy your tickets.
Getting from Turin Airport to City Centre By train
You can get from Caselle Airport to Turin’s Dora rail station by train. The cost is just €3 and takes about 19 minutes. Then, You can take bus number 52 to Torino Pora Nuova from the Dora rail station, only 10 minutes away. Feel free to refer to the schedule for more information.
A starting point in Turin: Piazza Castello
Piazza Castello is undoubtedly the most famous Piazzas in Turin and houses many iconic buildings. As a result, many find it a perfect meeting point for friends and family.
You will find Piazza Castello in the center of Turin. Indeed, the Piazza Castello is a vast public space accessible on foot from pretty much anywhere in the downtown core. Furthermore, I think it’s an ideal starting point for your first day in Turin.
Once you are in Piazza Castello, you will easily find the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) and the Palazzo Madama. Also, nearby, you will find the Royal Armoury and the Royal Theatre.
Also, like other Italian cities, there’s a vast offering of cafes and restaurants to indulge. And, not to forget, there’s beautiful fountains and statues to admire everywhere.
When visiting Turin, Piazza Castello is by far one of the best places to start your tour and enjoy the sights of the fantastic buildings and architecture found here.
So, what are the best things to see and do in Turin? Let’s dig in.
Museums to see in Turin
Turin offers a giant array of museums. Here are some of the most famous ones.
Built-in 1646, the Royal Palace in Turin served as a royal residence until 1865. These days, you can visit various sections of the palace. Palazzo Reale has stood as a power symbol for hundreds of years in it’s central position in Turin.
The Royal Palace of Turin is truly a magnificent building. Indeed, it features a simple design, featuring a square layout and a central courtyard. The front of the building offers beautiful white stonework and many small ornate windows. Indeed, the result is a palace that exhibits power and wealth.
Inside, you will find a myriad of richly decorated rooms and the elegance you would expect from a typical Italian Royal Palace.
You can arrange guided tours of the interior that allow you to view such rooms as the Throne Room and the Daniel Gallery.
Key things to see at the Royal Palace of Turin
- The king’s apartments: Luxurious gold-gilded everything, everywhere.
- The Royal Library: Features 200,000+ books, including masterpieces such as the self-portrait, or the Codex on the Flight of Birds by Leonardo da Vinci.
- The Royal Armory: Featuring its impressive collection of stuffed horses with their armored riders.
- The galleria Sabauda: Exhibits paintings from the 14th century to the 20th century
- The Royal Gardens: Beautiful, and anyone can visit free (without charge)
The Royal Palace (Or Palazzo Reale) is undoubtedly a must-see during your visit to Turin.
After you visit the Royal Palace, you might take a break before visiting the Palazzo Madama. Indeed, your feet will be happy you took the break!
The Palazzo Madama is the second palace located in the same Piazza Castello as the Royal Palace of Turin.
Built-in the first century BC, the original palace has stood for about 2000 years. After the Roman Empire fell, the Palazzo Madama got rebuilt, eventually becoming a palace.
Standing in Piazza Castello, the front of the building features a row of elegant pillars (in baroque style) and magnificent sculptures.
Inside the palace, you can check out the ornately decorated stairways and admire the sublime decadence of the various rooms and hallways.
Additionally, there is the Turin City Museum of Ancient Art, housing a beautiful collection of ceramics, drawings, and sculptures. And, during your visit, you can enjoy the small garden, along with the palace’s walls and towers from the inside, just as the nobles once did.
This Royal Palace (Carignano Palace) is the third palace-museum to visit, after the Palazzo Reale and the Palazzo Madama.
The Palazzo Cargnano is the home of the Italian Risorgimento Museum. There, you will find an exhibit depicting Italy’s history through various paintings, documents, texts, and films.
Also, don’t miss the hall where the first Italian parliament met.
Just behind the Carignan Palace, at the Risorgimento museum’s entrance. While there, you can also see the Carlo Alberto square, with the statue of Charles Albert of Sardinia sitting prominently in the center.
Tip: Piazza Carlo Alberto is very photogenic thanks to the beautiful palace-museums in the background.
Mole Antonelliana is possibly the unique building in all of Turin. For example, the Mole Antonelliana towers above the surrounding skyline, and its tall pointed basilica is an icon of the city.
Mole in Italian means a monumental building, and this particular mole was created in 1889, although it looks much older.
Formerly a Jewish Synagogue, the building now houses the National Cinema Museum and is the tallest museum in the world.
At night the basilica is lit up and acts as a beacon visible from many places in Turin.
A trip to Turin is not complete without viewing the Antonelliana and also the museum held within.
Turin Egyptian Museum
The Egyptian Museum in Turin offers four floors and numerous exposition rooms. Recently renovated, it is the second-largest Egyptian collection in the world, after the one in Cairo!
This fantastic and informative museum is between the Piazza San Carlo and the Piazza Castello in Turin’s center.
Dedicated to Egyptian history and archaeology, this museum is an egyptologists dream as it contains a massive amount of artifacts and displays.
The Egyptian Museum in Turin got created in 1833. Indeed, the original collection was imported from other museums and has been expanded dramatically over the years.
Notable items within the Egyptian collection include scripts of detailed Papyrus full of hieroglyphics such as the book of the dead, a Sarcophagus of Ibi, various statues of Sekhmet, Seti II, and Ramesses, and different everyday furniture, clothing, and even kitchenware!
Guided tours are available in English and offer insight into the individual items. Or, those who wish to work at their own pace, an audio guide is also available.
Note: Plan at least 2 hours visiting the Egyptian Museum in Turin, and even more if you take your time!
Churches to see in Turin
Royal Chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist (For the Shroud of Turin)
Many people have heard of this hugely significant and hallowed religious artifact, yet perhaps had no idea they could visit it!
The shroud of Turin is certainly something important to see. It is a piece of cloth that supposedly bears the image of Jesus of Nazareth. Indeed, some believe it to be his actual burial shroud.
You will find the Shroud of Turin at the Royal Chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist.
While there have never been any conclusions, theologians, scientists, and scholars have debated the shroud’s identity for decades.
At the time of our visit, you couldn’t see it. Instead, you had to believe it was there. You see, the Shroud of Turin rests in a protective casing at the back of the church, on the far left.
There is also an exhibit that details the history and mystery surrounding the shroud.
Once you’ve seen the shroud, you can then take a moment and enjoy the rest of the beautiful and ornate church.
Other things to see in Turin
Juventus Stadium is possibly one of the most well-known soccer stadiums in the world. Home to the most famous Italian soccer club, the Juventus Stadium is a real beauty.
Juventus Stadium features a capacity of 41,000. While it might not be the largest, it has a considerable amount of character and a fantastic sporting venue.
Stadium tours are available daily, and there is also a museum dedicated to the Juventus football team.
If you visit Turin and happen to be a soccer fan, I highly recommend checking out the iconic Juventus Football club.
Where to stay in Turin
Hotel Victoria – Via Nino Costa, 4
A beautifully maintained English style hotel, you will find the Hotel Victoria in central Turin, on a pedestrian-only road. The hotels’ proximity to the best museums and food districts make it a perfect place to drop your bags.
The hotel offers both single and double rooms, making it affordable for the masses. Also, some feature renovated bathrooms, but regardless, all are incredibly clean and well furnished.
Hotel Spa: There is a large Egyptian themed spa in the basement, free for guests to use! The pool is about 20 meters long, and there are two jacuzzi’s, two steam rooms, and a sauna. During our stay, and due to COVID-19, the sauna was closed.
The spa also offers a typical range of spa-like services, such as massage.
Where and What to eat and drink in Turin
Like elsewhere in Italy, food in Turin is regionally famous for Barolo wine, Chocolate, and delicious pasta. Interestingly, Turin is also the birthplace of Vermouth.
Breakfast in Turin
In general, Turin hotels offer free breakfast, usually divided into “Dolce o Salata,” meaning sweet or savory. Sweet breakfast options include croissants, bread, cakes, and jams. Other breakfast options include eggs, pancetta (unsmoked bacon), ham, and other delights. If you’re visiting from America, and want a familiar coffee, yes, order an Americano. But, locals will drink simply a “Caffe,” a small espresso, a caffeine shot that will surely get you going!
Lunch in Turin
Generally speaking, I like to keep lunch to a minimum. For example, I might find a Caffe and order a sandwich (Panino) or a salad. However, if you are looking for a three-course lunch in Turin, check the dinner options below. To be sure, full-service restaurants often operate for both lunch and dinner.
Dinner in Turin
There are many, many restaurants in Turin. When selecting a restaurant, I recommend to first, always check the reviews on websites like Google and Tripadvisor. Anything less than a 4/5, keep walking. There are so many 4.5+/5 restaurants, why waste your time with anything less?
Dinner time in Turin starts around 8:30 pm, and restaurants start to get busy around 9 pm. The best restaurants (even the inexpensive trattoria’s) will undoubtedly require reservations, so call ahead.
As for food options, you’ll likely want to start with the wine. Turin is famous for its Nebbiolo, Barolo, and Barbaresco wines. To be sure, the Nebbiolo grape is native in Turin and is used to make the typical red wines. My favorite with dinner is the Barolo, in the wintertime.
For food, you might find it a bit exotic. Are you looking for a steak or chicken? You might find it, but it won’t be what the locals eat.
Locals eat Finanziera, a stew of sweetbreads, brain, and chicken giblets. Also, you’ll find “bollito,” which is a sort of boiled meat.
Also, you will find dishes cooked in local wines like my favorite, Barolo.
If pasta is what you’re looking for, you will find agnolotti with meat filling. Agnolotti is like ravioli, only smaller, and very popular as a first course.
In October and November, White Truffles are in season, and equally famous. The white truffles can get added to pretty much any dish. As for me, I like white truffles with a simple pasta with butter and parmesan. However, you’d likely have to ask the cook to make it this way.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Yes. However, keep a note of the homeless people.
Did I miss anything in Turin? Let me know!