3 Days in Turin: Everything You Should Know
Turin is the biggest city and the capital of Italy's Piedmont region and is a major cultural, financial and commercial hub for the country. There is a lot to love about the city – from iconic buildings, stunning plazas and world-famous museums to historic cafés and their delicious gourmet chocolate. Additionally, Turin has earned the nickname “the Paris of Italy” because of its regal charm and grand architecture.
Despite all that it has to offer, Turin was once often overlooked by travelers for other well-known cities in northern Italy, such as Milan and Venice. In recent years, however, the lovely metropolis has slowly established itself as one of the top tourist spots in the region. Now, more and more tourists traveling through Piedmont make it a point to stop and take in the beauty of Turin, whether for a day trip or an extended stay, before heading to their next destination.
While it is entirely possible to see some of the city’s highlights in a single day, the trip will be too rushed as you try to cram as many sights as possible. Turin has over three dozen museums on top of all the other noteworthy landmarks that are worth visiting, which you definitely cannot cover in just 24 hours. Spots like the Royal Library and Galleria San Federico are lovely and the Basilica di Superga, if you get to the outskirts of Turin is fabulous too. But we know, you cannot see it all on the first trip here.
If you truly want to take in and appreciate Turin in all its glory, you will need to spend at least three days in the city. If you’re overwhelmed by the many things that you can do here, don’t worry! We’ve done all the hard work and put together the perfect itinerary for 3 days in Turin.
With so much to see, carrying heavy bags is something you'll want to steer clear of. Avoid the hassle of carrying your luggage, backpacks, or souvenirs around and secure them at a storage locker in Turin. Then, get ready for a marvelous visit!
Turin itinerary – Day 1
Morning: See Piazza Castello
As the main square and beating heart of Turin, it only makes sense to start your first day in the city at the Piazza Castello. Before you set off, you can have an Italian-style breakfast, which is essentially just coffee and light pastry, at one of the city’s historic cafes found in the area (we highly recommend Caffe Mulassano) to give you the energy for the day ahead.
Once you have fueled up with breakfast, make your way to Palazzo Madama, the most ancient building in Turin and one of the numerous Savoy palaces found in the city. Built in the 13th century, this part-Baroque and part-medieval castle once served as the seat of the first Senate of the Kingdom of Italy. In 1997, the palace was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is now one of the top tourist attractions in Turin.
Housed inside the Palazzo Madama is the Museo Civico d'Arte Antica, Turin’s national museum for ancient art, which houses an impressive permanent collection of artifacts such as medieval stonework, mosaics, sculptures, jewelry and more. During your visit, you get to enjoy two tours in one; the first one will tell you all about the history of the palace while the second will showcase the different works of art housed in the museum.
Once you’re done with a tour of the Palazzo Madama, the next thing to do is to head over to the other famous building found in Piazza Castelle – the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace). The historic building was erected in the 16th century and stood as a symbol of the power of the House of Savoy for centuries. A visit to the palace will give you access to the Armeria Reale (Royal Armory), a museum that houses a massive collection of armor and weapons from medieval times.
After you’re done exploring the museum, head straight to the Galleria Sabauda, which is also housed within the palace complex. The art gallery is home to the royal art collection of the House of Savoy, which boasts the works of some of Europe’s most prominent artists. Here, you can find art by the likes of Anthony van Dyck, Rembrandt, Titian, Gerrit Dou, Filippino Lippi and more. End your visit to the palace by taking a stroll through the lovely Royal Gardens.
Afternoon: Visit the Quadrilatero Romano
After you are finished touring the two buildings, have lunch to fuel yourself for the second half of the day. Head towards the west of Piazza Castello until you reach the Quadrilatero Romano. The oldest part of the city, the Roman Quarter is home to several of Turin’s popular restaurants and cafés. Some of the top dining options in the area include Tre galline, which serves traditional Piedmontese cuisine, Fassoneria, which is known for its excellent burgers, and La Panzella, a pizzeria.
Once you have had lunch, walk over to the Piazza San Giovanni until you reach the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, also known simply as the Turin Cathedral. Established in the 15th century, the church serves as the seat of the Archbishops of Turin and is one of the most popular churches in the city. The church is located right next to a bell tower and was constructed from 1491 to 1498.
While most locals come here to attend mass, tourists almost always visit the church for one reason – to learn more about the Holy Shroud. Housed in the Chapel of the Holy Shroud, located right outside the cathedral, it is a controversial piece of cloth that is believed to be the fabric shroud used to wrap Jesus of Nazareth after he was crucified. Though the claim is being contested to this day, it has drawn a lot of curiosity and has become a must-see when in Turin.
However, the shroud is rarely placed on display. Instead, the church has an exact replica of the linen that visitors can take a look at. After you check out the Cathedral, end your sightseeing for day one with a visit to the Porta Palatina, a city gate and the main archaeological symbol of the Roman Age in Turin.
Night: Aperitivo at the Piazza Vittorio Veneto
Aperitivo is an Italian tradition that consists of a drink and a light meal that is practiced all over the country, including Turin. If you’re looking to try this tradition for yourself, there is no better spot in the city to do it than in Piazza Vittorio Veneto. The center of Turin’s nightlife scene, the piazza is home to several bars and restaurants where you can enjoy aperitivo. On top of that, the square offers views over the River Po, which makes for great picture-taking opportunities.
Turin itinerary – Day 2
Morning: Cup of bicerin at Piazza San Carlo
You know Italians love their coffee but in Turin, they like to make their café drinks a little sweeter, literally. The city is the birthplace of the bicerin, a coffee drink that is made of espresso, milk and chocolate that’s layered and served in a small glass. There’s no way you can visit Turin without trying this drink and it’s the perfect pick-me-up drink to keep you awake for part two of your trip.
There are numerous historic cafés around the city where you can try this traditional drink but for this itinerary, we suggest Caffe Torino or Caffee San Carlo as these are the ones you will find within the famous Piazza San Carlo. Right in the heart of the city center, the piazza is a fine example of Baroque architecture and is regarded as one of Turin’s liveliest areas. In the piazza, you can take your time strolling around and admiring the many monuments and landmarks before heading to your next stop.
Afternoon: Discover Museo Egizio
After you have had your cup of bicerin, the next thing to do is to enjoy the attractions in the area. Between the Piazza San Carlo and Piazza Castello lies the Museo Egizio (Egyptian Museum), one of Turin’s most famous and important museums. Established in 1833, the Egyptian Museum is revered worldwide for its astonishing collection of artifacts from ancient Egypt. The museum’s permanent collection has grown massively over the decades and is now the second largest of its kind in the world (just next to Cairo).
Some of the noteworthy artifacts that you will find at the Egyptian Museum include a statue of Sekhmet, a Shawabti box, sarcophagi, Papyrus filled with hieroglyphics and the tomb of Kha. You can choose either a guided tour or simply buy an audio guide if you want to work through the museum at your own pace. However, we do recommend you go with the former because a local guide can help you get a more in-depth understanding of Egyptian history and the individual items found within the museum.
Night: Enjoy Teatro Regio Torino
The art of opera music originated in Italy and it would be a great opportunity to experience a lovely opera show during your stay in Turin. Located in the Piazza Castello is the Teatro Regio Torino, a majestic building that has been around since 1740 and is one of the most important opera houses in the world.
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Teatro Regio hosts multiple performing arts events throughout the year. Make it a point to catch one of these shows in the evening while in Turin and immerse yourself in the city’s cultural scene. (Pro tip: If you aren’t lucky enough to secure tickets for a show, you may buy tickets and join a tour of the opera house instead.)
Turin itinerary – Day 3
Morning: Visit Mole Antonelliana
Your final day in Turin will start at what is arguably the city’s most famous landmark – the Mole Antonelliana. Designed and built in 1863 by architect Alessandro Antonelli (whom the building is named after), this architectural site towers over the Turin skyline and has become the city’s monument to national unity. Take a ride up the glass elevator, which will take you to an observation deck about 85 meters high, where you can get panoramic views of Turin and the Italian Alps.
After taking in the views, the next thing to do is to visit the Museo Nazionale del Cinema (National Museum of Cinema), which is located inside the Mole Antonelliana. One fun fact about Turin is that it is where Italian cinema was born and you get to learn about this and several other aspects of film history in the museum. At the National Cinema Museum, you can find exhibitions that trace cinema history through a wide range of objects and memorabilia related to film production.
In addition, the museum has a main room with seats where you can watch movies being played on the big screen. Because of its popularity, you may end up waiting in line for hours but be patient because the unique experience is totally worth it. Once you are done with the tour of the Turin cinema museum, have lunch at the many restaurants near the area.
Afternoon: Meander through Parco del Valentino
After you are done with your meal, you are ready to move on to the next part of your day. If you want to take a break from all the grand palaces, lovely museums and historic architecture without leaving the city, the best option is to take an afternoon stroll at the Parco del Valentino (Valentino Park). Situated on the west bank of the Po River, the park is an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and a favorite hangout place among locals and tourists.
Aside from its sheer beauty, there are plenty of points of interest to see within Valentino Park. One of the coolest areas here is Turin’s “folly”, which is a medieval village filled with shops, a castle and studios and provides a visual representation of what it looked like back in the day. Originally built for an exhibition, the folly was beloved by the locals so much that they decided to turn it into a permanent part of the park.
Night: Tour of Eataly
There is no better way to end your visit to Turin, Italy than visiting the original and largest version of the Eataly supermarket found worldwide. Founded in 2007, Eataly is more than just a store; the market offers a staggering range of delicacies, fresh produce, spices, and even recipe books and cookware.
There are also a couple of restaurants and cafes within the area where you can get ready-to-eat meals prepared with high-quality and seasonal ingredients. This is also the best place in Turin to shop for local products and delicacies that you may want to bring home with you.
Enjoy 3 Days in Turin
Turin is one of the most pleasant Italian cities and a must-visit if you have plans to travel through the northern region of the country. This 3 day itinerary covers most of the city highlights and will allow you to discover Turin and get a great sense of its history and culture.
Still planning your visit to Turin? Check out these guides for more ideas!
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