15 things to do in Turin (Italy)

Turin was actually Italy’s first capital and has been the country’s main cultural and economic center for many years. Turin is located in northwestern Italy and is the capital of the Piedmont region, situated on the Po River. The city of Turin has a population of 892,000 and the Greater Turin area has an estimated 2.2 million inhabitants.

Like many regions of Italy, Turin saw Rome in action and held its barracks here. Once the Roman Empire collapsed in Western Europe, Turin was subsequently occupied by various different nations and empires. During the 1300-1600s, the city witnessed tremendous development and acquired many wonderful architectural and cultural buildings during this period.

Get the Turin + Piedmont Card for free, or discounted entry to museums, monuments, castles, fortresses and royal residences in Turin and the Piedmont region

In modern times, Turin was rapidly rebuilt after World War II, and its automobile industry became one of the decisive influences of the Italian economic recovery. The city is now a perfect blend of old and new, offering a wonderful array of attractions.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Turin:

1. Royal Palace

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace of Turin is a magnificent building built in the 16th century.

Located in Piazza del Castello, the palace is central in Turin and has been a symbol of power for centuries.

A simple design was chosen, with a square layout and a central courtyard – the front façade features white stonework and many ornate small windows, creating a stately and official building.

Inside are countless ornate rooms with the style and elegance you’d expect from an Italian royal palace.

Guided tours are available inside, allowing you to admire rooms such as the Throne Room and the Daniel Gallery.

2. Lady’s Palace

Lady's Palace

Turin is full of lavish palaces and historic buildings, the Palazzo Madame is the second palace located in Piazza del Castello.

The original palace was built in the first century BC and has stood for hundreds of years during the Roman Empire, with extensive modifications and construction in the years that followed.

Originally used as a fortification, the building did not become a palace until the 13th century.

Standing on the Castle Square, the facade of the palace features a row of ornate columns and a fence adorned with sculptures.

Inside the palace, you can walk up the richly decorated staircase and admire the sublime decadence of the various rooms and corridors.

3. Mole Antonelliana

mole

Possibly the most unique building in all of Turin, the Mole Antonelliana towers above the surrounding skyline, and its massive pointed cathedral is the city’s icon.

Mole in Italian actually means a monumental building, and this particular mole was created in 1889, even though it looks much older.

Originally a synagogue, the building is now home to the National Film Museum, in fact the tallest museum in the world.

At night, the building’s cathedral is lit up like a beacon, visible from many parts of the city.

No trip to Turin is complete without a visit to the Antonelliana Museum and the museums within.

4. Turin Egyptian Museum

Egyptian Museum, Turin

This wonderful and informative museum is located between Piazza San Carlo and Piazza del Castello in central Turin.

Dedicated to ancient Egyptian archaeology and history, this museum is a history buff’s dream and contains a wealth of artifacts and displays.

Created in 1833, the original collection was imported from other museums and has expanded considerably over the years.

Notable objects in the collection include various statues of Sekhmet, Seti II and Ramses, Ibi sarcophagi, detailed papyrus scripts filled with hieroglyphs and different everyday clay pots, among others.

Guides can dive into individual projects, or for those wishing to work at their own pace, audio guides can be purchased.

Skip-the-Line Tickets Available: Egyptian Museum Ticket and Guided Tour (this is a must do)

5. Basilica of San Giovanni Battista

Turin Cathedral

Built on the site of the first three churches, Turin Cathedral is a fine example of Renaissance architecture created in 1491. Adjacent to the Royal Palace, this church is dedicated to Giovanni Battista, the patron saint of Turin.

The front façade, made of white marble, is simple but effective, and the dramatic steps lead to Piazza San Giovanni.

There are countless design features inside the cathedral, including some fantastic frescoes and marble statues of famous religious figures.

A free-standing bell tower actually stands next to the unconnected cathedral, which can be climbed for incredible views of the city of Turin.

6. Explore underground tunnels and cellars

Turin Tunnel

Beneath the surface of Turin, there is much more to discover.

Learn about times past and experience the tunnels and cellars that lie beneath the city.

Book Online: Turin’s Unique 3-Hour Underground Walking Tour

7. National Film Museum

National Film Museum

Housed in the impressive Mole Antonelliana tower, it is one of the most visited museums in Italy thanks to its wonderful exhibitions and stunning architecture.

For all things cinema and film related, this is the place to go! This vast collection includes historical film equipment, such as magic lanterns, as well as an extensive collection of film posters, film reels, books, and film props and objects.

Spread over five different floors, the museum is divided into different genres, including sci-fi and horror.

This is a great place to visit for any film and film lover that will provide hours of fun and exploration.

8. Superga Cathedral

Cathedral of Superga

If you climb high up in the Superga Mountains east of Turin, you will find the beautiful Cathedral of Superga.

When standing in the center of Turin, you can look up the hill and see the Cathedral on the top of the hill.

Built in 1731 and designed by Filip Juvarra, this cathedral has a baroque style with beautiful orange and white designs, many columns and ornate decorations.

The main church rises above the church and is flanked by two beautiful towers, while the interior is adorned with a dome that lets in plenty of light through a series of arched windows.

Don’t forget to check out the stunning views of Turin and the surrounding countryside.

9. Parco Valentino

Valentino Castle

Located on the banks of the Po River, Parco Valentina is the second largest park in Turin, covering an area of ​​500,000 square meters. Created in 1856, it was the city’s first public garden, and it continues to grow.

In the park you can find magnificent botanical gardens, Valentino Castle and replica medieval villages.

Plus, there are countless walking and biking trails, open pastures and riverside walks.

If you’re looking for refreshments or food, you’ll also find several fine cafes and restaurants in the park.

10. Palatine Gate

Palatine Gate

One of the many Roman ruins still standing in modern Turin today, Porta Palatina is the best preserved Roman portal in the world from the 1st century.

Initially, this huge portal would be the entrance into the city centre through the walls that once surrounded ancient Turin.

The gates are flanked by two large circular towers decorated with scallops, and the central wall section contains many individual arches.

The entrance and tower are 30m and 26m high respectively, occupying the surrounding area.

Sitting in a pleasant park, Porta Palatina and ruins are a great piece of history worth exploring.

11. Santuario di Santa Maria Consoltrice

Santa Maria Comfort Station

Also known as the Church of Our Lady of Consolation, this cathedral is one of the oldest places of worship in the city and has existed in some form since the early 11th century.

Located west of Piazza della Repubblica, about a 5-minute walk from Piazza della Consolata, this chapel is full of character and charm.

A triangular pediment adorns the front door, secured by four large stone columns.

Inside the cathedral there is an abundance of red marble, gold and religious iconography.

The main altar has several religious frescoes and detailed paintings, while the smaller altars and shrines feature a golden relief of the Virgin Mary.

12. Piazza San Carlo

Piazza San Carlo

Piazza San Carlo is a baroque square built in the 16th and 17th centuries in tribute to the influential Cardinal and Archbishop Charles Borromeo.

In the center of this square stands the bronze statue of the Duke of Savoy, while on the edge are the churches of Santa Cristina and San Carlo Borromeo.

The square is framed by a series of arches and marble-faced buildings, giving it a beautiful symmetry.

If you are looking for a quiet place to have a coffee or a meal, this square offers the perfect option as there are many cafés and restaurants under the arches.

13. Castle Square

Castle Square

This square is undoubtedly the most important and famous square in Turin, with many landmarks.

Located in the center of the old city, Castle Square is a huge public space and the life of the city.

Here you’ll find the Royal and Lady’s Palaces as well as the Royal Armouries and the Royal Theatre.

Also, there are many cafes and restaurants, and some beautiful fountains and statues to admire.

When visiting Turin, this square is without a doubt one of the best places to start a walking tour and admire its marvelous architecture and historic buildings.

14. GAM Museum

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

For art lovers, GAM (Gallery of Modern Art) is a great place to go with a huge collection of fine art and exhibits.

Turin was actually one of the first cities to have a modern art museum, a special institution founded in 1895. Containing over 5,500 paintings, sculptures, installations and drawings, the collection is extensive.

Featuring modern artists including Modigliani, Carla, Gutuso, Renoir and Chagall, this eclectic display of contemporary art is really interesting.

The museum is located in the Crocetta district of Turin and can be reached via the Porta Nuova line of the metro system.

15. Juventus Stadium

Juventus Stadium

Possibly one of the most famous football stadiums in the world and home to the most lavishly decorated Italian clubs, the Juventus Stadium is a true feat of engineering genius.

It may not be the largest at 41,000 people, but it has a lot of character and is a great sports venue.

Stadium tours are offered daily, and there is also a museum dedicated to the Juventus football team.

If you’re visiting Turin and happen to be a football fan, you shouldn’t miss visiting the home of the iconic Juventus football club.

Where to stay: The best hotels in Turin, Italy
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