Top 8 Places to See in Turin

Top 8 Places To See In Turin 1

When you drive into Turin your general impression will be of an exceptionally elegant city full of gracious squares and palaces. You might want to park in the huge underground car park of the Porta Nuova station and stroll to some of the nearest sights. The city is wonderful for shopping with porticoes, arcades and galleries where you can walk whatever the weather. If it is hot, thirst will not be a problem as the city has small water fountains everywhere. You can drink from or fill a bottle at spouts known as toretti which are in the shape of bulls’ heads.

Top 8 Places To See In Turin 2

Turin’s Egyptian Museum is one of the most visited museums in Italy.  It is also the oldest Egyptian Museum in the world. It has a vast collection of antiquities. The whole temple of Ellesyia was cut from the rock in Nubia to save it from being submerged beneath Lake Nasser when the Aswan dam was built. There are also several tombs on display. The collection is constantly being expanded and includes many papyruses. The handsome building that houses all this is in the Via Accademia delle Scienze and is shared with the Academy of Sciences.


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The Mole Antonelliana was once a synagogue and is one of the most extraordinary buildings in Turin. A narrow tower on its dome is 167.5 metres high. It is lit up at night. The Mole now houses a wonderful National Cinema Museum across five floors. Hours of fun for any movie buff looking at magic lanterns and other early cinematic equipment as well as thousands of posters, movie reels, props and memorabilia.


The Cathedral in Piazza San Giovanni was built on the site of three previous churches and is dedicated to the city’s patron saint, St. John the Baptist. It contains Italy’s most sacred relic, The Shroud. The Shroud is believed by some to have been the burial cloth of Jesus after his crucifixion and bears an impression of a man’s face and body on the linen. The Shroud is rarely displayed in the Cathedral but there is a small museum there with exhibits relating to it. 


The Piazza where the church is situated carries the same name. You might feel you have seen the steps in front of the Chiesa della Gran Madre di Dio before. These were the steps driven down by Michael Caine in the original Italian Job film which takes in quite a bit of Turin. It’s a spectacular flight of steps in front of a neo-classical church modelled in part on the Pantheon. You can see the resemblance in the structure of its dome. Legend has it that the church is built on a spot that was once dedicated to another great mother goddess, Isis.

Porta Palazzo in the Piazza della Repubblica is Europe’s largest food market. It’s open on weekday mornings and is popular with tourists of all nationalities as well as the locals. It’s a great place to walk around and stocks everything from clothing to food. It’s the oldest farmer’s market in Turin. Part is in the open-air. But some local produce is under cover, and all the meat and fish is in a large hall. 


Balón is a wonderful flea market to the north of Porta Palazzo in the Aurora district. It has been going since 1857. There are all sorts of hand-made goods on offer on stalls or in the shops alongside. Saturday is market day. The Gran Balon, a more specialised antiques market in the same area only happens on the second Sunday of the month.


The Galleria Subalpina on Piazza Castello takes its name from the bank that financed it. It is a spacious elegant arcade with interesting shops and places to eat. It is also a very quiet spot in the city. In December a beautiful blue lighting installation as part of the city’s Christmas illumination makes the glass structure look particularly magical. The arcade also contains a well-known bookshop and the small Cinema Romano. If you stay to eat in the Galleria, the Arcadia restaurant is getting quite a following for its interesting fusion of Japanese and Piedmontese cuisine. 


Turin has a long-standing relationship with chocolate. Family businesses have been preparing amazing handmade chocolates for hundreds of years. Caffè Baratti e Milano, in the Galleria Subalpina is the perfect place to sample some hot chocolate in elegant nineteenth century surroundings. The hot chocolate in Turin is so thick you can stand your spoon up in it. Or you could try Turin’s iconic beverage, Bicerin which combines coffee, chocolate and cream in one delectably decadent drink which is always served in a glass. Bicerin means small glass.

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