Turin was the country’s first capital and is now the capital of the Piedmont region in northern Italy. Often referred to as ‘The Paris of Italy, this city is applauded for its majestically beautiful architecture, intricately designed churches, and royal past. It’s home to Palazzo Reale, a 16th-century palace originally built for the House of Savoy located in the heart of the city.
History buffs and museum lovers will find countless treasures in this vibrant city. It has over forty museums, many of which are of great importance to the world. Every museum and cultural center tells beautiful stories of the past and will take you to a different world you’ve never seen before. There are also gorgeous gardens, castles, royal residences, ancient tramways, and monuments that are truly a feast for the eyes.
You can spend days in the city and explore its many museums, art galleries, and palaces. And you may want to fit in a little shopping too. But before starting your daily adventure, make sure to store your belongings safely at a Bounce luggage storage spot in Turin. That way, you can go to places freely and comfortably without any heavy bags weighing you down.
Turin Civic Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art
Opened in 1863, The Turin Civic Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art (Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea or GAM) is the country’s oldest modern art museum. It's one of the most important museums in Turin with an outstanding collection of more than 50 thousand works, including sculptures, paintings, videos, installations, and works on paper. The artworks you’ll find here range from the 1800s to the present by notable artists like Medardo Rosso, Andy Warhol, Pelizza da Volpedo, and more.
If you love modern and contemporary art, then GAM should be on top of your to-visit list. It also has guided tours for individuals and groups, featuring temporary exhibitions and GAM collections. The works from the museum’s collections are displayed based on categories or themes that change over time. This way, visitors will see the collections from a different angle, and doing so provides them with fresh perspectives.
Besides purchasing from the ticket office, you can buy museum tickets in advance online, or you may call the call center from Monday through Saturday. GAM is open from Tuesday to Sunday, between 10 am to 6 pm.
National Museum of the Italian Risorgimento
The National Museum of the Italian Risorgimento (Museo Nazionale del Risorgimento Italiano) is a history museum in Turin dedicated to the 19th-century Italian Unification, also known as Risorgimento. It was established in 1878, shortly after the Unification of Italy, and is now housed in Palazzo Carignano, a historical building designed by architect Guarino Guarini.
The museum boasts an impressive collection of documents, flags, uniforms, weapons, artworks, and other finds related to the Risorgimento. It’s the oldest and most significant museum dedicated to the Italian Unification because of the richness of its collections. The objects here can be dated between 1706 and 1946, which is the period between the siege of Turin and the birth of the Italian republic.
Guided tours are available in the museum in Italian and foreign languages. You may book a guided tour for a maximum of thirty people in Italian, French, English, German, and Spanish. To visit, you can check it out from Tuesday to Sunday, between 10 am to 6 pm, although the last entry is at 5:30 pm.
Located in the center of the city of Turin (read our guide on this neighborhood and more places to stay in Turin) and only about a five-minute walk from The Po river is an archeological museum called Egyptian Museum. As the name suggests, this is a museum consisting of Egyptian archaeology and anthropology. Moreover, it is the oldest Egyptian museum in the world.
Inside, you can find over 4000 years of ancient Egyptian history with artifacts and cultural treasures displayed for visitors to see. There are papyrus, statues, and mummies of humans and animals in exhibits.
The museum was founded in 1824 and has been entirely dedicated to Egyptian culture and lifestyle. So if you love to learn about the history of this once great nation, then the Egyptian Museum in Turin should definitely be on your bucket list. The museum opens Mondays from 9 am to 2 pm and 9 am to 6:30 pm on Tuesdays through Sundays.
Museum of Oriental Art
One of the largest museums in the world for the study of oriental art is Turin’s Museum of Oriental Art (Museo d'Arte Orientale). Located in the heart of Turin city and housed in a 17th-century building known as Palazzo Mazzonis, the Museum contains art galleries of Asia’s ancient culture.
This building consists of four floors, displaying ancient artwork from South Asia and Southeast Asia, the most popular of which is the 10th-century AD Chinese funerary collection, covering the period from the Neolithic to the Tang era. Furthermore, a dedicated temporary exhibit on the ground floor allows the museum to cater to specific themes to widen its audience and cultural displays.
With so much history of the Asian culture to explore dating back to ancient times, the Museum of Oriental Art is indeed worth the visit for those interested in both art and historic Asian culture. The museum is unavailable on Mondays but opens from Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm.
Civic Museum of Ancient Art
Created in 1861 for the purpose of preserving the region's ancient heritage, the Civic Museum of Ancient Art (Museo Civico d'Arte Antica) is a museum containing works from artists and craftsmen spanning the Savoy dynasty.
The Madama Palace that houses the museum, which is a historic building in itself, has four stories. Each story displays artwork from different timelines. The basement contains sculptures from the middle ages, with a beautiful medieval garden to explore. The ground floor has art from the Gothic to the Renaissance. The first floor is the baroque rooms where the Royal Madame lived, giving you insight into the arts of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Finally, there’s the second floor containing diverse decorative arts from all eras. The Civic Museum of Ancient Art will no doubt take you back in time as you follow the City of Turin’s history. The museum opens every day besides Tuesdays from 10 am to 6 pm.
National Museum of Cinema
Why not enjoy some street food and then get exercise while wandering through this museum? Precisely as the name of this museum suggests, the National Museum of Cinema (Museo Nazionale del Cinema) is all about the world of film. This idea was conceived in 1941 by Maria Adriana Prolo, who decided to dedicate a space purely to the film industry.
This cinema museum contains a whopping over 2 million works, such as photographs, films, equipment, documents, and recordings, just to name a few. These collections are widely known and considered among the most valuable in the world.
At the National Museum of Cinema, you can explore three themes. You can learn about archaeology, photography, and the history of cinema. The museum opens daily, excluding Tuesdays, from 9 am to 7 pm.
Museum of Decorative Arts
The Museum of Decorative Arts is a dedicated museum for Turin’s famous artist, Pietro Accorsi. It was established by his pupil, Giulio Ometto, in 1999. This museum contains many of Pietro’s arts throughout his years.
The museum features 23 rooms filled with over 3,000 of Pietro’s works, including paintings, ceramics, furniture, and furnishings, among many others. In fact, the most beautiful piece of furniture in the world is housed here for all visitors to witness.
The Museum of Decorative Arts marks the life’s work of the once-famous Turin artist. But it also displays the love of the pupil for his mentor. Giulio Ometto, after all, was just as passionate about art. You can visit the museum on Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 am to 6 pm. On Thursdays, however, the closing time is 9 pm. As for the weekends, the closing time is 7 pm.
Royal Museums Complex
The Royal Museums Complex is part of Turin's more extensive network of museums and cultural treasures. It was the home of the Royal House of Savoy and was chosen as the primary residence by the regent family due to its open location in the middle of the city. Then the palace expanded until it became a vast complex, including the Chapel of the Holy Shroud and the Savoy Gallery.
Today, the Royal Museums Complex will give you a three-kilometer tour to discover history, art, and nature. It offers about 30,000 square meters of spaces for exhibition and storage and seven hectares of gorgeous gardens. Since 2014, it has brought together five unique institutions, such as:
The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace was converted into a historic Turin museum in 1946 and included in the UNESCO World Heritage sites list in 1997. It was built in the 16th century and modernized in the 17th century by Christine Marie of France using the designs of Baroque architect Filippo Juvarra and other iconic artists. As you visit, you’ll tour the intricately-decorated rooms that feature 17th-century carved furniture, frescoes, paintings, and tapestries. You can also explore the palace’s interiors and appreciate the Savoy’s art collection.
Museum of Antiquity
The Museum of Antiquity’s itinerary is developed in several sections. First, it will take you to the Archaeological Gallery, which holds the museum’s historical collections, and then you’ll explore the Sale D’Andrade, which contains the section devoted to Archeology in the city and the Treasury of Marengo. Visitors will also discover the Roman Theater’s archeological area and the Territory Pavilion, designed for Piedmont archeology.
The Royal Armory
Turin’s Royal Armory (Armeria Reale) is one of the world's largest and richest collections of weapons and armor. The idea of putting together a museum mainly devoted to weapons started at the end of 1832 when Carlo Alberto began collecting the weapons of the Savoy. Today, the Armory holds over 5,000 items ranging from prehistoric times to the start of the 20th century.
If you want to see the royal art collections gathered by the House of Savoy, visit the Sabauda Gallery as part of your tour at the Royal Museums complex. It brings the collection of Eugene of Savoy together with the works from the Royal Palace, Savoy-Carignano’s picture gallery, and the pieces from Genoa’s Palazzo Durazzo. Overall, it now houses numerous sculptures, paintings, and artworks from hundreds of years ago.
Besides these cultural and art centers, the Royal Museums of Turin also include the spectacular Royal Gardens, the Royal Library, the Palazzo Chiablese, and the Chapel of the Holy Shroud. It is open from Tuesday through Sunday, between 9 am to 7 pm, but the ticket office is only open until 6 pm. However, you visit the Royal Gardens from 8:30 am to 7 pm, whereas the Royal Library can be accessed between 8:30 am to 3:15 pm from Monday to Friday.
What are the best free museums in Turin?
Are you traveling on a budget and looking for free things to do? You’re lucky to be in Turin, as this iconic city offers free visits to numerous museums and cultural facilities. And if you’re here on the first Sunday of the month, you can visit selected Turin museums without spending a dime. These include several archaeological museums and royal palaces, such as Galleria Sabauda, the Royal Palace, the Royal Armory, Palazzo Carignano, and the Museum of Antiquity.
What’s more, some museums in the city are open for free on other selected days of the month. For instance, the Modern Art Gallery and Museum of Oriental Art are available for free on the first Tuesday of the month. Palazzo Madama is also free every first Wednesday of each month. So mark your calendars to explore as many museums as you possibly can on those days.
Which are the best museums in Downtown Turin?
You don’t have to go too far to explore some of the best museums in Turin. In the heart of the historic city, you’ll find the Royal Museums, which will take you to various incredible attractions. You can also explore the only museum, besides Cairo Museum, dedicated solely to Egyptian art and culture. The Egyptian Museum in Turin is one of the city’s main attractions, drawing in over 850,000 visitors each year.
But if you love cars, don’t forget to stop by the National Automobile Museum (Museo Nazionale dell'Automobile). Its collection of 200 vehicles will give you insight into the impressive evolution of the automobile. Apart from the visit itinerary of the museum, there’s also an Open Garage where visitors can admire stunning pieces from the unique collection and watch restorers at work.
Are there any cheap museums in Turin?
You can't leave Turin and not visit its excellent museums. Whether you're looking for history, specialty, or art museums, this legendary city won't leave you disappointed. Many of them are budget-friendly, if not free. You may check out the Civic Museum of Ancient Art which offers discounted tickets besides its normal rate that doesn't go over $11. There are also discount cards and passes you can take full advantage of for tours and events.
Discover the Best Museums in Turin
Turin is an exceptional place to visit and explore different museums, palaces, churches, and other historic sites. It’s a paradise for history buffs and museum lovers who could spend days learning about its colorful past and the stories of many unique places. We didn't cover the automobile museum (Museo Nazionale dell'Automobile) but it's a fun place to see also. Turin is a pretty walkable city, so you can go to various points of interest in no time.