Turin, the capital city of the Piedmont region in Northern Italy, is a charming and elegant city close to the Alps that is definitely worth visiting.
Whilst Turin is often overlooked as a tourist destination in favour of more famous cities like Rome, Venice and Florence, it has so much to offer, from its rich history and culture to its delicious cuisine and magnificent baroque architecture.
The city is definitely underrated and it has many great attractions – from world-class museums to grand squares, breathtaking viewpoints, unique and impressive architecture – there’s something for everyone.
What Is Turin Like & Is It Worth Visiting?
Turin is known for its stunning landmarks and beautiful architecture. The city has its own unique character that is different to the rest of Italy – with a French flair due to its close proximity to the French border.
Turin is home to several impressive baroque-style buildings and wide grand boulevards that feel quite reminiscent of Paris, making it a perfect destination for architecture enthusiasts.
In fact, many people call Turin the “Paris of Italy”, as it has similar architecture, just without the crowds!
The Mole Antonelliana, a unique towering landmark that houses the National Museum of Cinema, is one of the most iconic landmarks in Turin and a symbol of the city’s cultural and artistic identity.
Turin is a historically important city as it served as the capital of the Kingdom of Italy during the 19th century and was occupied several times by France.
You’ll see this heritage reflected in Turin’s many historic sites such as The Royal Palace of Turin – which served as the official residence of the House of Savoy.
Turin is a great destination for those looking for a more relaxed atmosphere than nearby Milan and other big Italian cities.
Unlike other Italian cities that can be crowded with tourists, sprawling, overwhelming and too fast-paced, Turin has a more relaxed pace and atmosphere.
It’s easy to get around Turin by foot, with the majority of the main attractions within walking distance of each other.
The Best Things to do in Turin:
Turin’s historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with several Baroque palaces, elegant piazzas and ornate churches. Stroll round, admire the stunning architecture and soak up the lovely atmosphere!
You may choose to do a walking tour, a bus tour or wander around by yourself.
Egyptian Museum (Museo Egizio)
The Egyptian Museum in Turin is one of the largest and most important collections of Egyptian artefacts in the world. In fact, Turin is home to the second-largest collection of Egyptian artefacts in the world after Cairo!
The Egyptian Museum houses over 30,000 ancient Egyptian artefacts, including mummies, statues, sarcophagi and hieroglyphics. Highlights include the Temple of Ellesija, the Tomb of Kha, and the statue of Ramses II.
The Mole Antonelliana is an emblem of Turin and is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks – easily identified on any picture of Turin’s skyline!
This towering structure was originally built as a synagogue but now serves as the National Museum Of Cinema – one of Turin’s most popular and unique museums. It is thought to be the world’s tallest museum!
Visitors can take a glass elevator to the top of Mole Antonelliana for incredible panoramic views of the city.
Up close it’s hard to appreciate the beauty of the Mole Antonelliana so it’s best to admire it from a little distance!
Royal Palace of Turin
The Royal Palace of Turin – also known as Palazzo Reale, was once the home of the House of Savoy which was the ruling family of Italy. Built in the 17th Century, this impressive palace is now a museum and is a popular place to photograph in Turin.
The baroque architecture is absolutely stunning, and inside many rooms are open to the public, including the Royal Apartments, so you can also see a vast collection of furniture and artwork from the royal family, as well as how they lived.
Photography isn’t allowed inside the museum, but the gardens surrounding Palazzo Reale are lovely, and they offer incredible views over the city and the Alps to get some great photos.
The Royal Palace of Turin is located in Piazza Castello, where you’ll also find the Palazzo Madama.
Adjacent to Palazzo Reale you’ll find Palazzo Madama which was the former home of the Margraves of Monferrato, the Savoys and the First Senate of the Kingdom of Italy.
Like Palazzo Reale it’s a stunning building with beautiful gardens surrounding it.
Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist
The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist is another place in Turin that is definitely worth visiting. The Cathedral is a stunning example of grand Renaissance architecture, however it is best known for being home to the famous Shroud of Turin.
The Shroud of Turin is a piece of cloth believed by some to have been used to wrap the body of Jesus Christ.
Piazza San Carlo
Piazza San Carlo is another great place to visit in Turin. Full of stunning Baroque buildings, with the elaborate chiesa di Santa Cristina and the chiesa di San Carlo Borromeo being the main focal point.
Piazza Vittorio Veneto
Piazza Vittorio Veneto is another must-visit in Turin, also located along the River Po.
It is next to the Vittorio Emmanuele Bridge and looks across to the Chiesa Parrocchiale della Gran Madre di Dio – a Neoclassical Church reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome.
Piazza Vittorio Veneto is one of Turin’s liveliest squares, filled with bars and restaurants.
In the early evening, locals gather in Piazza Vittorio Veneto for aperitivo, a traditional Italian happy hour where drinks are served with small plates of food. Make sure to join in the tradition and go for an aperitivo here!
Borgo Medievale & Valentino Park
Located inside the beautiful Valentino Park, Borgo Medievale is another great spot worth visiting in Turin. The medieval village was built in the 13th century and is now an open-air museum that has been preserved very well.
It’s free to visit and walk around the Borgo Medievale and it is open every day from 9am until late.
Take some time to enjoy exploring the Parco del Valentino and stroll along the river bank of the Po River from the Borgo Medievale to the impressive Valentino Castle.
If you’re a soccer fan head to the Juventus Museum. The museum tells the story of Italy’s most successful soccer club, with exhibits on the team’s history, players, and victories.
You can also take a tour of the team’s home stadium, the Allianz Stadium.
With the Turin 1,2 or 3 day city cards below you get access to the Juventus Museum for free.
The impressive Palatine Towers are one of Turin’s most striking landmarks. The two tall towers dominate the skyline, and it’s one of the world’s tallest brickwork structures.
Built originally as part of a palace, today they are open to the public and you can get fantastic views from the towers.
Try the Local Cuisine
Turin is known for its rich, hearty delicious cuisine. Be sure to try the local specialties like bagna cauda (a warm savoury dip made with anchovies and garlic), agnolotti (small pasta stuffed with meat) and vitello tonnato (veal in a tuna sauce).
Pair it nicely with a glass of Barolo or Barbera, two of the region’s most famous red wines.
Or go on a food tour to sample more of the delicious cuisine!
Sample Turin’s Famous Chocolate
Turin is famous for its chocolate, in particular gianduja which is a creamy blend of chocolate and hazelnuts (like Ferrero Rocher).
Take a chocolate tour to sample some of the city’s best chocolates and learn about the history of chocolate-making in Turin.
You can also visit the many chocolate shops in the historic centre to sample some of the best chocolate and buy some as souvenirs!
Turin is home to some of Italy’s most luxurious shops, particularly on Via Roma and Via Garibaldi. If you’re looking for high-end fashion, head to Via Roma for shops like Gucci and Prada.
For more affordable options, check out the Porta Palazzo market, the largest open-air market in Europe.
Basilica di Superga
The Superga Basilica, also known as Basilica di Superga, is a beautiful church located on the Superga hill on the other side of the Po River, overlooking Turin and is definitely worth visiting when you visit Turin.
Built in the 18th century, the Basilica de Superga is one of the most significant and unique landmarks in Turin.
The basilica was commissioned by Victor Amadeus II, Duke of Savoy, to honour the Virgin Mary as a symbol of his victory over the French siege.
The basilica’s location on the Superga hill was chosen for its strategic and symbolic importance, and its design was inspired by Michelangelo’s dome in St Peter’s Basilica, Rome.
The basilica has a stunning neoclassical facade, with a large central dome. The interior is equally impressive, with elaborate frescoes, intricate marble floors and an impressive collection of sculptures and artwork.
The crypt houses the tombs of the House of Savoy and is accessed by a staircase beneath the main altar. It is a fascinating place to explore!
The Superga Basilica is also known for its beautiful panoramic views of the city of Turin, the surrounding Alps and countryside.
To get to Superga Basilica, take the Superga Rack Railway. This scenic railway departs from Sassi station in Turin and travels up the Superga hill, passing through beautiful forests and vineyards along the way.
The Superga Basilica isn’t just known for its stunning architecture, rich history and beautiful views.
The Turin football plane crash, also known as the Superga air disaster, occurred on May 4, 1949 at Superga Hill.
The plane was carrying the entire Torino football team, known as the “Grande Torino,” along with their staff and some journalists, who were returning from a friendly match in Lisbon.
31 people lost their lives in the crash, including 18 players from the Torino football team. The tragedy left an indelible mark on Italian football, and the city of Turin still remembers the victims of the Superga air disaster every year.
Visitors to Turin can pay their respects at the Superga Basilica, which stands on the hill where the crash occurred.
Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi
The Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi is another must-visit when you are in Turin. Located in Stupinigi, a suburb 10km south-west of Turin, this is one of the residences of the Royal House of Savoy and is on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
The Palazzina de Caccia di Stupinigi was built in the early 18th century as a hunting lodge and was a favourite spot for the Savoy Family.
Palazzina de Caccia di Stupinigi is open 6 days a week (closed on Mondays), from 10 am – 5.30 pm and you can reach it from Turin centre by bus.
You can buy tickets separately or you can get free entry with your Turin City Card.
Take a Day Trip to the Piedmont Countryside
Turin is surrounded by beautiful countryside, and there are plenty of day trip options to explore the region’s vineyards, castles, and charming small towns when you’ve seen all there is to see int he city!
Some popular day trips from Turin include the wine town of Barolo, the medieval village of Monforte d’Alba, and the stunning Royal Palace of Venaria Reale.
Is Turin Worth Visiting?
In conclusion, Turin is definitely worth visiting for its rich history and culture, beautiful architecture and landmarks, delicious cuisine and laid-back atmosphere.
Whether you are a history or architecture fanatic, a foodie, or simply looking for a charming and less-visited city in Italy, Turin should not be missed.
Next time you’re planning a trip to Italy, consider adding Turin to your itinerary!