Turin (Torino)

In 4 words: Hard to call impressive.
For your first visit a day should be sufficient to enjoy the city’s major sights.
Distances are all walkable in the city center.
Worthy attractions: Museum of Cinema; San Lorenzo; Palazzo Madame.
Left for another visit: Palazzo Reale; Palazzo Carignano.
Last visit: November 2018.

Piazza San Carlo, Turin
Turin would struggle to appear on any list of recommended places to visit in Italy. Our single day-trip did little to shake that feeling.

Things to See

For a city this size, Turin is simply middling. The nice features are too few and far in between, even though occasional impressive buildings do pop up.

There are three squares worth lingering at: Piazza San Carlo ♥, Piazza Vittorio Veneto ♥, and Piazza Castello ♥.

The latter is home to several major sights in town. Palazzo Madama offers impressive palatial main floor, plus interesting collection of decorative and baroque art. There are good views of the central sights from the tower.

Ornate church of San Lorenzo is well worth a visit, with a circular plan and a geometrically-patterned cupola. Open for visits only in the afternoon.

Palazzo Reale was on our initial plan, but long lines to the ticket office (and prior knowledge that it is not considered remarkable in general) scuppered those plans.

We also took the briefest of looks inside the Duomo, due to a service in progress. What we glimpsed was remarkably not impressive. Its dome, seen from the tower of Palazzo Madame, for instance, is actually quite exquisite – and therefore misleading.

Quite a few churches in town sport beautiful exterior, enlivening the landscape. We stepped into Basilica Corpus Domini ♥, not far from the cathedral; it is quite rich. Church of Gran Madre di Dio, across the bridge from Piazza Vittorio Veneto, was likely worth a look as well, but we instead focused on the fantastic local market behind it.

Several palaces in and around Turin form a serial World Heritage site called Royal Houses of Savoy, including aforementioned Palazzo Reale and Palazzo Madama. We also stopped by Palazzo Carignano, but decided against going in.

We did spend significant time at the remarkable Museum of Cinema ♥♥♥, which offers extensive exhibition on history of cinematography, and a number of themed exhibits. You could easily spend a day here. The highlight is a jaw-dropping Temple Hall in the atrium of Mole Antonelliana, one of the symbolic edifices of the city, with cinema-like rows of seats to watch music videos and movie clips. There are hundreds of interactive displays for children of all ages throughout the museum. Fascinating! A separate activity is the ascent to the lantern of the tower – but it requires standing in a separate line for over an hour, which we did not want to do.

Places to Eat

A random choice for lunch, Fratellinis ♥, on Piazza Vittorio Veneto. Mostly pizza on the menu, but also some other dishes. Overall quite nice. Our damage: €45 for two, with mezzo of wine. Last visit: 2018.

Other notes for Italy