Sometimes referred to as the "Capital of the Alps" Turin is Italy's fourth largest city. The River Po glides through its centre and the mountains tower over its skyline. Famous for its Fiat factories as much as the mystery of the Holy Shroud, Turin has a thriving cafe culture, a fine gastronomic heritage and some wonderful museums. In 2006 it played host to the Winter Olympics.
Palazzo dell'Accademia delle Scienze
This enormous palace houses two of Turin's best museums: the Egyptian Museum (Museo Egizio) which has the most important collection of Egyptian treasures to be found in Europe outside Cairo and the Galleria Sabauda, which houses the former private art collection of the House of Savoy and includes many European masters. One ticket can be purchased for entrance to both museums.
This 167 m tower has, for the last ten years, been home to the Museo Nazionale del Cinema. The tour through the history of cinema is highly recommended in its own right, but a visit to the tower which is the symbol of Turin is essential - you can ride up in the glass elevator and enjoy spectacular views across the city from its outside viewing deck.
Duomo di San Giovanni
Turin's cathedral is the home of its famous "Holy Shroud" or " Sindone di Torino". You cannot see the Shroud itself but rather the casket which houses it, as it is only on public display on very rare occasions. The Museum of the Shroud, run by volunteers on Via San Domenico, gives much more information about the studies which have been carried out on the Sacred Cloth, its transfer from Chambery in France to Turin, and how it survived two fires in 1534 and 1997.
You don't need to be real car enthusiast to enjoy this very modern museum out in the Lingotto district which contains over 200 models of cars from the earliest inventions of the late 1800s to the present day. Very well laid out, the museum also has lots of interesting prints, posters and film clips charting the progress of the car industry in Turin and the wider world.
For all food lovers, a trip to Eataly whilst you are in Turin is a must. It is the Slow Food Movement Supermarket and holds the biggest choice imaginable of cured meats, cheeses, fresh produce, chocolates and bread to name but a few. It is in the Lingotto district, which is easily reachable by bus from the Stazione Porta Nuova. Go at lunchtime and taste at many of the different food stations.
There is also a smaller Eataly outlet on Via Lagrange close to the station in the city centre. It is open for lunch and dinner and has a small but good menu with daily specials. There is a small supermarket too, and coffee bar.
If you plan to stay a few days, it is worth buying the Torino & Piemonte card from the tourist office which gives you admission to most museums and monuments and free public transport. For a personal and entertaining guided tour of the city or further afield in Piedmont in English we recommend Fulvia Olivieri who can put together a bespoke itinerary. She can be contacted by email.
For a local private driver who speaks good English, contact Emilio Bortolini on +39 335 816 6766 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where to stay
Some of the hotels listed here are known to Hedonistic Hiking, others are recommendations from people who have extended their walking tour in Italy in Turin.
An elegant four star very centrally located, excellent breakfast and spa facilities. It also has a pretty internal garden courtyard. This is our top recommendation for Turin and we have had excellent feedback from guests staying here.
Principi di Piemonte
A 5 star hotel in the centre and not far from the station. Good breakfast buffet, wellness centre and restaurant.
This B&B is in the heart of the old town and the rooms are spread across four different 18th century buildings. It is in a restricted traffic area, so phone ahead with your registration number if arriving by car.
Hotel Dogana Vecchia
This hotel claims to be the oldest in Turin and it certainly has an excellent location in the centre of the city. According to its website, Mozart, Verdi and Napoleon Bonaparte have all been guests here.
A modern four star very close to the main station at Porta Nuova. Well-equipped and very convenient if using the train to reach Turin. This is the pick-up point for our Jewels of Piedmont tour, as well as The Best of the Italian Alps tour.
The NH Lingotto
This modern hotel in the congress centre 3 km to the south of the city is converted from Fiat's former car factory. The area now is home to galleries and exhibition space and next door is the vast Slow Food movement's supermarket where you can browse for everything from breads to cheeses, pasta to chocolate. There is a regular bus service between Lingotto and the Stazione Porta Nuova. This NH Group in fact has four hotels in the Turin area - click here for full details.
A very comfortable 4 star next to Turin airport.
Where to eat
€€€ Restaurant del Cambio
For a real treat, this Baroque institution dates back to the 1750s. It has historic and lavish decor and offers typically Piedmontese dishes. Reservations are definitely recommended. Piazza Carignano 2, Turin Tel + 39 011 54 66 90
€€ Tre Galline
One of Turin's most enduring restaurants, this place has been trading for centuries and is in the centre of the Quadrilatero Romano district. Via Bellezia, 37 Tel +39 011 436 6553
€€ Ristorante Consorzio
Good value with simple but excellent food, with good central location. Menu changes frequently. Via Monte di Pieta 23 Tel + 39 011 276 7661.
A small but cosy restaurant run by friendly husband and wife team. The menu is not vast but the food is very fresh and well cooked. Via San Domenico 2A. Tel +39 011 521 7077
€€ C'era Una Volta
This restaurant, within easy walking distance from the hotels near the station, offers great Piemontese cooking at good value prices and has an excellent wine list. Corso Vittorio Emanuele 11, 41. Tel +39 011 655498.
€€ La Via del Sale
Offering a mix of dishes from Piedmont and Liguria, this true trattoria is well placed in the centre of town. Highly recommended by Jackie with lovely outside seating. Via San Francesco da Paola 2 Tel +39 011 888389. Closed Wednesdays.
€ Dausin - cibi vicini
Great local food, popular with locals and inexpensive. Via Goito 9, angolo via Galliari, San Salvario. Very close to Turin's Porta Nuova station. Tel + 39 011 6693933. Shut Saturday lunch and Sundays.
€ Al Bicerin
Also dating back to the mid 1700s, this cafe is best known for a hot chocolate, coffee and cream drink which bears the same name. Piazza della Consolata Tel +39 011 436 9235. See our Blog for more on Turin's great historical cafes.
For some of the best ice-cream in town try RivaReno on Via Lagrange 29.
Turin is a great city for an aperitivo - many bars will serve drinks with an astonishing array of antipasti, cured meats, grissini and bruschette, so you can eat for the price of the drink! Head for the Quadrilatero Romano area of town.
What to order
Turin is famous for its chocolate and there are many shops and cafes where you can taste. Also try risotto dishes made with arborio rice from the Po valley, and the famous white truffles from Alba. The thin breadsticks known as grissini are another staple of the city. Our Blog on the joys of cafe culture in Turin gives you more details.
If you love the idea of hunting for truffles take a look at our Jewels of Piedmont tour.
Piedmont is one of the most prolific wine-producing areas in the whole of Italy. For top quality red wines, look for Barolo and Barbaresco , and for white, Asti or Gavi.
Turin has an airport with good domestic and European connections, but international flights would go via Milan. The main station in Turin is Stazione Porta Nuova. There is a regular bus service from the airport into the centre of Turin which does also make a stop at Stazione Porta Nuova. There are hourly direct trains from Milano Centrale to Turin Porta Nuova which take approximately 2 hours. From Malpensa airport the train service is not direct to Turin and involves changing in the centre of Milan.
There is a direct train service from Malpensa airport to Milano Centrale. It costs approx €7 and takes about 50mins. There is also a shuttle bus running every 20 mins from Malpensa airport to Milano Centrale. A taxi from the airport to the centre will cost a minimum of €65 and the journey time is very dependent on the traffic.
For all train information visit www.trenitalia.com which has an English version.
Train travel in Italy is inexpensive and comfortable. Major cities are served by non-stop fast trains known as the Eurostar.
NTV (Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori) is a new private company which started operating it's Italo high-speed trains on the Milan-Florence-Rome-Naples route in April 2012, in competition with State-owned operator Trenitalia. NTV have added new routes subsequently and are Europe's first private high-speed train operator, with a real emphasis on customer service. Travellers should be aware that the city stations used are not always the same as those used by Trenitalia.