Turin, or Torino in Standard Italian lies in the Piedmont region to the North. It is often overlooked by visitors to the country, and yet it has an incredible variety of cultural attractions and features to offer.
Here you will find some of Italy’s best institutions and academies. For example, the University of Turin is one of the peninsula’s finest and dates back to the 15th Century. Moreover, Turin played a big role in Italy’s economic boom in the mid-20th Century, thanks to its still thriving automobile industry. Finally, Turin is also the unofficial capital of Italian chocolatiers. Here is where the sumptuous gianduja originated; even Turinese coffee takes chocolate on in the typical bicerini.
That aside, Turin also has a wealth of art galleries and museums that are incredibly interesting and important. For instance, the Egyptian museum here is the 2nd best in the World, after the House of Savoy bought many remains several centuries back. This noble family actually provided Italy with its first king in Vittorio Emanuele II. Their base being in Turin, this was Italy’s first capital city. Throughout this town you will come across much baroque, neoclassical and art nouveau architecture, though much has been rebuilt since the world wars.
Another notable museum is the National Museum of Cinema. Turin was quite the cinema-center when the industry was first booming, with many studios and facilities available to its filmmakers. This city is sometimes also called the Paris of Italy. Perhaps this is for its landscapes, though its gastronomy also takes much inspiration from its French neighbors. Here you can taste quite heavy dishes such as brasato al barolo and agnolotti.
The many piazzas within the town center are also extremely pleasant. It is nice to head to some of the smaller ones, such as Piazza Santa Teresa or Piazza della Consolata, to find a quaint café and watch the city-dwellers go about their days. Piazza San Giovanni is home to Turin’s cathedral, where you will also find the famous Shroud. Some believe that this mysterious piece of cloth was the shroud to the Christ. Carbon dating carried out in the 80s, however, suggests it dates back to the Middle Ages. Nevertheless, the shroud remains within the cathedral and the Catholic Church has neither rejected nor endorsed its significance.
It is very easy to access Turin, which benefits from many train and bus connections. The city also has its own airport, with various connections to the city center.