Located by the feet of the soaring Alpine peaks, Turin is a charming city where old palaces and churches sit side by side with car museums and state-of-the-art sports arenas. A city where art, modernity and culture are complemented by classic piazzas, palazzos and, most importantly, great traditional food, Turin is a delicious palate of sights, tastes and experiences.
The regional capital of the northern province of Piedmont, Turin sits on the banks of the mighty river of Po. Once the capital of Italy as well as the seat of power of the Duchy of Savoy, the city has been an influential force in the region for over 500 years. This is reflected in the beautiful architecture and art that abound in the city, which should be explored from its heart, the jaw-dropping Piazza Castello. Rising majestically above the vast square is the former residence of the queen of Italy, the Madama Palace, which today houses a large collection of medieval art. A guided tour will enlighten not only on the various pieces of artwork, but also on the history of the palace. Immediately next to it, you’ll find the Royal Palace of Turin and the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. The latter is home to the famous Shroud of Turin. Few artefacts have been scrutinised and debated more than the shroud and today it is kept in the royal chapel of the cathedral. The shroud last went on display in 2015, but even if you don’t manage to see it, the cathedral and surrounding palace are still worth a visit.
Stroll south from the Piazza Castello, past the Palazzo Carignano and down to the Museo Egizio. One of the largest collections of Egyptian objects, here you can see everything from old tombs to preserved papyrus scrolls. After a morning devoted to history, you can retreat to a well-earned lunch in one of the many restaurants and cafés that line the nearby Piazza San Carlo. The Po valley in Piedmont is renowned for its rice paddies and while in the regional capital, you should sample the various risottos that are on offer here, especially the risotto ai funghi, which is made with delicious Porcini mushrooms. After lunch, you can either choose to go on a tour along the Po River, or step into more modern experiences by visiting the two equally fascinating museums dedicated to modern cinema and cars. The latter is home to numerous stunning cars including Formula 1 cars, of which the country is so famous, while the former is housed in the impressive tower of Mole Antonelliana, which stands erect as the very symbol of the city. Inside the tower you’ll find a modern, interactive museum that spans five floors, and while you’re here, you shouldn’t pass on the opportunity to take the lift to the very top. Here you can gaze across the city and plan the next place to visit. Your stay in Turin has only just begun.
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