Turin Travel Guide

Savoy Palaces, Egyptian Museum, and Baroque Cafes

Turin, or Torino, is a city in northern Italy known for chocolate, Fiat cars, and the Shroud of Turin but it’s also home to Savoy palaces, Baroque cafes, one of the world’s top Egyptian museums, and the first Eataly store. It was also Italy’s first capital, from 1861-1865. Although Turin sees fewer tourists than Italy’s 5 most popular cities, there’s lots to see and do in the city.

turin photo
Turin Historic Center by James Martin

Plan Your Visit to Turin

Turin is the largest city in the Piemonte region. Milan can be reached in one hour by train and Genoa in two hours. The main train station is Porta Nuova. Driving is restricted in much of the city center. To get around the city and to places nearby, use the metro or buses.

Turin has a small airport with flights to and from Italian and European cities. The closest big, international airport is Milan Malpensa, about an hour away.

  • If you plan to visit several museums or sites, consider buying a 2 or 3 day Turin city card, either in advance or when you’re in the city.
Where to Stay:

See the typical weather in Turin

piazza castello turin
Piazza Castello in Turin by James Martin

Things to See and Do in Turin

  • Piazza Castello is a large square in the center of Turin with fountains, benches, and historic buildings. At one end of the square is the Baroque Palazzo Reale, the Royal Palace of the House of Savoy, where visitors can see the palace’s elegant rooms and royal apartments. Viator offers bookings for a small group Palazzo Reale guided tour.
  • Visit a few of Turin’s historic coffee houses. Turin was one of the first cities in Italy to embrace a cafe society. Try a bicerin, a local drink made with layers of coffee, chocolate, and cream. Since you pay more to sit down, either inside or outside, make it worthwhile by spending some time at your table enjoying the ambiance. Try Buratti & Milano in the Galleria Subalpino, Piazza Castello.
  • From Piazza Castello, walk along Via Po, a walking street with arcades, shops, and historic palaces and cafes.
  • Piazza San Carlo is often called the drawing room of Turin. On the beautiful square visit the twin churches of San Carlo and Santa Cristina. Don’t miss the Museo Egizio, the large Egyptian museum with more than 6000 objects on display.
  • Take the panoramic lift to the top of the Mole Antonelliana, a 167-meter tall tower, for fantastic views. The tower also houses the cinema museum.
  • Wander through the old quarter known as the Roman Quadrilateral, a maze of small streets with sprawling markets, several interesting churches, and the original city walls.
turin market photo
Turin Market by James Martin
  • Created in 1884 for the International Exposition, the Borgo Mediovale, or medieval Borgo, by the river in Parco del Valentino is a good recreation of a medieval village with a castle. Take some time to walk around the beautiful gardens in the park, too.
  • The Duomo of San Giovanni Battista houses the Shroud of Turin Museum. Dating from 1515, the cathedral itself is also worth visiting. The Holy Shroud itself is preserved in a climate-controlled case and rarely put on display. When a special showing of the Shroud is announced, it draws thousands of visitors and tickets are required. See the Shroud of Turin website for updates.
  • Palazzo Carignano, created by Guarino Guarini in the 17th century, is a Baroque masterpiece with an unusual facade. It sits on one of Turin’s most beautiful squares. The palace was the home of the Princes of Carignano and the birthplace of King Carlo Alberto and Vittorio Emanuele II. It was here that the Unification of Italy was proclaimed in 1861. The Museum of the Risorgimento is inside the palace.
turin statue photo
Emanuele Filiberto Duca d'Aosta Monument in Piazza Castello, Turin

Places to Go Near Turin

Southeast of Turin, visit the Langhe Wine Region. From Turin to Alba it’s about an hour by car or 1 1/2 hours by train.

West of Turin is the stunning Sacra di San Michelle monastery and the Italian Alps, where many of the 2004 Olympic events were held.

Turin makes a good starting or ending point for a train itinerary across northern Italy. See Torino to Trieste Rail Map for places to stop along the route.

turin cafe photo
Cafe in Turin by James Martin

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Turin Travel Guide originally appeared on MarthasItaly.com , updated: Dec 22, 2019.