Things To Do In Turin
Turin is one of the wealthiest northern cities of Italy. The way of life here is very different from other nearby towns, or from the farming communities in the south. The city is known for its variety of landscapes and attractions. Turin is full of squares or Piazzas, each more beautiful than the next. The Piazza San Carlo, with its twin churches, beautiful shops, and two famous cafes (Café San Carlo and Café Torino); has an undeniable charm and mystique that will make you quickly fall for the city. There is a grand square, and it has many benches that invite you to linger, drink Italian coffee, people watch and unwind. There are three main squares in Turin: San Carlo, Vittorio Venetto and Castello. Each has its own function and role in the rich history and culture of Turin.
When To Go:
Turin is located in the Piedmont region and is blessed with a gentle climate all year round. It has warm summers (July – August) that are never excessively hot or sticky. The winter season (September - October) is also not too cold, so touring around at this time will not be a problem. This is an inland city, with fresh breezes coming in from the ocean. The atmosphere is pleasant, and at any time of the year, it can produce an enjoyable experience. You are sure to have a great time in Turin.
The cold season extends from December until January. At this time, the sun stays up, even as the evening approaches. The temperature tops out at a convenient 50° Fahrenheit, making long walks at the park comfortable and giving enough time to know the cosmopolitan side and easy going life in Turin. Turin is a place where passionate people enjoy their art, music, coffee, and piazzas, along with their pasta and pizza.
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These are the top things to do and the magical places you can admire when in Turin City:
Piazza San Carlo
The Piazza San Carlo is also called "The living room of Turin" because it is cozy and elegant, like a living room. There are many café terraces to sit quietly and admire its arcades and colorful ambiance. It is highly recommended to take a walk under the arcades, take many pictures and have a good cup of coffee at Café Torino. If you are lucky enough to come during the winter and see it in the snow, you are in for an amazing treat!
Piazza San Carlo is the parlor and the historic seat of the Istituto Bancario de San Paolo. The Plaza of San Carlo is a historic and beautiful square full of meaning. Although the signs of modern banks clash a bit with the ancient architecture, the view of the four significant corners of Italian history in this plaza never fails to please. For many years, since they finished restoration and recovery, the feeling that transmits from this square is that of an open-air lounge, elegant but not ostentatious.
Situated right in the middle of Via Roma, Piazza San Carlo opens with its awe-inspiring side arcades where many cafes, galleries, museums, and shops are installed. It preserves much of the stunning architecture of Italy and is encompassed by designer shops and cool cafes. The cafes have tables on the street to create the “al fresco” (open air) ambiance that most Torinos love. This square is one of the best sights featured in the city. The Twin Churches are also a must see. This prominent piazza is the perfect starting point of your sightseeing journey in the city of Turin.
The Piazza Castello or Plaza Castelo is another beautiful square in Turin. It includes magnificent castles and has a charming and cozy atmosphere, especially during the late winter when there are fewer people, and more streetlights. The silhouette of the castle, especially the one to the back of the Palazzo Madama, completes any picture. With its ancient towers, it looks marvelous, even at night. You will love the Royal Palace’s spacious courtyard in front. At certain times of the year, particularly in the Buna season, it is full of stunning sculptures.
Under the arcades, on the perimeter of the square, there are historical landmarks, like the Mulassano, famous for its sandwiches, and the Baratti & Milano, both of regal moods. Do not forget a visit to the Church of San Lorenzo where they keep the Holy Shroud of Turin. There you can sample Italian cuisine and participate in tasting its famous appetizers late in the afternoon. This vast square succeeds in showing the grandness and history of Italy, with its massive bronze sculptures and row of magnificent castles. To add to the beauty, the sunset view completes an unforgettable picture!
Piazza Vittorio Veneto
With an impeccable perspective, the Piazza Vittorio Veneto is an impressive square and one of the main sights of Turin. Its side arcades are located beside several restaurants and cafes frequented by the young locals of Turin. It is bordered by the River Po and the Napoleonic Bridge, giving access to the famous South Murazzi Powder, a popular area in Turin that is full of bars and clubs.
Here, there is a good mixture of history and modernity due to the beautiful buildings that surround the square and underground parking for cars. Looking from the highest point, you can see the beautiful bridge and the basilica behind the villa of the Queen. The best restaurants are located here. In addition to being the entertainment hub of Turin, it has an excellent view of the Church of the Great Mother, and you can also see the Basilica di Superga. This piazza is a great place with a magical atmosphere!
Santuario Basilica La Consolata
The Santuario Basilica La Consolata is the most moving church of Turin and perhaps the most beautiful. You truly feel something there, whether you are a believer or not. The entrance has a surprising elliptical construction by Guarino Guarini and matches the serene atmosphere of the entire basilica. In the chapel, you can find the image of the Virgin Comforter, which is said to have repeatedly protected Turin from all wars and disaster. There is an extensive collection of popular votives that reflect the faiths of the people in the city.
There are simple paintings representing a variety of situations. These include an accident scene (in the city or in the country, car, tram, and cart) , war scenes (saved person in a bombing, a prisoner of war waiting for his release, etc.) and scenes of everyday illness. You will be instantly moved while watching these artworks- full of faith, reflecting the recognition of the people who were saved.
You can also visit the sacristy, which is quite rare. It is an ancient Roman brick tower that was inserted into the basilica. The entire stamp is visible from the outside. The basilica is located in a quiet neighborhood, with narrow streets and many restaurants.
Real Chiesa di San Lorenzo (Royal Church of San Lorenzo )
Located within the premises of the Piazza Castelo, the Real Chiesa di San Lorenzo or the Royal Church of San Lorenzo is a tranquil place that must be seen in silence. Any noise would disturb the view the architectural genius of one Turin man has given the world. It is a place to gaze with the eyes and the heart: When you see it in the pictures, on the art history books or guides, it looks very ordinary. But, when you see it in person, it is the dream of a single man that takes shape and becomes alive. Guarino Guarini and his trademark Paraphernalia or Piedmonts Baroque architecture merged into a new atmosphere on this church that leaves everyone in awe of its grandeur.
Turin is forever thankful to him for designing this church that shows another example of sublime art and beauty that always captivates its audience the minute they enter this sacred place. The holy face of Jesus Christ is kept well preserved and revered by the faithful Catholics here.
It is a beautiful church with a thousand secrets hidden from the eyes of the many curious people who come to have a glimpse of the sacred cloth. To discover them, you should ask for help from the excellent volunteers. They will introduce you to (for free) the beauty of this church and will also explain (in the next room) some of the secrets of the controversial and highly debatable Holy Shroud of Turin. The fabulous dome is also widely visited by architectural students who come to admire and study the details of this masterpiece.
When there is a soccer match, Italian flags and scarves go on sale outside the Juventus Stadium in Turin. Soccer is the most popular spectator sport in Italy. This country is home to some of the world’s best soccer teams, such as AC Milan and Juventus. If there is no scheduled match or game, you can buy a combo ticket for the museum and then tour the stadium. It is a great experience to get to know the history of this sports stadium, even for someone who is not a soccer fan.
The entire soccer complex is recently built, and the museum has a flashy presentation. It is a fair-sized, compact stadium that is easily accessible by car from the city center. There are several interactive areas, and the acoustics of the stadium tour is superb. It has the standard shop for hot dogs, sandwiches, snack, and drinks. If you need to buy some souvenirs, there is a gift shop near the entrance of the stadium.
Pietro Micca Museum
The Pietro Micca Museum is an excellent museum located in the city center and built by General Amoretti. It was dedicated to Pietro Micca, a miner who lived during the siege of Turin in '700 and tells how he saved this city. It tells the story of that period, the protagonists of the siege and its development. You can also visit the underground tunnels. There are free guided tours, and a visit take about two hours.
The highly qualified staff are very hospitable and can keep the guided tour interesting by starting the tour with a short film that describes various outbuildings of plastic bearing the defensive walls of the time and cannonballs. You can descend into the tunnels, with their very low and narrow brick archways, to reach the exact spot where Pietro Micca detonated the charge that blew up the incoming French soldiers attempting to take over the city from underground. The place is a must see and the perfect place to learn about the war history of Turin against France.
Egyptian Museum of Turin
The Egyptian Museum of Turin is considered the most famous attraction in Turin, and is comparable to the Cairo Museum. It is entirely devoted to art and Egyptian culture. The collections are of high value, cover a period of over 4000 years, and reveals the knowledge of fascinating civilizations of the past. The museum consists of only three rooms, and total viewing will take sixty to ninety minutes.
The first and second rooms contain statues and sarcophagi from different eras and other objects of worship. The third room is filled with huge statues. The Egyptian Museum is a fascinating place (especially for children) to look into the lab, which is undergoing its mummy restoration project. In general, the museum is quite interesting, but not just as a museum in the classical sense. It has lots of interactivity like most modern institutions of today.
Parco del Valentino
The Parco del Valentino is situated on the bank of the River Po in Turin. It is one of the best places for a relaxing break or a romantic stroll while being surrounded by greenery, creating an impression of being in a fairy tale. Usually, parks consist merely of a large lawn with some bench or swing for the little ones, but Valentino is nothing like this.
There are waterfalls, fountains, castles, bikes, tandems, and much more! One of the highlights of this park is a replica of the medieval village, rebuilt from the Savoy for a trade in the nineteenth century. It is highly recommended for individual visits, with family or friends. It is indeed unparalleled, broad, bright, and truly relaxing. Be sure to include this park in your travel itinerary.
The Mole Antonelliana is a bit like the Eiffel Tower in Paris and a little like the Empire State Building in New York. The tallest structure in the city allows you to see a different perspective of Torino and the neighborhoods. The spectacular elevator ride, where it seems to levitate within the structure of the Mole itself, can be seen from the Museum of Cinema. The one-hour ride in the glass elevator is an experience that is a definite must for anyone visiting Turin.
The elevator ride is stunning. If you are not afraid of heights and want to feel safe, it is best to stay in the middle so you cannot see the tall buildings and the piazzas from the window panes. The rewarding part is on the observation deck, where you have one of the best 360 ° views of the city and into the mountains. Visit in the early evening – where you see the most beautiful sunset views over Turin.
National Cinema Museum (Museo Nazionale del Cinema)
The National Cinema Museum (Museo Nazionale del Cinema) is an entertaining attraction housed in an amazing building. It ends with a visit to the summit of the building by a very steep lift (Mole Antonelliana). The Cinema Museum is located in proximity to the city center and near the Italian television channel RAI, which services the Piedmont region. In the immediate vicinity is the first Italian radio station, the Humanistic Faculty, and the first cinema. The building was originally an old religious building, but now it houses a museum with an innovative concept. The museum covers various aspects of the history, formation and development of the global film industry, as well as its associated technical achievements. Its various exhibition rooms explain the simple beginnings of cinema and cartoons (flipbook) in different cultures.
It continues with displaying the different types of cameras and projection equipment. It also represents different eras of cinema history in an abstract presentation, which runs through the totality of hallways of the exhibit. There are various films from the Italian film industry, as well as Hollywood movies. The display wings arranged by themes that run through all floors up to the dome. After descending from the dome down to the ground floor, you must take the cable lift! At the top, there is an excellent view of the city. When you leave, there is a restaurant that has tables with movie displays.
Turin is an ideal destination for those who are into history (Pietro Micca Museum), century-old mysteries (Holy Shroud of Turin), and film buffs (Museo Nazionale del Cinema). Those who love iconic architecture (Royal Church of San Lorenzo), soccer aficionados (Juventus Stadium), as well as lovers of nature and long romantic walks (Parco del Valentino) will also fall in love with the city. Anyone will appreciate the glimpsing traces of European and Austrian influence on the plazas and marvelous squares of the area.
This magical city conveys an ambiance of elegance and classic beauty, all housed in an impressive frame of squares readily available from one corner to another. It is not hard to find and understand its interesting past and exciting future. It is evident anywhere you look when in Turin City.
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