A hub of culture, history and graceful architecture, Turin is all that I had imagined. I can aimlessly wander around the streets without boredom hitting me. Just slightly over an hour from Milan is another bewitching town of Italy, ‘Turin’, felt in love with this part of Italy. Some of the finest museums, royal residences, churches, cathedral, cafes and shopping, it has it all. I feel it is such an underrated destination and deserves more exposure. Turin was an extremely prosperous city back in the days and it also used to be Italy’s first capital.
Some of the best attractions here are:-
Mole Antonelliana – Dominating the skyline of Turin is this National Museum of Film but it’s interesting to know that initially, it used to be a synagogue. You can see a few clips of movies, movie memorabilia, and it has a great view from the top which beautifully showcases Turin.
Duomo di San Giovanni – Who doesn’t know about the shroud of Turin? Well, for people who aren’t aware this is the cloth supposedly wrapped around Jesus after the crucifixion and you can find this on display at this cathedral, every decade. It’s usually not easy to get a glimpse of it unless by the order of pope but still make a visit to this cathedral as it’s beautiful.
Egypt Museum – I wouldn’t recommend to you a museum which isn’t outstanding but this Egypt museum has over 26,000 objects from Egypt and is quite an impressive place to learn about the pharaohs, mummies and all things related to the Egyptian history.
Piazza San Carlo – The best place to do people watching, and have some great food or sip on some coffee. This square is best seen walking or by a guided tour who will introduce you to iconic buildings along the way as this square is swamped with history. There are two important cathedrals here as well Santa Cristina and San Carlo Borromeo.
Via Roma – Head to this outstanding street of Turin which won’t disappoint you when it comes to shopping and finding great restaurants and cafes. I could spend hours around here without any feeling of regret.
Royal Palace – Transport back in time when you visit the Royal Palace of Turin which used to be the residence of the royal family back in 1865. Today, this palace is a UNESCO World Heritage site and also hosts the Royal Armoury museum.
Venaria Royal Palace – I am kind of obsessed and fascinated by palaces and especially by one such magnificent one which is Venaria Royal Palace which is just a 20min out of the city centre. It is believed that the opulence and glamour of this palace inspired the architects to build Versailles in France. It once used to be the residence of the Savoy Royal family.
Parco del Valentino – This park is a breath of fresh air, surrounded by greenery and nature. Take a stroll along the shores of the river Po and appreciate Turin’s second-largest park. If you want to visit the medieval village of this park head to Borgo Medievale fortress or the stunning Valentino Castle which is also inside the park. Isn’t the park seems interesting and mysterious?
Monte dei Cappuccini – For one of the best views of the city, you should hike this mountain and admire the beauty of Turin, if you are lucky you can even see the snowy Alps from here. Perfect to capture the city submerged in the romantic orange rays during sunset.
If you have a few more hours at leisure then check out Castle of Rivoli which is an art museum, arcades of Turin, and roam around Piazza Castello square which is pretty famous.
Some of the best day trips from Turin are Sacra di San Michele, Alassio, Lake Orta, and Milan.
Lake Orta – For a relaxed afternoon take a trip to the peaceful atmosphere of Lake Orta. Almost two hours away from Turin but the journey is worth it especially after seeing the scenic view of the lake. There are plenty of things to see and do around and this destination makes for a fabulous day trip from Turin. You can even combine this trip with Saint Giulio which is a 10min ferry ride, marvel over the old monasteries and churches here.
Milan – Known as the fashion capital of Italy, Milan is a popular place to visit either for a day trip or for over a few days. Last time I spent a week without getting bored, there is so much to do around this city that the day just flies by. Besides driving you can even take the train, it takes the same amount of time. Start your Milan day trip by seeing the most famous Duomo di Milano. You can visit the cathedral and the rooftop which has pleasing views of the city. Next to the cathedral is the infamous Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II, this shopping mall has some of the best designer stores. Make your way to the restaurant district of the city ‘Naviglio’ this has so many restaurants lined up next to each other and the lovely canal makes the ambience a tiny bit romantic too.
Alassio – A two-hour drive to this Italian Rivera is like being transported to a heavenly abode. Still, a hidden gem in my opinion as it’s not cluttered with plenty of tourists. Plenty of hiking trails can be found here along with a majestic beach. There are a countless number of churches here and if you enjoy witnessing more of the Italian Rivera you can even visit the village of Laigueglia, Cervo, or Albenga.
The old street here is charming and lively so after spending some time at the beach do make a point to take a stroll at the Old town. If you decide to spend more then a day here then you can even take an excursion tour to the Gallinara Island, this place is magical and surreal. Plenty of history to inhale along with the beautiful nature around.
Sacra di San Michele – Situated on the top of Monte Pirchiriani is Sacra di San Michele monastery which was built around 987 AD, the view from the monastery overlooking the Susa Valley is breathtaking. There is a lot of history and mystery surrounding this monastery so it is worth a visit from Turin. It’s a mere 27 min drive from the city and makes for a great day trip.
Many of the times these superb places get overlooked by more touristy places in Italy but I assure you that these as well are not less than magical.