The City of Turin
Turin, with its 900.000 inhabitants, is the fourth biggest Italian city and the second in the North West.
Discovering Turin means passing through twenty centuries of history. Walking through its streets is like visiting an open air museum, you can discover Italian history visiting the city that went from being a Roman encampment and a medieval centre to the first capital of Italy.
With its 40 museums Turin satisfies the tourist’s curiosity. The National Museum of Cinema in the Mole Antonelliana gives an insight into the world of cinema, from magic lanterns to the special effects of Hollywood cinema. The GAM, Civic Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art has Chagall, Modigliani and Picasso paintings, and there is a historical museum dedicated to Pietro Micca, where you can tour the tunnels under the ancient town.
Palazzo Carignano, the work of Guarini, saw the birth of the first Italian Parliament and which today hosts the Museum of the Risorgimento. In another Guarini building, in Piazza Carignano, you can visit the Egyptian Museum, the second only to the Cairo Museum for the number and importance of its exhibits.
To the right of the Royal Palace, you can find the Archivio di Stato and the Regio Theatre. Behind them is the Cavallerizza area, historically reserved for the King and the Court and then transformed to hold the Regia Zecca and the Military Academy.
Historic cafés are seats of tradition and culture and worth visiting for their antique furniture and the warm atmosphere of the real Turin. Here taste the “bicerin”, a mix of chocolate, milk and coffee popular since the seventeenth century.
The aperitif ritual should not be missed either, a moment for relaxing with friends while nibbling delicious savouries in one of the various dehors where you can enjoy the natural and architectural beauties of Turin. The city offers a very high level of cuisine too as Turin is the capital of wines, both red and white, that perfectly match its traditional dishes. Turin offers high quality restaurants, with an eye on tradition and extraordinary local products: cheese, wild mushrooms, truffles, chocolate, and prestigious wines.
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A city in the heart of Europe
Turin is a city that looks to the future, confident of its historic legacy of material and cultural resources. The capital of the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 to 1864, Turin’s industrial development began in the second half of the 19th century. Industry was the key sector in the city’s development throughout the 20th century.
Turin periodically re-invents itself and this is the reason for its renewed modernity.
Today, the city has several faces: a centre of finance and industry, international trade and a meeting point, but at the same time a city which is pleasant to live in with an unmistakable atmosphere.
Seen from the air, Turin shows all its rationality: straight roads crossing at right angles, long tree-lined avenues, great squares and luminous internal courtyards. But it also reveals the imposing presence of nature: four rivers, the hills, parks and gardens that make it one of the greenest cities in Europe.
A region which has been the main stage for European history. From Roman Britain to Flanders, from Franche Comté to Burgundy, from Switzerland to the western provinces of the Empire, the cities in this belt are the original urban heartland of Europe.
Turin is also strategically projected towards new markets and new trading partners – along the “Latin axis”, that runs from Madrid and Barcelona to the Midi in France, through the Po Valley and on to the south and east.
Turin’s historical and economic links with Europe are confirmed by its efficient infrastructure network.
The Savoy capital
The capital of the Duchy of Savoy, the Kingdom of Sardinia and then the first capital of Italy, Turin offers a circuit of great historical and architectural interest: the Savoy Residences.
In addition to the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Savoys until 1865, the circuit includes palaces, residences and castles in the city centre and in the surrounding towns. Turin is home to Palazzo Chiablese, the Royal Armoury, the Royal Library, Palazzo Madama, Palazzo Carignano, Villa della Regina, and the Valentino Castle. In the area around the city, the castles of Rivoli, Moncalieri, Venaria, Agliè, Racconigi, Govone and Pollenzo can also be visited. Moreover the Hunting Lodge by Juvarra can be admired in Stupinigi.
Some of these host events, exhibitions and cultural initiatives.
Entertainment and shopping in Turin
An opera theatre, three auditoriums, twelve theatres, high quality concerts and live music: Turin loves music. Concerts of all kinds attract an educated and open to innovation audience. The city has a large number of associations that help to make the quality of musical life in Turin unique. The RAI National Symphonic Orchestra is based in Turin.
The Teatro Regio, one of Italy’s most prestigious opera houses, offers a programme of the highest international standing.
The Unione Musicale, founded in 1946 to promote music among young people, organises a busy programme of chamber music concerts every year. The Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi is one of Italy’s most famous music schools, attended by over 700 students. It contains an auditorium with splendid acoustics. The Lingotto Auditorium (one of the largest and most modern in Italy and one of Renzo Piano’s masterpieces) hosts the world’s greatest orchestras with renowned directors and soloists. The high point of the musical season in Turin is MITO Settembre Musica: a full immersion in music for the whole September. From symphonic concerts to chamber music, contemporary and ethnic music, oratorio and jazz, this rich and varied programme attracts 40,000 people every year.
Turin boasts five shopping centres, 16,000 shops, 60 open-air markets and more than 12 kilometres of arcades. These are the figures of one of the Italian capitals for quality shopping.
Haute couture boutiques and jewellery under the arcades of Via Roma and the Subalpina and San Federico galleries; antiques shops and restoration workshops in Via Maria Vittoria, Via della Rocca and Via Principe Amedeo; bookshops, perfume and clothes shops in Via Garibaldi – the city’s longest pedestrian street.
Out of town trips
Turin is at the centre of a ring of mountains and close to Mar Ligure.
From Genoa to Cannes, all the most famous tourist resorts of the Riviera and the Côte d’Azur are linked to Turin by motorway. You can be at the seaside in an hour and a half.
There are also excellent regular rail connections. Only a little more than one hour from Turin there are winter sports resorts renowned throughout the world: Bardonecchia, San Sicario, Sauze d’Oulx and Sestrières.
Mountains are the natural home for winter sports, but also the ideal place for enjoying uncontaminated nature. In warmer months, the Alpine valleys closest to the city – Lanzo, Susa, Chisone, Germanasca and Pellice – are the perfect setting for walks and hikes, taking visitors even as far as the Gran Paradiso national park.
The Gran Paradiso was the first park established in Italy and incorporates a vast area of valleys and mountains. The highest peak is over four thousand metres high, like many others in the Valle d’Aosta, where the most famous are Mont Blanc (4,810 metres), Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn.
The Alps boast the highest peaks in Europe, and constitute a unique natural and biological heritage. An extremely important environmental and tourist resource, that is conserved and enhanced with the due equilibrium in Piedmont: there are two national parks and 55 protected areas.
Only 70 kilometres from Turin, between Langa and Monferrato, some of the world’s most celebrated wines are grown: Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Asti Spumante and Moscato. This is the centre of a noble and very varied gastronomic tradition. Here you will find some of Piedmont’s most beautiful towns, among them Alba, Bra, Casale and Cherasco. Langhe and Monferrato are less than an hour from Turin. Once just a destination for day-trippers, today the area is visited by tourists from Switzerland, Germany and all of Northern Europe.
Just 90 minutes from Turin, there are two of the most famous lakes in Italy: the great Lake Maggiore and the smaller Lake of Orta. Holiday resorts since the beginning of the century, they conserve the architecture of the period in their beautiful villas and many hotels.
The area of Lake Maggiore offers high quality tourist facilities: resorts and historical parks, protected environmental areas as well as water sports centres.