When I visited Turin we only had one day to soak in Italy’s fourth largest city. Needless to say we didn’t see nearly enough and can’t wait to get back to Turin. With such a limited amount of time, however, there are a few musts to include on your list of things to do in Turin.
The Cathedral of Turin in Piazza San Giovanni is a simple Renaissance cathedral, one you wouldn’t assume would be home to a treasured Christian artifact – The Shroud of Turin, believed to be the burial shroud of Christ.
The original Shroud of Turin is kept in an enclosed, glass room within a long, wooden box. However, hanging above the box is a replica of Christ’s face and there is a rolling video for visitors to see the original. There are official expositions where you can see the original Shroud but you will need to check the schedule and book your visit in advance. On a side note, you’re not allowed to photograph the Shroud of Turin or the replica hanging above.
If you do visit The Cathedral of Turin in Piazza San Giovanni, take a moment to step outside and view the Roman ruins. The cathedral lies in the place where the remains of a Roman theatre sits as well as a Roman and medieval city wall and Porta Palatine (a Roman gate). The Roman theatre is still underground but it has been excavated and placed under a glass case for visitors to view. (Location: Piazza San Giovanni)
From Piazza San Giovanni you can easily walk to Piazza Castello, The Castle Square. The piazza was designed in 1564 and has become the “heart of the city” not just due to the number of important buildings that’s made up of – Palazzo Madama, The Royal Theatre, The Royal Palace, the Royal Library (home to Leonardo da Vinci’s operas) – but for its geographic location. Most of the main central streets in Turin, such as Roma Street, Po Street, Garibaldi Street and Pietro Micca Street all begin in Piazza Castello.
There are very few cafes or shops lining the piazza but turn onto a side street or head down Roma St and you’ll find your fill. Honestly, finding a spot to just sit down and take in the piazza was all I wanted to do. It has witnessed the colorful history from ancient Romans era to now. Oh, if those walls could talk…
From Piazza Castello you can jump onto the Linea 7 Tram Storici, which takes visitors on a circular tour of the city and many of its sites. The tram begins and ends at Piazza Castello, although there are stops along the way. It’s a great way to see the city in a limited amount of time while also giving visitors a break from walking. The full ride takes around 50 minutes and costs about €1.50. (Location: Piazza Castello)
Why would Turin have a museum that is home to the largest Egyptian collections in the world outside of the Cairo Museum? Many prominent Italians were influenced by the interest in Egyptian culture in the 19th century and worked to collect artifacts. Italy launched multiple archaeological excavations along the Nile in the 1900’s, combining the two resulted in the second largest and most important Egyptian collection in the world. The Egyptian Museum in Turin is home to several important Egyptian artifacts including 98 statues, prehistoric tombs, and a collection of papyri considered as the most important set of Egyptian written documents in the world. (Location: V. Accademia delle Scienze, 6)
5. ENJOY AN APERTIVO
Did you know vermouth originated in Turin? And being in Piedmont, one of the world’s best wine regions, Turin has an AMAZING selection of wines you can’t find anywhere else. Making it THE perfect place to enjoy an aperitivo, an Italian tradition of going out for a pre-dinner drink. Ordering local vermouth and/or a Barolo wine from Piedmont are musts!
This is only a short list of things to do in Turin; there is so much more! Think strolling along the Po River, touring the Royal Palace, seeing an Opera, having a cappuccino in the famous Café Torino, shopping along Via Roma St or checking out the automobile museum. After all, Turin is home to the Fiat. One could spend a week in Turin and not get bored, but in 24 hours time is of the essence. Have a little more time? Here are a few more ideas of things to do in Turin.
What are your favorite things to do in Turin?
About the Writer:
Elaine Schoch is a recovering corporate climber. She began writing Carpe Travel after leaving the corporate world to gain a better work life balance. Her writings at Carpe Travel focus on balancing life and work with her passions – traveling (with kids) and discovering new wines from regions around the world. You can find Elaine’s travel tales, musings and tips on Carpe Travel. Or follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.