Things to do in Turin

Must-see Turin sights

Piedmont’s capital, Turin, is a city oozing with contemporary charm. Here, glassy newbuilds rub shoulders with grand baroque architecture and much more. For an alternative Italian break, Turin is the place to be.

  1. Visit the Museo Egizio
  2. Explore the Duomo
  3. Stroll around Parco del Valentino
  4. See the Basilica di Superga
  5. Enter Palazzo Madama
  6. Marvel at stunning art from around the world
  7. Celebrate cinema
  8. Dance at Turin’s music festivals
  9. Visit the Lingotto Fiere Turin Exhibition Centre
  10. Devour Turin’s signature product – chocolate
  11. Make the most of a walking tour
  12. Wander around the Musei Reali di Torino complex 

Whatever type of traveller you are - art lover, museum-goer or simply a people-watcher with coffee in hand - Turin offers a wealth of activities for everyone. Foodie or not, don’t forget to save room for Turin’s staple dessert - chocolate!

In collaboration with
Rough Guides

1. Visit the Museo Egizio

For your history fix, the superb Museo Egizio is one of the most interesting things to do in Turin. It holds the world’s second largest collection of Egyptian antiquities (after the Egyptian Museum in Cairo). It’s a large space on the ground floor, designed by Oscar-winning set designer Dante Ferretti. It evokes a vast temple with massive granite sphinxes, gods and pharaohs.  

Best for: Egyptian history buffs.

While you’re there:
Head upstairs and you’ll find an interesting assortment of food, recognizable despite their shrivelled state!

2. Explore the Duomo

Looking for Renaissance architecture? The fifteenth-century Duomo is the thing for you. The only example of this type of architecture in Turin, it was severely damaged in a fire in 1997. It is most famous as the home of the Turin Shroud, though the reconstruction of the fantastic Holy Shroud Chapel, designed by Guarini in 1668, has yet to be completed.  

Best for: Travellers looking for Renaissance architecture.

While you’re there:
If you’re looking for cheap holidays to Turin, a great spot to stay is NH Santo Stefano Hotel – just steps away from the Duomo.

3. Stroll around Parco del Valentino

Italy is always one for outdoor life. The grounds of the riverside Parco del Valentino make a pleasant place to wind down. There are two castles here: the Rocca and the ornate Castello Valentino, another Savoy residence that today is the seat of the university’s architecture faculty.  

Best for: Lovers of the outdoors

While you’re there:
Check out Borgo Medievale within the park, a reconstructed medieval village. 

4. See the Basilica di Superga

The Basilica di Superga, a Filippo Juvarra creation, stands high on a hill above the city. In 1706 Duke Vittorio Amedeo climbed the hill in order to study the French and Spanish armies who had been besieging the city. He vowed that he would erect a temple to the Madonna if she would help him in the coming battle. The elegant dome, pierced by windows and supported on pairs of white columns, is flanked by delicately scalloped onion-domed towers.   

Best for: Architecture admirers.

While you’re there:
Take the Sassi-Superga train to get there - said to be the most atmospheric way to access the site.

5. Enter Palazzo Madama

First fortress, later medieval castle and then private residence of two powerful duchesses of the House of Savoy, Palazzo Madama is the work of eighteenth-century architect Filippo Juvarra. Its grand staircase is a masterpiece of European Baroque.

Best for: History buffs.

While you’re there:
Wander around Museo Civico d’Arte Antica, with displays spanning various eras.  

6. Marvel at stunning art from around the world

What to do in Turin if you’re interested in art? Visit the Museo d’Arte Orientale (MAO), of course! Housed in the historic Palazzo Manzonis, it displays an extraordinary range of Asian works. The artwork appears in over five galleries, with a focus on South Asia, Southeast Asia, Japan and Asian Islamic Countries.   

Best for: Art lovers.

While you’re there:
Don’t miss the collection of pottery from the Islamic countries of Asia.       

7. Celebrate cinema

One of the best things to do in Turin is visit the excellent National Museum of Cinema. It celebrates Turin’s involvement with cinema since the early twentieth century. Turin was one of the first Italian cities to import and experiment with the new medium. The museum covers the early days of the magic lantern and the development of cinema.

Best for: Cinephiles.

While you’re there:
If you’re one for heights, take the panoramic lift to the top.

8. Dance at Turin’s music festivals

Jazz? Check. World music? Check. Classical music? Check. The MITO (Torino Milano International Music Festival) mixes a wealth of musical genres at various venues in Turin and Milan in September. Traffic, Turin’s free rock festival, takes place in Parco Dora in July.

Best for: Festival-goers

While you’re there:
Enjoy Turin’s other festivals such as the Torino Film Festival.

9. Visit the Lingotto Fiere Turin Exhibition Centre

Formerly the original Fiat factory, the Lingotto Fiere Turin Exhibition Centre has been redesigned by Renzo Piano. It now houses an exhibition space, auditorium and shopping centre. It’s also home to the Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli, a priceless collection of artworks.

Best for: Those looking for shopping with a twist.

While you’re there:
Check out the impressive pieces by Renoir and Picasso.

10. Devour Turin’s signature product – chocolate

Hungry? Make sure you leave some room to sample one of Turin’s top products – chocolate. Best known is the hazelnut milk chocolate Gianduiotto, which dates back to the nineteenth century. You can sample the finest chocolate products in all of Turin’s historic establishments, confectionery shops and chocolate factories. Gobino is in the running for the best chocolate in the world. Quite simply one of the best things to do in Turin.

Best for: Chocoholics!

While you’re there:
For chocolate with a kick, try the distinctive bicerin, which is a bit like a cappuccino but fortified with brandy, cream and chocolate.

11. Make the most of a walking tour

Pedestrian-friendly Turin is a fine place to take a walking tour. There are several different themes on offer. Perhaps the most intriguing is based on the city’s reputation as one of the three great European centres of the occult (along with London and Prague). 

Best for: Avid walkers.

While you’re there:
Interested in magic? Visit some of the noted sites of black and white magic with the company, Somewhere Tours & Events.

12. Wander around the Musei Reali di Torino complex

Located in the heart of the city, the huge Musei Reali di Torino complex includes the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace), the Armeria Reale, the Cappella della Sindone and other gardens and galleries. Take your time here as there’s so much decadence to be seen.

Best for: Grand, royal architecture at its best.

While you’re there:
Be sure to see the Palazzo Reale, the residence of the kings of Sardinia until 1859.  

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