With its elegant tree-lined boulevards, majestic palaces, breathtaking surroundings and rich history, Turin is Italy’s true royal city. The city is home to one of the largest royal residences in the world, and the influence of the royal house of Savoy is still felt in Turin’s regal architecture and luxurious atmosphere. With delicious food available all over the city and plenty of historic landmarks to see, Turin offers much to explore. We look at some of our favourite things to do, see and eat in Turin.
Discover a royal history at Reggia di Venaria Reale
One of the largest royal residences in the world (and arguably one of the most impressive) this Unesco-listed baroque palace is a regal structure like no other. Dating back to 1675 and built by the Duke of Savoy, the palace is often referred to as the Versailles of Italy, and with good reason; the expansive palace grounds feature a vast garden complex, a glittering stag fountain and a majestic and opulent Grand Gallery, as well as the attached Capella di Sant'Uberto and Juvarra stables.
Enjoy an aperitivo in a historic café
Where better to enjoy a relaxed aperitivo than the city in which it was born? Turin is responsible for the concept of the aperitivo, and it’s here that Gaspare Campari, the inventor of the eponymous drink, did his apprenticeship as maître licoriste in the mid 1800s. There are plenty of places where you can not only treat your tastebuds, but also soak up a bit of history; Turin is full of historic cafes that have been in operation since the 19th century, a time when the city was famous for its revolutionary and literary activity.
Head to the mountains
Turin is the capital of Italy’s Piedmont region, and it’s well worth spending a day exploring the stunning scenery that surrounds the city. The alps lie with a short distance of the city, and with them comes some of Italy’s most impressive natural landscapes. The nearby Gran Paradiso National Park is bursting with wildlife, and the region is also full of fairy-tale villages and enchanting mountain regions such as Val di Susa and Valli di Lanzo. If you have the time, we recommend taking a trip to Lake Maggiore, which is easily placed among Italy’s most romantic locations.
Take in the views from the Mole Antonelliana
A huge landmark that dominates the Turin skyline, the Mole Antonelliana is the architectural symbol of Turin. The tallest brick building in the world, the Mole was built and designed by Alessandro Antonelli in the second half of the 19th century, and its domed tempietto and long, narrow spire tower high above the city. Visitors are able to take a panoramic elevator to the tempietto – one of highest points of the building – and take in breathtaking views that stretch across this beautiful city.
Indulge in the Italian capital of chocolate
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’re in luck - Turin is the Italian capital of chocolate. The famous gianduja, a hazelnut and chocolate paste at the origin of Nutella, was created here after Turinese chocolate makers had the idea to mix hazelnuts from the surrounding Piedmont region into the chocolate, creating the delicious blend that is still loved today. There are countless chocolate shops throughout the city where you can try different variations of this classic, as well as bicerin; another favourite drink among Italian and European aristocracy made with espresso coffee, chocolate and whipped cream.