Travel guide: Turin- the undiscovered venue
If you want to visit Europe’s elegant Lady of Baroque and the Queen of Italian automobile industry FIAT then there’s just one suitable destination: Turin, Italy.
As a business and cultural center and being the capital of the Piedmont region in the northwest of Italy, Turin is surely a worth visiting place. Moreover it is also located near fashionable city of Milan. With its beautiful alpine scenery, it has a personality enriched by history and culture. In 1861 Turin became Italian’s first city. During that period, the so-called “Risorgimento”, deriving from Italian for the unification of Italy also known as “ The Resurgence” in the 19th century played a big role for Turin’ s economical and cultural development and the Italian cities in general. That’s why it is also known to people as the “cradle of Italian liberty”. Aditionally people also associate it with the Shroud of Turin (Sindone di Torino), a linen cloth which symbolizes christianity. For a long time, the city of Turin has been overshaded by popular cities as for example Rome, Bologna, Florence, Milan or Genoa but nowadays it is becoming more and more popular as a tourism capital. Recently, in 2008 it was even listed one of the world’s top 250 tourist destinations and the tenth most visited city in Italy. An interesting fact, not only for sports fans, might be the following one: In 2006, it was the city of Turin, which hosted the Winter Olympics. Furthermore the city of Turin is seen as Europe’s capital of Baroque because its characterized by elegant arcades and marvellous Royal residences. It offers a refined cousine as the Piedmont region is known for some of the best food in Italy. Of course, there are also a lot of other surprising facts. Therefore, reading our guide, you will soon notice that this city has got a lot to offer. “Turin is not a city to make a fuss about”- this quote by writer Henry James probably says it all.
Which 5 attractions in Turin you should not miss during your trip:
Thanks to Turin’s extensive network of trams and buses you have access to all important and interesting sights:
Mole Antonelliana and Museo Nazionale del Cinema (National Museum of Cinema)
The eye-catching Mole Antonelliana, Europe’s highest brick building, named after the architect Alessandro Antonelli is a major and marvellous landmark of the city of Turin, since it was used as a emblem for the Winter Olympics in 2006 and still appears on the two cent Italian euro coins. The former synagoge was conceived and constructed in 1863. Today it houses the National Museum of Cinema and it is the tallest museum in the world. The Museum is a National motion picture museum. Exhibitions include the display of magic lanterns, earlier and current film technologies and lots of other memorabilia. Check it out!
Piazza Castello (Castle Square) is home to Palazzo Madama, which was once a prison and senate house. As you can see, we’ re talking about a quick change artist.
Duomo di Torino (Turin Cathedral) is Turin’s major Roman catholic church which dates back to early 15th century. Aditionally it adjoins a campanile. So if you’ re looking for some religious and cultural hot spot, that might be definitely the place to be.
Basilica di Superga (Superga Cathedral)- The name says it all. Built in 18th century, it contains the tombs of nobleness of that time period, which makes it a symbol of the House of Savoy.
There’s one thing you might ask yourself: What are the best things to do in Turin?
Of course, we won't leave you got out in the cold. For your physical well-being the region provides you with food and coffee so why not trying one of the 160 famous cheese, while enjoying delicious wine as e.g. Barolo or vermouth in the regional restaurant Boja Fauss? Chocoholics and people who are addicted to coffee, should definetely go to Turin, because here is, where you can find the roots of chocolate and coffee industry. Let’s head to Piazza Castello, to Al Bicerin or Café Platti in order to enjoy some culinary delights. You should keep in mind, that dining in Turin is special and highly valued. Not only do the restaurants offer delicious meals, they also have got fixed opening hours. Usually, lunch is served between 12:30-15:00 and dinner between 19:30- 23:00. If you’re looking for some cultural entertainment, Teatro Regio, also situated at Piazza Castello and the Egyptian Museum surely are the places to be. Adventurous people can take a time travel, visiting Parco Regionale La Mandria, where you can find lakes, historical buildings and several ancient churches. If you’re planning your trip to Piedmontese’s capital in summer, it’s the perfect time for taking part in the following cultural celebrations:The theatre-celebrating Festival delle Colline Torinesi and the “International Jazz Festival of Torino”. You can also visit the cultural city of Turin during winter, when the Turin International Contemporary Art Festival takes place, where you can have a look at pieces of more than 150 of the world’s leading contemporary art galleries. Those who are looking for some party, will not be disappointed when going to Turin’s bars and clubs like the Hiroshima Mon Amour, the Alcatraz or the Cab 41- discover for yourself! To find an accomodation, just book your Hotel in Turin here.
Are there any districts you should not miss?
Of course there are. Just to mention the most important ones of the 10 municipal districts let’s start with...
Aurora District: It is a historical district of Turin, where you can find the biggest European open market “Mercato di Porta Palazzo” in “Piazza della Repubblica” and the “Valdocco quarter”. It’s not far away from the “Royal Palace” and the “Palatine gates”. That’s how the two entrances, which were modernised during the 17th century, are called. If you want to go on a city tour, that’s probably one of the best destinations. The “Royal Palace” in Turin was the former central point of the Savoyan gorvernment. On the market, which is located at “Piazza della Repubblica” fresh goods and vegetables from all over the world can be purchased. Enjoy your new impressions gained there: There’s a wide range of oriental and exotic products and the possibility to enjoy Piedmontese gastronomical specialities. Enjoy your meal, or buon appetito! Within the Aurora District, there lies a hidden paradise of nightlife events: Borga Dora. The area is rich of restaurants and bars and is definitely a place of intercultural meeting and multicultural celebrations. Come to experience Borgo Dora’s pulsating nightlife. Biannually, the so-called Notte Bianca (White Night) takes place and people are invited to celebrate the night together by listening to music and do some serious shopping. Those who are seeking for some historical education, should not miss the Ossario dei caduti (ossuary), situated at the Piazza Gran Madre di Dio in the Aurora area. Below the church, there’s a memorial, dedicated to more than 5000 Turin soldiers who died in the city of Turin during World War I.
Lingotto District: This district is famous for the invention of FIAT car industry and since the closure of the factory in 1980, the area has been open to intercultural meetings of people. At the time when former automotive concern FIAT had its beginnings, the district was known to people as one of the most impressive sights in industry. Later on, it was rebuilt into a modern complex, which nowadays houses theatres, concert halls, a convention centre, shopping arcades and a hotel. In addition, the district maintains its own railway station, called “Torino Lingotto Railway Station”. Recently there has been built a metro station to improve transport network. We’ re talking about the Lingotto M1, which was officially opened on March 6, 2011. An interesting fact is, that this district was used several times as a setting for film productions. In 1962, it was used as a setting for “Mafioso” made by Alberto Lattuda and appeared in a sequence of the movie “The Italian Job” in 1969. If you’ re interested in paintings and art in general, you should head for the Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli, which is a gallery that was a gifted to Turin by FIAT’s president.
Sassi District: Within the Aurora area, you can find the district Sassi. As you already know, one of the most beautiful sights of Turin is the Basilica of Superga. The name Superga actually represents a hill, which is situated on the banks of the Po River. At 672 metres above seal level you will enjoy a spectacular view over the “Lady of Baroque” by using that fun method of transport. This city is sourrounded by the “amphiteatre”, which is again formed by the Superga hills. Thanks to the Superga Rack Railway, which is a mountain railway line, it’s possible for visitors to experience the suburb of Sassi, the splendid panorama of the alpine scenery and visit the Basilica of Superga. This tour is going to satisfy the discerning demands of nature-loving people. Aditionally, for those who want to host their private event as e.g. a conference or a party, “The Villa Sassi” might be the right spot.
Fun and interesting facts:
-In Italian, Torino means “little bull”
-At Piazza San Carlo, you can step with your heel on the bronze bull's balls set in the pavement outside Caffe Torino, it's supposed to bring you luck!
-Like every foreign language, also the Italian language is enriched by many dialects. The dialect of Piedmontese is considered by many linguists to be its own seperate language, but most Italians still consider it a dialect.
-Turin’s love affair with chocolate started in 1678, when former Queen of Savoy state granted the first license to chocolate producer Giò Antonio Ari to make chocolates.