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Turin, between mummies and kings in a historical center like a movie


Highlights: Turin was the first capital of Italy, in 1861, and the city of residence of the royal family house, the Savoy. Declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1997, this architectural group is of stunning majesty. It is located in the center, in Piazza Castello - designed at the end of the 16th century -, which has as its maximum attraction the Royal Palace. The collection – it goes without saying that it is one of the largest in the world in this area – reflects the family's love of hunting and the warrior context of the time.

The attractive Cinema and Egyptian museums, the majestic palaces declared world heritage, cafes with centuries behind them... A tour of the Italian city through its cultural and architectural offering, without forgetting its gastronomy

It was the first capital of Italy, in 1861, and the city of residence of the royal family house, the Savoy, who led the reunification of the country with its first king, Victor Emmanuel II, monarch of Sardinia until that date and considered by part of his people the

Father of the Homeland


Today, tourists can feel part of those times just by looking at how Turin rests at the foot of the Western Alps, walking along the bed of the Po River that surrounds the city and entering those Royal Residences of Turin and Piedmont to, thus, imagine the courtly way of life that took place there.

Declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1997, this architectural group is of stunning majesty.

It is located in the center, in Piazza Castello - designed at the end of the 16th century -, which has as its maximum attraction the Royal Palace, with its series of rooms decorated with tapestries, oriental vases, marble stairs, large mirrors or canvases of extraordinary Italian artists.

The sumptuousness of each room, such as the Throne Room or the Ballroom, will leave the visitor speechless, even more so when they enter the amazing Royal Armory.

There are equestrian armor and firearms and white weapons here, especially from the medieval and later periods;

some also Chinese, German or belonging to the Napoleonic navy, as well as numismatic collections and a set of wooden horses covered in authentic horse skin.

The collection – it goes without saying that it is one of the largest in the world in this area – was inaugurated in 1837 by King Charles Albert of Savoy (first half of the 19th century) and reflects the family's love of hunting and the warrior context. of the time.

More information

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Regardless of whether one likes weapons or not, the visit is worth it for the historical relevance of each piece, which says so much about the time in which it was created, to which is added the artistic exquisiteness of many of its handles or other elements, carried out with fabulous craftsmanship.

Likewise, it is worth taking a look at the Royal Library, also founded by Carlos Alberto, which houses thousands of manuscripts, engravings and drawings, including some by Leonardo da Vinci.

'Skyline' of Turin, in which the Mole Antonelliana stands out. Vitold Drutel (GETTY IMAGES)

A celluloid elevator

At the exit, and after taking a walk through the Royal Gardens, you can enter, without leaving the square, another imposing building: the Palazzo Madama, formerly the city gate, fortress and princely castle and, since 1863, the place chosen to bring together part of the heritage of Turin and Piedmont.

For this reason, to visit it is to know Italian history through an immense amount of paintings, sculptures and decorative arts, from the Byzantine era to the 19th century.

View of the Royal Armory, in the Royal Palace of Turin (Italy).Alamy Stock Photo

Added to all this are other key places in the square, such as the church of San Lorenzo, the Teatro Regio, the Palazzo della Giunta Regionale, the Palazzo del Governo, the Archivio di Stato and the Palazzo Chiablese - birthplace of Margaret of Savoy , the first queen of Italy―, plus three monuments;

As a curiosity, it must be said that one of them is dedicated to Manuel Filiberto of Savoy-Aosta, who became prince of Asturias in 1871-1873 due to the proclamation of his father Amadeo as king of Spain.

It is highly recommended to go to the tourist office located in Piazza Castello itself and buy a Torino+Piemonte Card, which pays off by giving access to this entire architectural complex and dozens of other museums.

There are ones for 48 or 72 hours and, of course, they have a digital version.

On the other hand, in the same square (on the corner of Via Po), you take the Turin City Sightseeing tourist bus, which allows you to get on and off at the stops on each of its routes for 24 hours from the first use of the ticket. .

Another useful recommendation for travelers is to download the Moovit application to move more easily by metro, bus or tram.

Thus, armed with these resources, it will be easy and pleasant to go everywhere, especially to two absolutely formidable museums: the first, the incredible National Museum of Cinema, located in the Mole Antonelliana (from 1863), which constitutes the monument most emblematic of Turin.

It is a building conceived with a wonderful setting to delve into the origins of the seventh art - from the original lanterns or shadow theaters -, in its technical elements (decorations, light effects, etc.) or in all the phases of production. film, from the script until the film is projected.

For any scholar or fan of film history, this museum is a true gem.

It also provides a synthesis of the major genres, and in the main room you can lie down in front of a huge screen that broadcasts iconic scenes that will be familiar to everyone.

Furthermore, on the way to the upper floors, there is a series of posters that commemorate some of the most illustrious films and directors in history.

The elevator inside the Mole Antonelliana, in Turin, where the National Cinema Museum is also located.Hemis / Alamy Stock PhotO / CORDON PRESS

And speaking of going up, there is nothing better than entering the panoramic elevator, inside the Mole Antonelliana itself, inaugurated in 1961 on the occasion of the centenary of the unification of Italy.

Once on the panoramic terrace, you have a magnificent view of the city and the mountains that surround it.

There is another museum that is not only among the best of its kind, but is the oldest in its sector in the world: the Egyptian Museum, which was founded in 1824 in a baroque palace in the center of Turin.

This is what the visitor will see as soon as he contemplates its enormous number of statues, papyri, sarcophagi and everyday objects that make a journey through history, art and archeology over 4,000 years (it is about 30,000).

Spectacular for its design, content and quality, its rooms show a great informative approach, as it stands out as a scientific center, which can be seen in the restoration area, where its workers are seen preparing or arranging mummies.

One of the rooms of the Egyptian Museum in Turin, with one of the most important collections in the world.Emanuele Cremaschi (Getty Images)

Two centenary cafes

In between museum and palace tours, and given that this is the country of pasta and pizza par excellence, it will not be difficult to find an establishment where you can eat.

Although perhaps it is more original to opt for a drink in one of the fantastic historical cafes that emerged in the


era , prior to the unification of Italy.

Such establishments were very relevant to the social and intellectual life of Turin until the beginning of the 20th century, such as the Caffè Al Bicerin, open since 1763 and where the


was invented , consisting of chocolate, coffee and milk cream, all arranged in layers. different and served in a small glass, although it is very expensive.

But it is the price to pay for being in this type of elegant places, like the Baratti & Milano, from 1858 and well known for its


, a hazelnut and chocolate bonbon.

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A post shared by Caffè Al Bicerin dal 1763 (@bicerin.1763.torino)

Regarding the most local and appetizing gastronomy, combined with excellent accommodation, it is ideal to opt for what the AC Torino Hotel offers, well connected to the center of the city, both by bus and through the Spezia metro station. .

This Marriott chain hotel, built in a former Italian pasta factory from 1908 and featuring a wellness center, has the beautiful and modern AC Lounge restaurant, where you can savor some of the Piedmontese specialties thanks to the mastery of the chef Alessandro Levo.

This is the case of the

battuta di fassona piemontese

, a juicy meat fillet that is eaten raw, so the quality of its aging is essential.

Levo also excels at the

giardiniera alla piemontese

, with carrots, zucchini and peppers, accompanied by tomato sauce.

These two typical Turinese dishes can be combined with an

agnolotti del plin al sugo d'arrosto

, a fresh pasta filled with beef, pork or rabbit.

And, to top it off, an unbeatable dessert: a chocolate pudding topped with


(an almond cookie) called


, similar to egg custard and dating back to the 13th century: the same time when Turin fell into the hands of the Savoys, who would mark the future of this northwestern Italian territory for practically the rest of the millennium.

Toni Montesinos

is the author of

Eyes Full of Joy.

Being alive with RW Emerson

(Ariel, 2023).

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2024-02-21

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