Some say that Turin is Italy’s most overlooked city, and until the Winter Olympics in 2006 few people thought of it as anything else than an industrial car city – they couldn’t be more wrong! Although Turin justifiably is known for its cars, there is so much more to the city than Fiat or Ferrari. And since we’re not very interested in cars – we will give you a car-free guide to Turin and show what we think are the city’s real treasures …
Eat, Drink & Eat Some More
While you can find good food all over Italy, Turin specializes in the food that we love most; wine, cheese, chocolate and truffles.
Turin is said to have invented the solid form of chocolate, but is more famous for its hot chocolate drink called Bicerin.
Turin has a love story with chocolate like few other cities, and a must-try when you’re there is the Giandujotto, a hazelnut chocolate praline that was the inspiration to the worldwide favorite Nutella chocolate.
If you’re not a chocolate fan there are still plenty of other foods to taste, such as the world famous truffles – every year during the truffle festival the world’s best chefs visit Turin to seek out the best truffles.
Also make sure you spend an evening at a bar and order an aperitivo (a drink with snacks or a small buffet included), a popular tradition in Turin.
For a more detailed guide on what to eat in Turin, stay tuned for our “food guide to Turin” next week.
The (Fake) Medieval Castle
Located by the river front, Turin has a stunning medieval castle – only it dates back to the 19th century…
That’s right, it’s not actually a medieval castle, but a mash-up of inspiration from all the surrounding medieval buildings in the Piedmont area, built in 1884 for an international exhibition.
The replica of the 15th Century Piedmontese Castle and Village gives you a great idea of what life was like in Piedmont during the medieval times.
Each room is furnished and built as a replica of a room in the various castles in the area, so in a way you could say that you get “the best of all the castles in one” – the Valentino Park which the Village is located in is really lovely to spend some time in as well, with a botanical Garden and food stalls.
Visit: The village is free to enter, a castle tour costs 6.00 € – FREE with Turin Piedmont Card.
Reggia di Venaria
Reggia di Venaria is one of the latest additions to Turin’s attractions, as it opened to the public only a few years ago – the beautiful palace where the Savoy family once lived is quite spectacular, and after years of neglect and decline it has been restored to its former glory.
Built in mid 1600’s to celebrate beauty, hunting and leisure pursuits, it was a true show-off palace for the Savoy family that once built it.
We spent several hours in the palace, gardens and cute medieval town and still didn’t see everything there was to see, so it’s definitely a half-day trip in itself..!
Visit: Shuttle bus return ticket €5. An all-inclusive ticket of Reggia di Venaria, gardens and exhibitions costs €20 – All of this is free with the Turin Piedmont Card.
National Museum of Cinema
To tell you the truth, neither of us are big fans of museums so we don’t usually make an effort to visit many of them when traveling – the Cinema Museum, however, is actually really cool, and even Nathan was glad he went to check it out.
Located in Turin’s most iconic building Mole Antonelliana, it’s an interactive museum where you can walk through different rooms, each dedicated to its own film genre; from romance, comedy and Loney Toones to horror and sci-fi, all very creatively designed.
At the top of Mole Antonelliana you can get one of the best views overlooking Turin, and the lift taking you up to the viewing point is a pretty neat experience alone!
Visit: Museum and lift €12 – FREE with Turin Piedmont Card.
One of our favorite things to do in Turin was to take the old 1930’s cogwheel train from Sassi (a suburb across the river in Turin) up the Superga mountain to the Basilica of Superga.
The cute train is well preserved in its 1930’s condition and slowly climbs the mountain through green forests until it finally stops at an altitude of 672 meters.
The bright yellow Basilica proudly sits on top of the mountain overlooking Turin, river Po and the snowy alps, and there is a cute little cafe just below the Basilica terrace that makes a great Spritze to be enjoyed under the cherry blossom trees on the terrace.
Many football fans make pilgrimages to the top of this hill to pay respect for the city’s historic football team Il Grande Torino, who were on the plane that tragically crashed into the Superga mountain in 1949 – the team used to go under the nickname “the invincible”.
Visit: During weekdays a return-ticket is €6, weekends €9 – FREE with Turin Piedmont card. The Basilica is free to visit unless you want to go up to the dome (also free with the card) for a 360 view.
A big thanks to the Turin tourism board for providing us with Turin Piedmont Cards to help explore the city.