How to see Turin in one (busy) day

It's impossible to see everything—but the highlights are doable.

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Donald Strachan

Donald Strachan 
HomeAway travel expert

Torino (Turin), panorama with Cappuccini and MoleOne of Europe's longest-running royal dynasties, the Savoys, made Turin their home for 300 years, before upgrading to reign over the whole of Italy until the end of World War II.

Their legacy lends Italy's first capital a baroque flavour, with streets lined by arcades to keep the elements off while you shop. The city has a café culture borrowed from France. 


Donald Strachan's verdict Turin

 Transport. The centre is laid out on a grid pattern, and you can easily travel from the Stazione Porta Nuova (at the southern fringe of the centre), to Piazza Reale (in the north) on foot. Opened in 2006 in time for the Winter Olympics, the Turin Metro is fast and efficient, but most stops are only really useful for residents. You'll probably only use it if you head out to Lingotto. If you are driving into Turin for the day, there is a well-signed car park on Corso Bolzano, opposite Porta Susa station, and a Metro stop inside.

 Dining. Turin is the capital of the Piedmont region, and Piedmontese cuisine is hearty and filling, often incorporating rice (in risotto) and polenta (maize porridge) as a carb, rather than pasta. If you can, make time for a bicerin, an energy-packed combination of warm, creamy milk, hot chocolate, and coffee, served in a tall glass. It was invented at Caffè al Bicerin in the 18th century, and was a favourite of Cavour, the Torinese politician who became Italy's first prime minister in 1861.

 Discounts. If you are staying longer than one day, and plan to cram more of the city's museums into a visit, buy the Torino+Piemonte Card. It includes free entry into the Museo Egizio, Galleria Sabauda, Mole Antonelliana, and much more, in and far beyond Turin. The card is valid for 2 days (€25), 3 days (€29), or 5 days (€34). Buy it from the tourist offices inside Porta Nuova station or in Piazza Castello.


Donald's top five stop-offs in Turin


Museo Egizio Museo Egizio

The centre has a fine crop of museums, but its best is also the best Egyptian collection outside Cairo. Egypt and Turin might not seem obvious bedfellows, and the Museo Egizio owes its riches to a couple of shrewd directors and a slice of luck: when Napoleon annexed Northwest Italy in 1802, he appointed Piedmontese Bernardino Drovetti as his consul in Egypt. The museum was founded on part of Drovetti's collection. In the 20th century, the Egyptian government donated the entire Temple of Ellesyia, in thanks for the museum's efforts in saving artefacts about to be lost forever by the building of the Aswan Dam.

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Piazza San Carlo Piazza San Carlo

The handsome arcades of 'Turin's drawing room' are the heart of the city's café culture. The gilded, Rococo interior of the Caffè San Carlo has been a favourite haunt of Turin's literati, glitterati, and politicos since it opened, in 1842. Even a simple espresso or Punt e Mes (local vermouth) tastes better from a seat on the plush red banquettes.

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Catch a panorama Catch a panorama

The most obvious spot—visible from all over the city—is the Mole Antonelliana. Like a Torinese Empire State Building, this 167-metre giant towers over the low-rise city. You'll need a stomach for heights if you want to get to the top: a transparent glass elevator ships you right through the central oculus of a massive atrium that houses Italy's National Cinema Museum. You'll get a similar view of the baroque streetplan and the snow-capped peaks on the horizon, with the added bonus of a front-row view of the Mole, from a 'flight' on the Turin Eye, a tethered balloon opened in 2012.

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Lingotto Lingotto

Turin was the engine room of Italy's postwar 'economic miracle'. It is the home of FIAT—whose 'T' stands for Turin—as well as clothing companies Kappa and Superga. The former FIAT factory in Lingotto is a modernist masterpiece in its own right, and now a shopping mall. Perched on its roof is the Pinacoteca Agnelli, a small gallery with a collection including Canaletto, Matisse, and Modigliani. A Pinacoteca ticket also gets you onto the roof of the Lingotto factory, where you can walk around the former FIAT test rack. Its banked corners and Alpine views were made famous in 1969 film The Italian Job, when Michael Caine and his gang of gold thieves race a trio of Mini Coopers around the circuit.

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Calcio Calcio

Turin-based club Juventus are one of Europe's most famous, and most successful, football teams. However, Torino FC are the choice of more locals. The Granata (Clarets) play home games at Turin's Stadio Olimpico, in Italy's top league, Serie A (at least, for the 2013/14 season). A seat in the distinti (side stands) is a better bet for first-timers than the rowdy curva. There are a number of ticket sales points around the centre. Games are usually played on Sunday afternoons.

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Image 1 by Georguis 
Image 2 by Nicola
Image 3 by Fulvio Spada
Image 4 by Andre P. Meyer-Vitali 
Image 5 by Calcio streaming

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