Are you visiting Italy and wondering about the best things to see and do in Turin?
Turin, or Torino in Italian, is in the northwesterly part of Italy and is the capital of the Piedmont region of Italy, along the famous river Po.
Turin, or as the locals know it, Torino, was the original capital of Italy. The city has been the country’s major cultural and economic center for many years. It is also famous for being the FIAT headquarters.
With a population of 875,000 and a metropolitan area of an estimated 2.2 million inhabitants, Turin got a significant facelift for the 2006 Winter Olympics. It’s now one of the most charming Italian cities to visit!
As with many areas of Italy, Turin had much Roman activity. After the Roman Empire had collapsed in Europe, Turin became occupied by various nations and empires. During the 1300-1600s, Turin experienced significant growth, and most of its fabulous architecture was built during this period.
Today, Turin offers a fascinating blend of old and new attractions. You can sample some of Italy’s best foods and wines.
How to get to Turin
Turin is 144km west of Milan. If you are flying to Italy, you can fly into Torino Airport or you will likely be flying into either Milan, Bologna, or Rome. The most straightforward way to get to Turin is to take the high-speed train, as there are many that both start and end in Turin.
Two high-speed train companies offer their services in Turin. The first is Italo, the other one is Trenitalia. Italo only provides a high-speed train service, while Trenitalia offers more options.
The high-speed train route from either Italo or Trenitalia from Rome to Turin (4hr 46m) and Milan to Turin (57m.)
Train Station in Turin – Porta Nuova
The central train station in Turin is called Porta Nuova. You’ll want to buy your ticket to Torino Porta Nuova if you are traveling to Turin by train. You will find the station in Turin’s city center, which is convenient for just about everything to see and do in Turin.
You can likely even walk to your hotel if you only have light luggage. We walked from the station to Hotel Victoria on one of our trips back in August 2020 and it took only 8 minutes.
Turin Airport: Torino-Caselle
In Caselle Torinese, you will find the Turin airport (sometimes called Torino-Caselle TRN) 16km north-west of the city center. Typical routes from TRN are primarily to and from large European cities such as Frankfurt, Munich, London, & Barcelona. Unless Turin is your starting point on a trip to Italy, most visitors to Turin will not be going by plane.
How to get from Turin Airport to Turin city center?
From Turin Airport to City Centre By Taxi
A Taxi from TRN (Torino-Caselle Airport) to Turin city center costs about €35-40 and the trip takes about 30 minutes, depending on traffic.
More about taxis in Turin
While there are no ridesharing services Turin, taxis are readily available. In Italy, the most popular taxi app is called itTaxi. It works just like American ridesharing apps like Uber or Lyft, but only for Italian taxis. One-way taxi rides in the city center of Turin cost about 10€.
How to get from Turin Airport to the City Centre by bus
Buses are a much more economical option. You can take either a SADEM or Terravision. Both connect the Airport to the Turin city center. The buses conveniently depart from the arrivals area, where you can find ticket offices to purchase from.
Be sure to check the SADEM timetable and Terravision timetables before starting your trip.
Getting from Turin Airport to City Centre by train
You can get from Caselle Airport to Turin’s Dora rail station by train. It costs just €3 and takes about 19 minutes. Then you can take bus number 52 to Torino Pora Nuova from the Dora rail station, only 10 minutes away. Feel free to refer to this schedule for more information.
A starting point in Turin: Piazza Castello
Piazza Castello is undoubtedly the most famous Piazzas in Turin and it houses many iconic buildings. Many find it a perfect meeting spot for friends and family.
You will find Piazza Castello in the center of Turin. The Piazza Castello is a vast public space accessible on foot from pretty much anywhere in the downtown core. I think it’s an ideal starting point for your first day in the city.
Once you are in Piazza Castello, you will easily find the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) and the Palazzo Madama. You will also find the Royal Armoury and the Royal Theatre nearby.
Like in other Italian cities, there’s a vast offering of cafes and restaurants to indulge. And don’t forget that there are beautiful fountains and statues to admire everywhere.
When visiting Turin, Piazza Castello is by far one of the best places to start your tour. Enjoy the sights of the fantastic buildings and architecture found here.
Now that we have our starting point, what are the best things to see and do in Turin?
Let’s dig in.
Museums to see in Turin
Turin offers a giant array of museums. Here are some of the most famous ones.
Built in 1646, the Turin Royal Palace served as a royal residence until 1865. Palazzo Reale has stood as a power symbol for hundreds of years in it’s central position in Turin. You can visit various sections of the palace these days.
The Royal Palace of Turin is truly a magnificent building. It features a simple design with a square layout and a central courtyard. The front of the building offers beautiful white stonework and many small ornate windows. The whole effect exudes an image of power and wealth.
You will find a myriad of richly decorated rooms inside, all made with the opulence and elegance one would expect from a typical Italian Royal Palace. You can join guided tours of the interior that allow you to view such places as the Throne Room and the Daniel Gallery.
Key things to see at the Royal Palace of Turin
- The King’s Apartments: Luxurious gold-gilded everything, everywhere.
- The Royal Library: Features 200,000+ books, including masterpieces such as the self-portrait, or the Codex on the Flight of Birds by Leonardo da Vinci.
- The Royal Armory: Featuring its impressive collection of stuffed horses with their armored riders.
- The Galleria Sabauda: Exhibits paintings from the 14th century to the 20th century
- The Royal Gardens: Beautiful, and anyone can visit free (without charge)
The Royal Palace (Or Palazzo Reale) is undoubtedly a must-see during your visit to Turin.
After you visit the Royal Palace, we suggest you take a break before moving on to Palazzo Madama. Your feet will thank you later.
The Palazzo Madama is the second palace located in Piazza Castello. Built in the first century BC, the original palace has stood for about 2000 years. After the Roman Empire fell the Palazzo Madama got rebuilt, eventually becoming a palace.
Standing in Piazza Castello, the front of the building features magnificent sculptures and a row of elegant pillars in baroque style. Inside the palace, you can check out the ornately decorated stairways and admire the sublime decadence of the various rooms and hallways. There is also the Turin City Museum of Ancient Art, housing a beautiful collection of ceramics, drawings, and sculptures. During your visit you can enjoy the small garden along with the palace’s walls and towers, just as the nobles once did.
Carignano Palace is the third palace-museum to visit, after the Palazzo Reale and the Palazzo Madama. The Palazzo Cargnano is the home of the Italian Risorgimento Museum. There you will find exhibits depicting Italy’s history through various paintings, documents, texts, and films.
Just behind the Carignan Palace is he Risorgimento museum’s entrance. While there, you can also see the Carlo Alberto square, with the statue of Charles Albert of Sardinia sitting prominently in the center. Pro tip: Piazza Carlo Alberto is very photogenic thanks to the beautiful palace-museums in the background. Make sure to take advantage of the scenery
Mole Antonelliana is possibly the most unique building in all of Turin. The landmark’s famous pointed basilica towers above the surrounding city skyline. Mole in Italian means a monumental building, and this particular mole was created in 1889 despite looking much older.
Formerly a Jewish Synagogue, the building now houses the National Cinema Museum and is the tallest museum in the world. At night the basilica is lit up, acting as a beacon visible from many places in Turin.
A trip to Turin is not complete without viewing the Antonelliana and visiting the museum inside.
Turin Egyptian Museum
The Egyptian Museum in Turin offers four floors and numerous exposition rooms. Recently renovated, it is the second-largest Egyptian collection in the world, after the one in Cairo. Dedicated to Egyptian history and archaeology, this museum is an Egyptologist’s dream, as it contains a massive amount of artifacts and displays.
This fantastic and informative museum is located between the Piazza San Carlo and the Piazza Castello in Turin’s center.
The Egyptian Museum in Turin was built in 1833. The original collection was imported from other museums and has been expanded dramatically over the years.
Notable items within the Egyptian collection include scripts of detailed papyrus full of hieroglyphics such as the Book of the Dead, a Sarcophagus of Ibi, various statues of Sekhmet, Seti II, and Ramesses, and different everyday furniture, clothing, and even kitchenware!
Guided tours are available in English and offer insight into the individual items. Or, if you want to get around at your own pace, an audio guide is also available.
Note: Allot at least two hours for your visit to the Egyptian Museum. Maybe even more if you take your time!
Churches to see in Turin
Royal Chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist (For the Shroud of Turin)
Many people have heard of this hugely significant and hallowed religious artifact, yet perhaps had no idea they could visit it!
A tour of the city is not complete without visiting the Shroud of Turin. This piece of ancient cloth supposedly bears the image of Jesus of Nazareth. Some believe it to be his actual burial shroud. While there have never been any conclusions, theologians, scientists, and scholars have debated the shroud’s identity for decades.
You can find the Shroud of Turin at the Royal Chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. We weren’t allowed to see it during our visit, because the shroud is resting in a protective casing at the back of the church, on the far left. But you can see the exhibit that details the history and mystery surrounding the shroud.
Once you’ve seen the shroud, you can then take a moment and enjoy the rest of the beautiful and ornate church.
Other things to see in Turin
Juventus Stadium, home to the most famous Italian football club, is possibly one of the most well-known football stadiums in the world. It features a capacity of 41,000. While it might not be the largest, it has a considerable amount of character and it’s a fantastic sporting venue.
Stadium tours are available daily, and there is also a museum dedicated to the Juventus football team. If you visit Turin and happen to be a soccer fan, I highly recommend checking out this iconic stadium.
Where to stay in Turin
Hotel Victoria – Via Nino Costa, 4
A beautifully maintained English-style hotel, you will find the Hotel Victoria in central Turin, on a pedestrian-only road. The hotels’ proximity to the best museums and food districts make it a perfect place to drop your bags.
The hotel offers both single and double rooms, making it affordable to the masses. Some rooms feature renovated bathrooms, but even the old ones are incredibly clean and well furnished.
There is also a large Egyptian themed spa in the basement, free for guests to use! The pool is about 20 meters long, and there are two jacuzzies, two steam rooms, and a sauna. The spa also offers a typical range of spa-like services, such as massage. The sauna was, unfortunately, closed during our stay due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
Where and What to eat and drink in Turin
The food in Turin is regionally famous, known for Barolo wine, chocolate, and delicious pasta. Turin is also the birthplace of Vermouth.
Breakfast in Turin
Turin hotels usually offer free breakfast, usually divided into dolce o salata, meaning sweet or savory. Sweet breakfast options include croissants, bread, cakes, and jams. Other breakfast options include eggs, pancetta (unsmoked bacon), ham, and other delights. If you’re visiting from America and want a taste of home, you order an Americano. Or you can try a small espresso that locals call caffe. It contains a caffeine shot that is sure to get you going!
Lunch in Turin
Generally speaking, I like to keep lunch to a minimum. I might order a sandwich (Panino) or a salad. But if you are looking for a three-course lunch in Turin, check the dinner options below. Full-service restaurants often operate for both lunch and dinner.
Dinner in Turin
There are many, many restaurants in Turin. When selecting a restaurant, I recommend to first always check the reviews on websites like Google and TripAdvisor. You see anything less than a 4 or 5, keep walking. There are so many highly rated restaurants in the city, so why waste your time with anything less?
Dinner time in Turin starts around 8:30 pm, and restaurants start to get busy around 9 pm. The best restaurants (even the inexpensive trattorias) will undoubtedly require reservations, so call ahead.
As for food options, you’ll likely want to start with the wine. Turin is famous for its Nebbiolo, Barolo, and Barbaresco wines. The Nebbiolo grape is native in Turin and is used to make the typical red wines. My favorite with dinner in the wintertime is the Barolo.
Heads up, though. The selections might get a little exotic. Are you looking for a steak or chicken? You might find it, but it might be better to get a taste of the local cuisine.
Locals eat Finanziera, a stew of sweetbreads, brain, and chicken giblets. You’ll also find bollito, which is a sort of boiled meat. You will also find dishes cooked in local wines like my favorite, the Barolo.
If pasta is what you’re looking for, you will find agnolotti with meat filling. Agnolotti is like ravioli, only smaller, and very popular as a first course.
In October and November, white Truffles are in season. These can get added to pretty much any dish. I personally like white truffles with a simple pasta with butter and parmesan. But you’d have to ask the cook to make it this way if you want to try it, .
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Yes. While crime is low, like any other city, watch your wallet and jewelry.