Reasons to Visit Turin (Torino), Italy

Reasons to Visit Turin (Torino), Italy

Turin Italy: There’s a whiff of Paris in Turin’s elegant tree-lined boulevards and echoes of Vienna in its stately art-nouveau cafes, but make no mistake – this elegant, Alp-fringed city is utterly self-possessed. The industrious Torinese gave the world its first saleable hard chocolate and Italy’s most iconic car, the Fiat.

Does that tell you something? I’ve already told you about The Turin Epicurean Capital Event and Hotel Genio. However, now I want to give you more details about the city itself. To narrow my list down to twelve items was extremely difficult, even though I was only there for five days and had so much more I wanted to see. I simply didn’t have enough time!

Turin Italy Tourism

Turin Italy Map

The city used to be a major European political center. From 1563, it was the capital of the Duchy of Savoy, then of the Kingdom of Sardinia ruled by the Royal House of Savoy, and the first capital of unified Italy (the Kingdom of Italy) from 1861 to 1865. Turin is sometimes called “the cradle of Italian liberty” for having been the birthplace and home of notable individuals who contributed to the Risorgimento, such as Cavour. Even though much of its political significance and importance had been lost by World War II, Turin became a major European crossroad for industry, commerce, and trade, and is part of the famous “industrial triangle” along with Milan and Genoa. Turin is ranked third in Italy, after Milan and Rome, for economic strength. With a GDP of $58 billion, Turin is the world’s 78th richest city by purchasing power. As of 2018, the city has been ranked by GaWC as a Gamma World city. Turin is also home to much of the Italian automotive industry, with the headquarters of Fiat, Lancia and Alfa Romeo.

The city has a rich culture and history, is known for its numerous art galleries, restaurants, churches, palaces, opera houses, piazzas, parks, gardens, theatres, libraries, museums, and other venues. Turin is well known for its Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neo-classical, and Art Nouveau architecture. Many of Turin’s public squares, castles, gardens and elegant palazzi such as the Palazzo Madama, were built between the 16th and 18th centuries. A part of the historical center of Turin was inscribed in the World Heritage List under the name Residences of the Royal House of Savoy. In addition, the city is home to museums such as the Museo Egizio and the Mole Antonelliana which in turn hosts the Museo Nazionale del Cinema. Turin’s attractions make it one of the world’s top 250 tourist destinations and the tenth most visited city in Italy in 2008. The city also hosts some of Italy’s best universities, colleges, academies, lycea and gymnasia, such as the University of Turin, founded in the 15th century, and the Turin Polytechnic. Turin is well known as the home of the Shroud of Turin, the football teams Juventus F.C. and Torino F.C., and as host of the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Time In Turin Italy

Time In Turin Italy

In Turin, the capital of the Piedmont region of northwest Italy, sports cars and chocolate are a matter of pride. The city is also home to the Museo Egizio, one of the most impressive collections of Egyptian artifacts in the world. A stroll around Piazza Castello and along the Via Roma encompasses many of the must-see sights. Valentino Park houses an 18th-century castle, botanic garden and medieval village. When you’ve worked up an appetite, visit a trattoria to sample pasta, regional wines, and coffee.

Although Milan hogs the commercial spotlight these days, this unsung city in Piedmont has a palpably industrious spirit. Turin is the home of Italy’s car industry, its first cinema, and arguably chocolate; it’s the place in which vermouth and Nutella were invented, and it gave birth to the Slow Food movement.

The country’s first capital, and the engine room of unification, it is blessed with a rich architectural heritage from Turin’s baroque heyday and role as the seat of the House of Savoy.

Things To Do In Turin Italy

Ancient origins

The Taurini were an ancient Celto-LigurianAlpine people, who occupied the upper valley of the Po River, in the center of modern Piedmont.

In 218 BC, they were attacked by Hannibal as he was allied with their long-standing enemies, the Insubres. The Taurini chief town (Taurasia) was captured by Hannibal’s forces after a three-day siege. As people they are rarely mentioned in history. It is believed that a Roman colony was established after 28 BC under the name of Julia Augusta Taurinorum (modern Turin). Both Livy and Strabo mention the Taurini’s country as including one of the passes of the Alps, which points to wider use of the name in earlier times.

Roman era

In the 1st century BC (probably 28 BC), the Romans founded Augusta Taurinorum. The typical Roman street grid can still be seen in the modern city, especially in the neighborhood known as the Quadrilatero Romano (Roman Quadrilateral). Via Garibaldi traces the exact path of the Roman city’s documents which began at the Porta Decumani, later incorporated into the Castello or Palazzo Madama. The Porta Palatina, on the north side of the current city centre, is still preserved in a park near the Cathedral. Remains of the Roman-period theatre are preserved in the area of the Manica Nuova. Turin reached about 5,000 inhabitants at the time, all living inside the high city walls.

Middle Ages

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the town was conquered by the Heruli and the Ostrogoths, recaptured by the Romans, but then conquered again by the Lombards and then the Franks of Charlemagne (773). The Contea di Torino (countship) was founded in the 940s and was held by the Arduinic dynasty until 1050. After the marriage of Adelaide of Susa with Humbert Biancamano’s son Otto, the family of the Counts of Savoy gained control. While the title of count was held by the Bishop as count of Turin (1092–1130 and 1136–1191) it was ruled as a prince-bishopric by the Bishops. In 1230–1235 it was a lordship under the Marquess of Montferrat, styled Lord of Turin. At the end of the 13th century, when it was annexed to the Duchy of Savoy, the city already had 20,000 inhabitants. Many of the gardens and palaces were built in the 15th century when the city was redesigned. The University of Turin was also founded during this period.

Hotels In Turin Italy

Many of the items on my list are interchangeable. For example, the bars hold so much history and the colonnades are an integral part of the amazing architectural style of the city. Of course, I could add shopping, fashion, restaurants, and the style of this royal city to my top 12 reasons to visit Turin, but where do I stop?

I hope you enjoy my photo gallery and are inspired to add Turin to your travels. What are your top reasons to visit Turin?

Edited August 5, 2017, to add that a reader just informed me that Turin is twinned with GLASGOW! No wonder I fell in love with this city!  Thank you to Barbara for letting me know! And the Torino-Piemonte Card is a great choice when visiting Turin

A believe it was only a year or two ago that I spied a photo of a Bicerin coffee on Instagram. I remember making a mental note that I just had to try this beautiful beverage when in Turin. Not only did I try it, but I had my first Bicerin at the original Caffè Al Bicerin which opened in 1763!

My friend, Sanam (My Persian Kitchen) and I were fortunate enough to experience this delicious concoction of espresso, melted chocolate and cream, together. Bicerin are served in many places in Turin, but this is the original location and there’s a plaque where a famous count (a leader in the movement to unify Italy) used to sit everyday for his coffee

We spent around 20 minutes at the viewing area of La Mole, but over two hours inside the comprehensive museum which made me feel as if I was back in Hollywood! There were so many displays, historical artifacts, old cameras, scripts and memorabilia relating to movie making through the years. It was very interesting and would be a great family outing, too, as there are parts of the museum geared towards children.

What is Turin Italy known for?

Visiting TurinItaly

TurinItaly (AKA Torino) is both a business and cultural center of Italy. It became well known in 2006 when Torino hosted the Winter Olympics. The city has excellent restaurants, beautiful churches and palaces, opera houses, piazzas, parks gardens art galleries, and theaters.

Is Turin worth visiting?

And with literal kilometers worth of covered arcades to wander around, Turin is one of Europe’s most pedestrian-friendly cities. After all, one of the best things to do in Turin is simply to wander around and allow the city to reveal itself 

Is Turin Italy safe?

Just like most popular cities in ItalyTurin is a safe city. Violent crime is rarely reported and tourists are not likely to have any incidents involving anything more than petty crime.