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Once an old manufacturing city, Turin—the capital of Italy’s Piedmont region—is today the heart of the country’s progressive food, music, and art scenes. A new generation has transformed the city into a hub of diversity and culture, complete with contemporary art galleries, innovative eateries, experimental theaters, and electronic music festivals. All that said, the city is still rich with history, boasting tree-lined boulevards filled with picturesque piazzas and grand baroque palaces. Turin is also home to an incredible collection of museums, including the Egyptian Museum, the City Museum of Ancient Art, and the National Cinema Museum. Whether you want to explore the region’s medieval history, eat your way through the city, or immerse yourself in the underground art scene, there’s much to do in this destination where the past and present meet.
Centro — As the oldest neighborhood in Turin, the city center is where you’ll find much of the area’s most historic landmarks and attractions. Stroll among the fountains and statues in Piazza Castello, admire the facades of centuries-old palaces and churches, or linger over a cappuccino at an art nouveau cafe. The district is also home to the majority of the city’s museums, with historical collections including the Egyptian Museum, the City Museum of Ancient Art, the Museum of Oriental Art, and the Royal Palace of Turin.
Aurora — Developed out of the medieval city walls, Aurora is another one of Turin’s oldest districts, lying directly north of the Centro. The area is famous for its hole-in-the-wall eateries and Saturday flea market in the smaller borough of Borgo Dora. On the south border of the district sits Porta Palazzo, the largest open-air food market in Europe. Come here in the morning to shop among the locals for fresh fruit, Italian cheese, and mouthwatering pastries.
Barriera di Milano — Northeast of Aurora, the once-deprived neighborhood of Barriera di Milano is now a hip district bursting with eclectic artist studios and small businesses in former warehouses. Just outside Aurelio Peccei Park—a project that has breathed new life into the district—find the contemporary Ettore Fico Museum, a modern space that brings together art, design, theater, dance, and debate.
Borgo Po — Southeast from the Centro across the River Po, the district of Borgo Po is yet another historic areas full of churches, villas, and beautiful gardens. Hike up the hill to Santa Maria del Monte dei Cappuccini Church for spectacular views of the city center and the snow-capped Alps in the distance.
San Salvario — Back across the river to the south of the Centro, San Salvario is the city’s most diverse district, boasting a population that largely includes immigrants and students. Full of inexpensive restaurants and lively bars, the area is a popular place to come in the evening, particularly for apericena, a traditonal that involves pre-dinner drinks and light bites. The neighborhood is also known for its live music, with intimate bars and lounging hosting local emerging talent. During the day, you can find residents hanging out at in Valentino Park, a sprawling green space on the river with a 17th-century castle and recreated medieval village.
Vanchiglia — To the northeast of the Centro, the university district of Vanchiglia is perhaps the city’s most up-and-coming neighborhood, with old workshops giving way to cute cafes, small galleries, and shops selling local goods. Much like San Salvario, the area really comes alive in the evening with progressive music venues and bustling bars—some open all night long.
Scope out all Turin’s most awe-inspiring sights on a walking tour of the city center. With a local guide leading the way, skip over the line and head straight inside Palazzo Madama to see sweeping views of the city from the top of its medieval towers. Get a glimpse of the city’s religious heritage as you stroll beneath the belltower of the Turin Cathedral, and then see the linens believed to have been used to bury Jesus at the Chapel of the Holy Shroud. Next, make your way into Piazza San Carlo for a brief stop for bicerin, a traditional drink made of milk, espresso, and chocolate. Your tour concludes outside Mole Antonelliana, one of Turin’s most iconic structures and the tallest museum in the world.
Travel back in time to the days of ancient Egypt on a private tour of the Egyptian Museum. Designed to educate and entertain both adults and kids alike, this tour encourages you to interact with the exhibits as you discover masterpieces such as statues, tombs, papyrus, and paintings. Later, step a bit forward in time as you embark on a guided tour of the lavish Royal Palace. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the 16th century as you explore the ornately decorated rooms, learning of the lunches, dances, and diplomatic meetings that were once hosted by the royal Savoy family.
Dive into the magical world of the movies with a visit to the National Cinema Museum inside the Mole Antonelliana. With your own private guide, wind your way through a fascinating collection of posters, props, costumes, cameras, and memorabilia, as well as photographs featuring stars such as Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, and much more. Throughout the year, the museum also hosts a number of film festivals, including the Torino Film Festival and CinemAmbiente.
No visit to Italy, and especially Turin, would be complete without indulging in the food and wine. Discover the authentic tastes of the region on a tour of Eataly, the largest Italian marketplace in the world. Credited with reviving worldwide interest in traditional Italian cuisine, this massive complex boasts restaurants, bakeries, and produce stalls all under a single roof. Following a gourmet guide, gain insight into old recipes and ancient legends, treating your taste buds along the way. Dig into salty prosciutto, rich mortadella, and creamy gorgonzola as sip on a glass of full-bodied barolo or bright pinot grigio.