Main attractions to see in Turin, Italy
1 – The Mole Antonelliana
This distinctive building creates a distinctive skyline for downtown Turin, Italy and has become a symbol of the city and was used as the emblem for the 2006 Winter Olympics. The building is named after the architect, Alessandro Antonelli. The building was built between 1863 and 1889 when it was first designed and used as a Jewish synagogue. From 1908 to 1938 the building housed the Museum of Italy’s reunification, which is now in the Palazzo Carignano. Now the distinctive building is home to the National Museum of Cinema. The unique tower dome was resurfaced with metal and stone in 1961 after being damaged by a tornado in 1953.
2 – National Museum of Cinema in Turin, Italy – Insider Tip!
If you are a fan of film, especially Italian cinema, then this is the museum for you. However if you are unfamiliar with Italian films, I suggest visiting the museum shop and riding the panoramic lift. The panoramic glass lift actually goes right through the middle of the entire building, which is actually a bit terrifying, but really interesting because you see the entire museum. One unique and fun feature of the Cinema Museum are the red lounge chairs on the first floor, which you can lay down in and watch clips from old movies on the large screens above.
*Insider Tip – Panoramic Lift: To see the best view of Turin, ride the elevator to the top of the Mole Antonelliana for a spectacular panoramic view. You can enter the Cinema Museum and just purchase a ticket for the elevator ride: tickets are 6 Euros for adults and 4 Euros for students/seniors/kids and it is open from 10am to 8pm (open until 11pm on Saturdays, prices as of Summer 2012).
3 – Piazza San Carlo
Piazza San Carlo is the first square you will come to when walking up via Roma. The Piazza San Carlo Square is lovely, surrounded by buildings that have arcades, which are excellent for avoiding hot sun or rain! And you will find numerous restaurants and cafes, along with shops in the arcaded streets as well.
Insider Traveler Trip – The cafés around the Piazza San Carlo (the piazza with the equestrian monument in the middle) are elaborately decorated and the ideal location for people watching but be prepared to pay double the price for your cappuccino as you are also paying for the location!
* Side Note: The symbol of Turin is a bull and you can see a gold bull on the pavement, under the arcades of Piazza San Carlo. It is said that if you step on that golden bull in Turin you will have good luck and you will return to the city.
4 – Piazza Castello and the surrounding buildings
The Piazza Castello is the large square at the end of the via Roma street and surrounded by some of the main sights to see including the Royal Palace and just beyond that, the Turin Cathedral.
The Royal Palace of Turin – You can visit the Royal Palace of Turin and the gardens or visit the exhibition gallery for the latest art installation, which will actually take you through the main stairway and hall of the palace. The Royal Palace of Turin was the royal palace of the House of Savoy.
Palazzo Madama and Casaforte degli Acaja – I didn’t have time to visit the Palazzo Madama or see the Castle, other than from the outside, however they are both said to be nice. The Palazzo Madama holds the City Museum of Ancient Art; you can find more information by clicking here for the official museum website.
5 – Turin Cathedral
The Turin Cathedral is the main site and a must see as houses the Shroud of Turin. You reach the church by walking down Via Roma and continuing through main squares and up to the Royal Palace, and then turning left through a set of archways where you will find the Turin Cathedral to your right. The unassuming church was built in the late 15th century (the bell tower dates from 1469). You can see where the Shroud of Turin is kept, in an elaborate glass enclosed room. Watch the video about the shroud, which is available in many languages. Also note that the Turin Cathedral is the burial place of a Turin native, Pier Giorgio Frassati (1901-1925) who was a benefactor of the poor.
In the next blog posts you will find tips on where to eat in Turin and information about the amazing car museum!
*Traveling in style: