The Top 15 Free Things To Do In Turin
Found in Northern Italy in the Piedmont region is a city called Turin. This town is situated in a picturesque area with the natural beauty of the Italian Alps rising to the northwest of town. Turin was previously the first capital city of United Italy back in 1861. Although it is no longer the country's capital it is still an important Italian city and its fourth largest, as well as its main communications and industrial centre. Locally the city is sometimes called Torino, which means 'little bull' in Italian. There are many reasons why Turin is a fantastic vacation spot and lots of people travel here to see the different kinds of architecture that have appeared throughout the years.
Going on vacation can be pricey, especially if you are traveling far. Turin has so many great attractions that you should check out, but paying for tickets to different activities can get expensive. If you want to save some money and still have a vacation full of entertainment and sightseeing then you have come to the right place, and we will introduce you to some free things to do while you are visiting this Italian town.
Travel tip: Many attractions and museums prefer large bags be left outside. Stow your shopping purchases, large backpacks, and even purses at a suitcase locker in Turin. It's a safe and economical way to keep everything in one place while you explore.
Visit an Interactive Museum or Archeological Site
Museums are a fantastic way to get to know a new city and Turin has some really interesting ones for you to enjoy. Usually, you would have to pay for a ticket to get in but Turin offers free entry to many of its top visited museums on specific days of every month, all year round.
Stop by the Royal Armory and Royal Palace of Turin, the Sabauda Gallery, the Carignano Palace, or the Chapel of the Shroud for free on the first Sunday of the month. You can get into the Criminal Anthropology Museum, Museum of Human Anatomy and Fruit Museum every Wednesday all year, or the Pietro Micca Museum on the first Friday of the month. Try the Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery or the Museum of Oriental Art which can be accessed free of charge on the first Tuesday of each month.
Other museums that are worth checking out include the Turin City Museum, the Egyptian Museum, the Royal Museums, the National Cinema Museum and the National Automobile Museum.
Browse the Galleria San Federico
Turin, Italy is home to lots of shopping centres and arcades, and you can have a great afternoon without spending any money by just walking through the malls. The Galleria San Federico is one of the most beautiful and is covered so you can explore it at any time of day or even when it is raining. This galleria is decorated with shops, cafes, boutiques and cinemas.
If you enjoy browsing through this shopping mall you can check out some of the others in Turin. Try walking through the Galleria Subalpina or the Galleria Umberto, since they are all stunning in architecture and design.
Explore the Quadrilatero Romano
Take a trip back in time by visiting the Roman Quarter which is full of Roman ruins and monuments. Take your time strolling along the cobblestone streets and admiring the old structures, some dating back to the 1st century BC.
Some of the places that are worth stopping by include the Roman Amphitheater as well as the Porta Palatina, which is the original gateway of the city and is very old. If you find yourself near the Cattedrale di San Giovanni Battista you can hear the bells toll every hour. There are also lots of ice cream shops and boutiques set up in the area if you want to treat yourself to something.
Admire the Views from Atop the Basilica di Superga
The Basilica di Superga is found on top of the Turin hills and can be spotted from almost anywhere in the city. This building is worth visiting on its own, but while you are here you should take advantage of its location to catch some views of the city and beyond.
Getting to the basilica can be difficult so you might want to bring a car or take a bus ride to the top. However, if you are up for the challenge you can also hike to the summit of the hill. Get some exercise while saving money and sightseeing in Turin! Be aware that you will need to pay to enter the basilica but you can admire it from the outside for free.
Sightsee at the Piazza San Carlo
This Baroque style square in Turin is one of the city's famous piazzas and is also where you will find the iconic equestrian statue called El Caval èd Brons. The statue was sculpted in 1838 by Carlo Marocchetti and displays Emanuele Filiberto on horseback. Along the edges of the square, you will find other historical buildings and landmarks like the church of Santa Cristina.
The construction of Piazza San Carlo began in 1642 and ended in 1650, and today it is a popular spot for both tourists and locals to hang out. The area is decorated with cafes, restaurants and bars so make your way over here when it is time for lunch or dinner.
Go See the Beautiful Villa Della Regina
The Villa Della Regina, also known as the Queen's Villa, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a fantastic free place to visit in Turin. You will find the villa and a beautiful vineyard situated just behind the Chiesa della Gran Madre di Dio. The vineyards are run by the Balbiano Winery of Andezeno and it is where the Freisa Piedmontese grape variety is grown.
These vineyards have an interesting history; they were built along with the villa back in 1615 and successfully grew grapes to make wine for hundreds of years. They were destroyed during the bombings in World War II and the area remained untouched until 1994 when the vineyard was finally rebuilt and brought back to its former glory.
Explore the Palazzo Madama
You will find the Palazzo Madama situated right by the Palazzo Reale which should be another stop on your tour of the city. This medieval castle is pretty interesting to see in person since the rear is still of the original medieval construction but the front facade was redone in the 1700s and made of Baroque architecture.
The Palazzo Madama has gone through several uses during its lifetime. At one point it was owned by the Medici family, and it was also used as the Italian Senate's first seat in 1871 when the country was unified.
Walk around Valentino Park
Situated right along the Po River is the beautiful Valentino Park. This greenspace is big and a popular spot for lots of locals to gather so you will probably come across many dog walkers, bikers and joggers. Aside from nice paths and picnic spots, this park is also home to the beautiful Medieval Village and Valentino Castle.
The village was built back in 1884 during the Turin Expo as part of the Ancient Art section. When it was built it was meant to be a realistic representation of a 15th century town, and when you walk through it you will feel as though you have gone back in time. Make time to explore the full Castello del Valentino as is it decked out with different rooms and even a botanical garden. The castle is only free to enter on the first Tuesdays of the month.
Look for Treasure at the Porta Palazzo Market
Are you interested in visiting the biggest outdoor market in all of Europe? If so then you should head to the Porta Palazzo Market. It has an impressive 800 stalls selling only the best local produce, meats and pastries.
This is where some citizens go for their groceries but even if you don't want to buy anything it is a nice spot to take a walk. Come see stalls full of ripe tomatoes and artichokes, cheeses and products from local butchers or bakers.
Take Photos Atop Monte dei Cappuccini
The Monte dei Cappuccini is situated on a hill behind the gorgeous Chiesa della Gran Madre di Dio. This church dates back to the 17th century and if you climb up the hill to its steps you can admire the downtown city and the River Po from above.
Make sure you bring your camera since you will definitely want to capture some shots of the view. It is the perfect spot to take photos for a scrapbook or postcard, and it won't cost you a thing!
Shop for Secondhand Books on Via Po
If you enjoy browsing through markets or are someone who is interested in books then this is the place for you. It is a fantastic area with stalls selling used books for a good price. Of course, you will have to pay if you want to buy anything but browsing costs you nothing, and if you have a free afternoon why not check it out?
The market can be found in the area between Piazza Vittorio Veneto and the Piazza Castello. These spots are pretty impressive on their own so after you are done exploring the market you should take a short walk around the piazzas.
Take a Stroll Around Giardino Reale
The Giardino Reale, or Royal Gardens, are the beautiful botanic gardens that you will find behind the Palazzo Reale so if you are already there admiring the palace you can take a stroll through the gardens as well. It is a nice place to take a break from the busy streets of Turin and just relax in the fresh air for a while.
From the public garden, you can perfectly see the silhouette of the Mole Antonelliana which is one of the iconic Turin buildings, and also where you can find the Museo Nazionale del Cinema. Head there next if you want to continue sightseeing around the city centre.
Admire the Piazza Castello
If you haven't had enough of all the palaces and medieval buildings in Turin then we recommend you make your way to the impressive Piazza Castello. This square was designed by the architect Vitozzi back in 1564 and is a nice place to relax between activities since it is located right in the heart of the city.
The area around Piazza Castello is surrounded by important establishments that you should take the time to visit. Go to the Royal Library, the Royal Theatre, and the Royal Palace which were once the city's royal residences. Many of these buildings have been around since the early years of the city's history.
Visit the Duomo di Torino
The Duomo di Torino, also known as the Turin Cathedral, is a must-see landmark when you are visiting Turin. It was constructed in dedication to Saint John the Baptist and today it serves as the seat of the Archbishops of Turin.
This is an amazing structure that was finished being built in 1498 although it has undergone changes over the years, like the addition of the Holy Shroud in 1694. It is a popular location on most of the guided tours around the city, but you can come to visit it on your own for free.
Discover the Area Around Piazza della Repubblica
The Piazza della Repubblica, or Republic Square, is another important location in the city. It was the centre of a redevelopment project in Turin that aimed to improve the economic and physical functionality of the city back in 2005 and has helped the city to evolve into what it is today.
Today the square is home to the largest outdoor market in the entire continent of Europe which is open every day of the week, so feel free to stop by at any point during your vacation.
Visit Turin Without Breaking the Bank
If you want to go on vacation to Italy but don't have much money to spend, there is no need to worry since Turin offers lots of fun activities that you can enjoy for free. Things like learning about ancient Egypt or other interesting topics at a national museum, seeing urban art, strolling through a park and stopping by the historical buildings are just some of the points of interest in Turin. This city's rich culture and history shine through in every aspect of its architecture and design so you can appreciate the town of Turin, Italy even without spending any money.