A weekend break in... Turin

A weekend to visit the splendid Turin may not seem much, but if well planned, it’s enough to capture the spirit and beauty of the Piedmontese capital.

 

A hypothetical three-day weekend in the Turin atmosphere, from the beating heart of the historic center to the Royal Palace of Venaria, the monumental Savoy residence of Carlo Emanuele II, museums and historic buildings make it a cultural network connected ad hoc for every tourist.

Do You know Turin?

The city of Turin has existed for over two thousand years, but what we see now is mainly the result of the last thousand. The development of Turin, in architecture and beauty, occurred mainly from the sixteenth century, when it became the capital of the Duchy of Savoy.

 

The real boom, however, was at the end of the nineteenth century, with the founding of FIAT in 1898, and in the twentieth century when Turin was the seat of the Expo of Modern Decorative Art in 1902, the home of the film industry, the first venue for broadcasting. radio and television stations of Italy.

 

After a short period of decline in the late twentieth century, the city has successfully transformed itself from an industrial centre to a creative hub; so much that it earned the UNESCO “Creative City of Design” award in 2014.

Turin Card

It is possible to choose a Card based on your time of stay, from 2,3,5 and 7 days. Free admission to over 180 cultural sites in the region, free also the main tourist transport in Turin: lift of the Mole Antonelliana, the rack of Superga, the train to the airport and the train to the residences of Venaria and Moncalieri. Discounts on guided tours, reductions on City Seightseeing Turin and ski rental, including theatrical events, operas and musical concerts.

 

The Torino Piemonte Card 2 days is on offer at 23 euros, the 3 days at 27 euros, 5 days at 31 euros, 7 days at 34 euros. (https://www.turismotorino.org/)

From Piazza to Piazza

After having recharged with a breakfast at the “Pasticceria Venier”, one of the best in the city, you will be ready to face the day.

 

The most striking thing about Turin is the presence of many squares, all well-kept and elegant like home lounges: Piazza Vittorio Veneto, Piazza Castello, Piazza Statuto, Piazza San Carlo and Piazza Carignano (and these are the main ones).

 

The numerous historic cafes help to amplify the suggestive atmosphere of these lounges. Distinguished by a timeless charm and elegance, historic cafes are undoubtedly a must for those visiting the city, but also for those who know it well.

 

A beautiful walk is the one that goes from the Basilica of the Gran Madre di Dio to Piazza Statuto, passing through Piazza Vittorio and Piazza Castello, where there are Palazzo Madama, the museums and the Teatro Regio.

Piazza Carignano

Piazza Carignano is home to the Teatro Stabile, the “Il Cambio” restaurant and the “Pepino” bar, whose ice creams are known throughout Italy; Baroque buildings with exposed red bricks are the main feature of this Turin square. The most evident building is Palazzo Carignano, a UNESCO heritage site, now home to the National Museum of the Italian Risorgimento (www.museorisorgimentotorino.it).

Museo Egizio

The Egyptian Museum, renovated in 2015, today exhibits 3,300 exhibits to the public and holds around 26,000 in the warehouses waiting to be studied.

 

With four floors to travel over four thousand years of ancient Egyptian history, it hosts the world’s richest collection after that of Cairo (museoegizio.it).

Mole Antonelliana and the Cinema Museum

In the center of the Vanchiglia district and adjacent to Piazza Vittorio Veneto is the tallest building in Turin (167.3 m). The construction began in 1863, by the visionary architect Alessandro Antonelli, initially conceived as an Israelite temple, the project then changed its forms to become an architectural tribute to all citizens of Turin. Today, it houses the “National Cinema Museum” where you can access the lift connected to the panoramic terrace of the Mole, for a breathtaking landscape over the whole city.

MAUTO – Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile

Founded in 1932, it is one of the oldest automobile museums in the world, and the only national museum of its kind in Italy. It also offers audio guides for adults and children and activities for children and families.

 

This museum boasts one of the rarest and most interesting collections of its kind, almost 200 original cars, from the mid-800 to the present day, of over eighty different brands, from Italy, France, Great Britain, Germany, Holland, Spain, Poland and the United States.

 

The beginnings of motoring are illustrated by models with wind and steam propulsion and the first cars made in Italy.

 

Look out for, the Bordino steam car, built in Turin in 1854, the Enrico Pecori steam tricycle (1891), the Bernardi car (1896), the Fiat 1901 car and the legendary Itala 1907, which won the Beijing-Paris race in 1907 (16,000 km. in 44 days); and again the Lancia “Lambda” chassis (1923), the Isotta Fraschini 8A coupe de ville (1929) and the 1948 Cisitalia 202

Photo Credit Giorgio Perottino - MAUTO Torino
Photo Credit Giorgio Perottino - MAUTO Torino

The Royal Residence of Venaria Reale

The Reggia di Venaria Reale is definitely one of the things to visit in Turin. You will spend a royal day strolling in the wonderful spaces of the ancient Baroque residence, among the lush greenery of its gardens. A splendid site that has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.

Go for markets: Porta Palazzo and the Balon

One of the most characteristic things to do in Turin is a walk to the market in Piazza della Repubblica, commonly known as Porta Palazzo: the largest in the city and one of the largest in Europe.

 

It is very picturesque to wander among the stalls, to discover maybe some exotic fruit: if you love ethnic cuisine here you can find any type of ingredient.

 

In one of the pavilions in the center of the square, redesigned by the architect Fuksas and known among the locals as Palafuksas or Aladdin’s Lamp because of the glass walls, you can visit the Central Market, a covered hall with many restaurants and shops dedicated to Italian cuisine: you can choose the specialties you prefer from street food such as the Trapizzino restaurants of starred chefs such as Scabin, Trentini or the Farmacia del Cambio and eat on the common tables in the center of the pavilion.

 

Every Saturday and the second Sunday of the month, the Balon, the most important second-hand and antiques market in Turin, takes place in nearby Borgo Dora.

 

Among the stalls and shops of the Balon you can find a large amount of stuff: antique furniture, old toys, vintage clothes and accessories, used books, vinyl records, ceramics, handicraft products and lots of other stuff. Armed with patience and sifting through the various stalls and exhibitors, you can perhaps find the disc you were looking for, the low table you wanted for the living room, the toy that reminds you of your childhood at really bargain prices.

Useful tips:

Turin can be visited on foott and it’s well served by bus, tram or metro.

If you want to take a tour of the city of Turin in a slightly unusual way, we recommend the antique cars of ”Historic Tram Line 7”

In the city there are many bars, cafes, chocolate shops, pizza restaurants, sandwich bars or piadinerias, there is absolutely no problem in finding a place to eat or have a small snack.

For joyful evening mingling among the locals with an aperitif or a dinner, head to the area of ​​the Roman quadrilateral.

For breathtaking photos of the city we recommend a climb to Monte dei Cappuccini or to the skyscraper designed by Renzo Piano for Intesa SanPaolo or on the Mole Antonelliana.

Extra goodies:

Love Liberty? Well, Turin has authentic jewels of this style, the Villino Raby (Cso Francia 8), Casa Lafleur (in Cso Francia corner Principi d’Acaja), the Palazzo della Vittoria (Cso Francia, corner via Palmieri) that are found all in the Cit Turin district.

Turin boasts an age-old esoteric tradition, believed to be part of one of the points of the triangle of black magic, together with London and San Francisco, and white magic with Prague and Lyon. There are several tours with intriguing and curious paths that lead to the visit of a magical Turin between Sacred and Profane.

Have you never visited a prison and would you like to do so? In Turin, you can visit Le Nuove’s prisons, a visit not only in a little known reality, the prison one, but, above all, an emotional journey in the life and suffering of many unknown people.

Stay Here

Steps from the the main rail station and the elegant shopping street of Via Roma, Turin’s historic grand hotel,  the Turin Palace Hotel, offers comfortable rooms with classical-style furnishings, a typical restaurant, and a lively bistrot.

 

3 nights on a BB basis sharing a Clasic double room starts from £ 525 per person including private airport transfers