Visit Turin: what to do during your trip

by Destination(s) Europe

📌 Read in / Lire en : Français (French)

Welcome to the Piedmontese gem, Turin. We are in Italy, more specifically in the former capital of the states of Savoy and the kingdom of Sardinia, as well as the first capital of the country. While it’s known for its high industrial potential, Torino – as the Italians call it – isn’t very renowned for its potential touristic attractions. However, this city that hosted the 2006 Olympic Games is packed with natural assets and cultural riches that are worth lingering over. So here are the must-do things in Turin, according to us.

🧭 A trip to the seaside? If you’re passing through Turin, why not take a trip to Genoa, further south? If you’re tempted, here’s our guide and the most beautiful hotels with sea views.

🗒️ Time to travel, specialities: things to know about Turin

Before we start our list of must-do things in Turin, a little detour to answer the most frequently asked questions about this glamorous destination.

When is the best time to visit Turin?

In general, spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) are considered the best times to visit Turin. The temperatures are usually pleasant and the crowds of tourists are less dense than in the summer.

How long does it take to visit Turin?

It’s recommended to spend at least two to three days in Turin to get a good impression of the city and have time to see the main attractions. However, if you want to visit the museums in detail or take trips in the surroundings, it would be better to plan more time. We suggest taking a good week’s holiday to visit both Turin and Milan, which is only 126 km away, each offering very different atmospheres.

What are the typical dishes or drinks to taste in Turin?

Turin is renowned for its rich and generous cuisine, which is not lacking in typical dishes or drinks. First of all, there’s the Bicerin, a traditional Turin coffee speciality that has stood the test of time. This delicious and rich drink is a mix of espresso coffee, hot chocolate and slightly whipped cream, all served in a small glass. Each layer is carefully poured to maintain a distinct separation.

Then, among the typical dishes of the region, the Agnolotti hold a special place. These are traditional stuffed pasta, usually prepared with a filling of roasted meat, vegetables and cheeses. The Vitello Tonnato is another iconic dish of the region. It’s a culinary preparation that perfectly combines slices of cooked veal with a creamy sauce made from tuna, anchovies and capers.

Finally, Turin is also famous for its chocolate, and in particular the Gianduiotto. This boat-shaped delight is a mixture of cocoa, sugar and finely ground Piedmont hazelnuts.

🔝 What are the things to do in Turin?

Now let’s get to the heart of the matter, the reason you’re reading this article: the must-do things in Turin, the beauty of Piedmont.

Walk around Piazza Castello

Adding a visit to this iconic square to your list of things to do in Turin is a must. This square is known for the numerous monuments that surround it. Among them, you’ll find the Palazzo Madama or the Royal Palace, as well as the First World War memorial dedicated to Emanuele Filiberto, the second Duke of Aosta.

In summer, when the mercury rises, you can cool off with the water jets on the square. You can also enjoy a delicious gelato (ice cream) in one of the gelaterias that dot the square. A good address? Gelateria Menodiciotto, much appreciated by visitors.

Enjoy a panoramic view from the top of the Mole Antonelliana

Standing 167 meters tall, the Mole Antonelliana is the tallest structure in the city and one of the highest masonry buildings in Europe. It is to Turin what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. The Mole Antonelliana also holds strong significance for Italy, as evidenced by its depiction on the back of the Italian 2-cent euro coin.

Located on Via Montebello, in the heart of the city, this building was named after the architect who designed it, Alessandro Antonelli. Originally, it was built to serve as a synagogue before it housed the Risorgimento Museum. Today it is home to the National Cinema Museum, and of course, you can go up to the terrace for a few euros to see the city in a new light (official website).

Visit the Palazzo Reale

The former residence of the kings of Sardinia and the first king of Italy, this baroque palace stands out for its majestic facade and opulent rooms, including the Sala del Trono and the royal library. Its French-style garden, the Giardini Reali, provides a haven of peace in the city centre. For history enthusiasts, art lovers, or curious travellers, a visit to the Palazzo Reale is a rewarding experience that bears witness to the grandeur of Italian royalty. And it’s undoubtedly one of the things to do in Turin.

Discover Turin Cathedral

The Turin Cathedral, or Duomo di Torino, is a remarkable Renaissance architecture monument, home to the Holy Shroud, supposed to be Jesus’s burial cloth. Its majestic exterior, characterised by a towering bell tower and a white marble facade, contrasts with the elegant interior of the nave and side chapels. A visit to the cathedral offers a dip into religious and cultural history, in a peaceful haven at the heart of the city.

Take a tour to the Santa Maria del Monte dei Cappuccini Church

Located on the Capuchin Hill (Monte dei Cappuccini), the Santa Maria Church is an emblem of Baroque architecture and a spiritual site of great serenity. Designed by the famous architect Ascanio Vitozzi in the 16th century, it offers a panoramic and breathtaking view of Turin and the Alps.

The church’s simple and elegant exterior, with its red brick facade and distinct dome, contrasts with its richly decorated interior. The detailed frescoes, the marble main altar, and numerous works of sacred art create an atmosphere of contemplation… and wonder. A must-see.

Explore the Automobile Museum

As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, what makes Turin strong and reputable is also its automobile industry. This city is the historical seat of the famous manufacturer FIAT. But this museum doesn’t only focus on the history of the brand, it also presents a beautiful fresco of the history of the global automobile.

Over 200 cars from 80 different brands ranging from steam cars to recent models are on display. The museum also houses one of the world’s most beautiful collections of rare vehicles.

Wander around Piazza San Carlo

Piazza San Carlo is located in the historic centre of the city, specifically on the axis of Via Roma. This square has had several names throughout history, including Piazza Reale, Piazza d’Armi, and even Place Napoleon. It is now called Saint Charles, in tribute to Charles Borromeo, a 16th-century Italian prelate.

Piazza San Carlo is frequented by both Turinese and tourists. It is known for its cafés, shops, remarkable architecture, and the twin churches of Santa Cristina and San Carlo it hosts. You will also find an equestrian statue of Emmanuel-Philibert of Savoy, named in Piedmontese, Caval ëd Brons.

Learn at the Egyptian Museum

The Egyptian Museum of Turin, also known as the Museo Egizio, is one of the few museums in Europe where you can see real Egyptian antiques. Even better: this museum has one of the most significant Egyptian collections in the world.

It exhibits more than 14,800 works, including 11,500 in the “Material Culture Galleries”, out of nearly 40,000 works it possesses. You will find many statues, sarcophagi, mummies, everyday objects and jewellery, and a series of papyri.

Taste Agnolottis in a restaurant

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, Turin is also famous for its gastronomy. We all know it, Italy is the country of pasta with, moreover, many ways to cook them. The famous Agnolottis are an example. These are stuffed pasta with a rectangular shape, and sometimes semi-circular. The stuffing can consist of meat and spinach, but also other vegetables or cheese.

This dish is a speciality of the entire Piedmont region, so in Turin, you won’t miss it. Nothing beats pairing it with a good wine. Here are two addresses where you can enjoy delicious ones:

Pastificio Defilippis | Via Giuseppe Luigi Lagrange, 39, Turin

flavored | Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 38, Turin

There you go, we hope this little selection of things to do in Turin has helped you plan your trip. Any other ideas? Share them in the comments.

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