Torino, the magical city under the Alps

My Italian Link > Tourism

With a population of just over a million people, Torino (capital of Piemonte) is a small city, but almost always on the move. It boasts a host of cultural activities and a vibrant nightlife, in addition to the Juventus Football Club’s hallowed home ground. Torino is also home to some of the best educational institutions, historical buildings and prestigious museums in Italy.

Po River Torino
The mighty River Po cuts through Torino, and is over 650km long.

Torino ‘s Roman Heritage

While originally a Roman citadel, Torino became home to the Royal House of Savoy in the late Middle Ages. As a result of Roman city planning, Torino’s streets and alleys form a geometric grid. The Palatine Gate still guards the entrance to ancient city quarters. Here you can still see numerous Roman ruins, including the theatre. Especially worth a visit is the Mercato di Porta Palazzo, Europe’s biggest open-air market. Its thousands of stalls stock local and international food, clothes, watches and second hand goods. 

Piazza San Carlo Torino
The famous statue of Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy on horseback can be found on Piazza San Carlo, Torino.

A Place of Kings

East of the Roman citadel, Roman and Baroque palaces add to the city’s already decorated squares and main roads. From Piazza Castello it is possible to access the Royal Palace and Madama Palace. You can also visit the splendid Royal Gardens and the city’s cathedral, exhibiting the Holy Shrine.

Piazza Castello Torino
The piazza Castello in Torino is lined with museums, theatres and café’s.

The long, covered walkway stretching to the Piazza Vittorio across the majestic Via Po is another must-see. Savoy royalty built this walkway to avoid heavy winter rains on the way to the Gran Madre church (on the Po River’s shore). Piazza Vittorio is one of Europe’s biggest squares. It faces the hills of Torino and is within sight of the Cappuccini and Superga hill churches.

Monte dei Cappuccini Torino
The Santa Maria di Monte dei Cappuccini church overlooks the River Po near the bridge of Piazza Vittorio.

Halfway down Via Po you’ll find the iconic Mole Antonelliana, home of the city’s National Museum of Cinema. Visit the top for the perfect vista of the Torino cityscape.

Torino Museo del Cinema
In 2008 the Museo Nazionale del Cinema (National Museum of Cinema) ranked 13th amongst Italy’s most visited museums.

Arts, Science & A Sprinkle of Torino Magic

Torino’s city centre and neighbouring suburbs host world renowned theatres, such as the Regio Opera House and Carignano, in addition to museums such as the GAM (Gallery of Modern Arts) and the MAO (Museum of Oriental Arts).

The Politecnico di Torino (Polytechnic University of Turin) is the oldest and one of the most prestigious engineering schools in Italy. Established in 1859, it now has now over 5,000 staff members and 30,000 students, many of whom come from abroad. Most significantly, its departments of Engineering, Architecture and Industrial Design produce world class graduates and innovative solutions worldwide. Consequently, the Politecnico manages over 700 contracts a year with the world’s leading firms in technology and industrial design.

Museo Egizio Torino
The Museo Egizio contains over 30,000 Egyptian artefacts.

Torino is also part of a ‘magical triangle’. The Piazza Statuto constitutes one of the corners of this triangle. Lyon (France) and Geneva (Switzerland) make up the other 2 corners. Urban legend has it that the Piazzo Statuto’s architecture makes extensive reference to Masonic symbols, and is loaded with magical powers.

Stars in Stripes

As many as 300 million fans wear the zebra-striped Juventus F.C. jersey worldwide. Juventus is one of Europe’s strongest teams, and top of Italy’s Serie A. Some of the best players in the world form this much-loved team. ‘Juve’ (as the locals call it) was founded by Torinese students in 1897. Indeed, Juventus is Latin for ‘youth’. Furthermore, the club’s historical ties with FIAT have supported their notable success.

Juventus Football Club Torino
The Juventus Football Club poses for a victory photo on home soil.

On the outskirts of Torino, you’ll find the iconic Juventus Stadium, where the football club is based. Because of its position under the Alps, the Juventus Stadium was originally named the Delle Alpi Stadium. Its expansive pitch and structure were built for the 1990 FIFA World Cup, and renovated between 2006 and 2011.

Because it was designed by great architects like Suarez, Zavanella and Giugiaro, the Juventus stadium cost 155 million euros. At capacity, it holds 41,507 spectators with 36,000 premium seats and 64 sky boxes for members of the Juventus Premium Club. The Juventus Stadium has hosted several significant football matches since its opening, including the 2014 UEFA Europa League final. On this ground, Juventus was crowned the Italian champion for six consecutive seasons!

Juventus Stadium Torino
The Juventus Stadium in Torino holds over 41,500 spectators!

Why Visit the Juventus Stadium?

Firstly, the stadium has an innovative and eco-friendly design. Secondly, its premises include the 34,000m² Area12 mall, with over 60 shops, including a Juventus store; the popular Juventus Museum, which showcases memorabilia and documents from the archives of the most successful football club in Italy; and the J-Medical centre, with specialist clinics, operating theatres for outpatient surgery and a rehabilitation centre, as well as medical facilities for the club’s players.

Daily tours of the stadium allow guests to explore the dressing rooms, facilities, museum and pitch. Tours are 70 minutes long and are conveniently available in Italian, English, French, German and Spanish.

Palazzo Madama Torino
The Palazzo Madama on Piazza Castello was the first Senate of the Italian Kingdom.

Despite its small size and population, Torino stands out as a bastion of Piemontese culture and natural beauty. Maybe you’re searching for a slice of history and culture. Perhaps you’re making your way to one of the many surrounding ski destinations. Maybe you’re hoping to catch the Juventus boys in action! Whatever your plans, Torino will most certainly be one of the highlights of your trip!

Want to get to know Piemonte better? See our two part must-see guide: Part 1 & Part 2

Check out our must-see guides from previous issues: Puglia region and Alto Adige/Südtirol!