Excited to share with you guys Elissa’s family visit to Europe! She and her family went to Italy for a week where the traveled by train around Northern Italy and Rome. For the first part of their Italian visit, they spent one day in Turin.
We stopped in Turin on our way from Paris to Venice, mainly to see the Egyptian Museum as I love all things ancient Egypt. This city is so beautiful, and the people are very friendly! It also didn’t feel touristy like Venice or Florence; we felt like we were experiencing the real Italy. My family definitely plans to return to Turin and explore it more. We only spent a day in the city and we wish we’d spent more time there!
Where is Turin?
Turin, or Torino, is the capital of the Piedmont region in northwest Italy. It sits along Po River and its closest major city is Milan, which is about 2 hours away by car and train.
Turin has always played a significant role in Italy’s history. It first acted as the capital of the Duchy of Savoy and Kingdom of Sardinia, starting in 1563. It was actually Italy’s first capital for four years between 1861 and 1865. Because of this, it’s rich in museums, galleries, and architecture.
Since about WWII, it’s switched from being politically important to economically important, as it’s considered a part of Italy’s industrial triangle with Milan and Genoa. The most well-known brand based in Turin is FIAT.
For a more visual idea, here’s a super gorgeous video I found on Youtube of Turin!
How to Visit Turin
How to Get to Turin
Since we were in Paris beforehand, we took a train. However, if you’re flying into Italy, you’ll fly into Milan. From there you can go to Stazione Milano Centrale and take a train to Turin.
How to Get Around Turin
The city is small enough that you can walk it easily! However, if you do require some sort of transportation, there’s a hop-on, hop-off bus. It has three different lines, so you’ll want to see which one has the places you most want to go. Check here for more details
Where to Stay in Turin
We stayed in an apartment called Casamartina.
This apartment is so cute and it has just enough space (especially after sharing a hostel room in Paris) for a family of five with two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a living room. It’s located in a quiet neighborhood close to many of the sights, and the hosts were lovely and so welcoming!
If Casamartina is booked, find more hotels here
Top Things to Do in Turin in One Day
Visit the Museo Egizio
This museum, founded in 1824, is the world’s oldest Egyptian museum. It has one of the most extensive collections of Egyptian artifacts outside of Egypt. Some highlights include, the Drovetti Collection papyri, artifacts from the Tomb of Kha and Merit, and the statue of Rameses II. Book a tour to skip the line here
See the Shroud of Turin in the Duomo di Torino; Cattedrale di San Giovanni Battista
The Shroud of Turin is a centuries old sheet of linen cloth that has the faint impression of a crucified man. Many believe it’s Jesus Christ, though this is unlikely, and it’s been housed at the Duomo di Torino since 1578. They actually don’t normally have the shroud on display, just a large replica of it.
But, if you have time, it’s cool to see nonetheless and the cathedral is of course beautiful. It was built in the late 1400s and designed by Guarino Guarini and is still active today.
Visit Mole Antonelliana
Named after its architect, Alessandro Antonelli, the Mole Antonelliana was originally meant to be a synagogue. Today it houses the Museo Nazionale del Cinema, which, of course, celebrates Italian cinema.
Check out the Fiat Lingotto Factory
This building used to house the Fiat car factory and even has a test track on the roof. Today it’s an entertainment complex.
People Watch in Piazza Castello
Piazza Castello is, of course, Turin’s main city square. From here you can see the baroque and neoclassical-designed Palazzo Reale, a palace from the House of Savoy that dates back to the 1600s. If you want to tour the actual palace, try this tour.
Check out the Royal Crypt at Basilica Superga
Located just outside of Turin, on top of Superga Hill, this Catholic church was designed by Filippo Juvarra for Victor Amadeus II of Savoy. Here you can visit the royal crypt, which houses a number of tombs of kings from the House of Savoy.
Tours in Turin
For a more guided experience, try these tours:
- Welcome to Turin: Private Tour with a Local – Who better to show you around a new place than someone who calls it home? I don’t know about you, but I don’t personally have any friends living in Turin, so this is the next best thing! Check prices and availability here
- History and Architecture Private Walking Tour – If you want to learn more about Turin’s varied historical influences on its architecture, then this might be the tour for you. Along with some of the places mentioned above, it also includes the Porte Palatine, St. Lawrence Church, Piazza Carignano, and Piazza San Carlo. Check prices and availability here
- Magic Turin Tour: Dark Arts and Black Magic – This one is a bit of a niche one! If you’re able to stay the night, you can take this 2 1/2 hour tour to learn more about Turin’s darker side. Learn more about the two souls of Turin along the way. Check prices and availability here
What + Where to Eat in Turin
Order a Bicerin, a typical It’s a Turinese drink made of layered bitter hot chocolate, espresso, and whole milk…delizioso!
We went here and the bicerin was delicious! This cafe, founded in 1903, was also a favorite of Ava Gardner, James Stewart, and Brigitte Bardot. It’s located in the beautiful Piazza San Carlo Torino, and it was so nice to sit at the tables in the galleria and people watch.
This ciocolateria (chocolate house), founded in 1763, invented Bicerin and was a regular hangout for Alexandre Dumas, Puccini, and Nietzsche.
Food Tours in Turin
To get even more of Turin’s local cuisine, try some of these tours:
- Patisserie Tour – Along with Bicerin, you’ll get to try and learn more about Gianduiotti, Marron Glacé, Pinguino, Cremino, and Turin’s espresso coffee. You’ll also get to visit favorite cafes, learn from a local food expert, and all treats are made fresh using local produce. Check for prices and availability here
- Private Aperitivo Tour and Tasting – Aperitivo is by far one of my favorite discoveries in Italy! On this private, 2 1/2 hour tour, you’ll learn more about the tradition at three different locations. Check for prices and availability here
- 3-Hour Traditional Home Cooking Experience – For those that like to cook and not just eat, you’ll love this option. Visit with a chef and learn to make recipes which also focus on the region’s famous chocolate. Check for prices and availability here
And there you have it! A guide on how to spend one day in Turin, an oddly still underrated city in Italy.
Travel beyond Turin
Because Turin is in Northern Italy, it’s very easy to include it a general Northern Italy trip! Check out the equally underrated city of Trento, your gateway to the Dolomites, the incredible Venice, aka the city of canals, and, of course, don’t miss visiting the colorful islands of Burano and Murano while you’re there.
Moving down just a little, you could also include the pastel-colored villages of Cinque Terre and the incredible Florence as well!
elissa’s other guides
- Easy London Itinerary for 7 Days
- How to Visit Stonehenge in a Day
- Elissa’s Local Guide to Washington, D.C.
- Local Guide to Los Angeles
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