City guide: Turin, Italy | Private jet charter
Turin is the capital city of Italy’s northern Piedmont region that borders Switzerland and France. Blessed with medieval castles, world-class spas, well-preserved Baroque architecture and numerous bars, cafes and markets, Turin is an ideal city break destination.
Slow food is king here highlighting Turin’s appreciation of its local provenance. Superb wines alongside traditional cuisine provide artful sustenance in Turin’s restaurants and cafes, before exploring the city’s palaces, boulevards and squares; as well as its world-class museums, galleries, opera houses and motor museum. The past is ever-present here, yet Turin is a thoroughly modern city and the capital of the Italian motor industry.
Top five must-see sights and attractions
The Royal House of Savoy built many beautiful palaces throughout Piedmont, a superb example is the Palazzo Reale located on Piazzetta Reale in the centre of Turin. Carlo Emanuele II ordered its creation in the 1600s and the palace’s sumptuous private rooms and state apartments contain extraordinary tapestries, armour, furnishings, porcelain and other treasures.
You’ll need at least half a day to meander around the house and explore the grounds – the Giardino Reale was designed by the master of Versailles himself, André Le Nôtre. Your ticket also includes entry to the Museo di Antichita with its Greek and Roman artefact collection, as well as the Chapel of the Holy Shroud which contains a copy of the alleged shroud of Christ.
Surprisingly, Turin is home to an incredible museum of Egyptian antiquities, boasting the largest number of items (over 26,000 artefacts) outside of Cairo. During the height of excavations in Egypt, many relics found their way across the world into either private collections or national museums. If you can’t make it to Cairo, then a visit to Turin’s Egyptian Museum is the next best thing.
Former King Carlo Felice needed a showcase for some of his 5,000 Egyptian artefacts and so the museum came into being in 1824. Statues on display include King Thutmose III and Rameses II, and you’ll also find mummies, papyruses, figurines, canopic vessels and much more. Turin’s Egyptian Museum is located at Via Accademia delle Scienze.
Escape from the hub of the city with a visit to Turin’s beautiful Valentino Park. The city’s largest green space, Parco Valentino is located next to the Po River and boasts its own Castle of Valentino – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – adorned with medieval frescoes and paintings.
The medieval village (Borgo Medievale) was created for an exhibition in 1884 but its replica shops and streets are still worth a visit. Take a stroll around the Botanic Gardens and soak up the romance of its greenhouses and flower beds.
Turin’s best markets
Turin offers tourists over 40 open air markets and 6 covered markets. Vintage fans will love Turin’s Balon vintage market, held every Saturday behind the Piazza della Republica, peruse the 80 or so stalls and refuel with coffee and biscotti.
Turin’s Gran Balon market is held every second Sunday and is a smorgasbord of clothes, toys, furniture, carpets, jewellery, antiques and more. The 40 stores and warehouses are located at the Via e Piazza Borgo Dora.
Turin’s largest market is at Porta Palazzo, located in the Piazza della Repubblica – meander among 800 or so stalls before lunch at one of the many adjacent restaurants. For designer and vintage clothing head to the Martini-Benefica market at Piazza Martini. You’ll also find locally produced food products here.
Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile
One of Turin’s most compelling museums is its celebrated National Car Museum. Turin is home to car manufacturers Fiat and Lancia and boasts an incredible heritage of automobile design and manufacture.
Auto fans will appreciate the showcasing of more than 200 cars from more than 80 car marques – including prototypes that stayed on the drawing board. Displays tell the history of car manufacturing as well as a peep into the future. The museum is highly interactive and the vehicles on show are displayed to their best in the light, cathedral-like space.
Best time to visit
The best months to visit Turin are June, July and August with maximum sunlight and little rain. June is the month when Turin hosts the spectacular open-air car show, the Salone dell’Auto Torino. April and May both see spring showers, while December and January are generally the coldest months.
Turin’s main airport is Aeroporto Sandro Pertini, known as Caselle Airport and is located 15km (9 miles) northwest of the city. Uber doesn’t operate in Turin so either catch a taxi outside arrivals or pre-book a car service and allow at least 30 minutes to get into the city in good traffic.
Once in Turin use taxis, the metro, trams and even a cable car to explore the city. Buy a Turin + Piedmont Card for free entry into many cultural sights, as well as reduced prices on exhibitions and concerts.
Turin’s location at the foot of the Alps is breathtaking, offering visitors a myriad of outdoor pursuits, including rafting, hiking, skating and skiing in winter. The city’s rich cultural legacy is evident in its splendid architecture – especially its churches and cathedrals – and is of course home to the famous Turin shroud, as well as the largest collection of Egyptian antiquities outside of Cairo. The birthplace of Italian cinema, Turin boasts more cinemas than any other city in Europe and is an ideal city break destination throughout the year.
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