Georges Rouzeau - 2012-11-08
The former capital of the Duchy of Savoy, of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia and of the Kingdom of Italy wears its sovereign past very well. And while Turin’s history and architecture are reason enough to visit, the city is also a top gourmet destination. An ideal spot for cultivated tastes.
Turin is constantly being rediscovered, especially over the course of the last decade. Hard hit by industrial crises, the erstwhile automobile capital and birthplace of Fiat has chosen to join the ranks of distinguished art and history towns. Granted, Turin is neither Florence nor Rome, but this city featuring eighteen kilometres of porticoes holds a variety of surprises and pleasures.
Its architecture is often thought of as neo-classical, but Turin also harbours baroque pearls such as the Palazzo Madama, with a Filippo Juvarra facade; the Palazzo Carignano, by Guarino Guarini; and the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and its Chapel of the Holy Shroud, also known as the Shroud of Turin.
The city enjoys its fair share of museums as well. The first two on our list are the Egyptian Museum (three stars in the Michelin Green Guide), which holds one of the world’s finest collections of Egyptian antiquities, and the Galleria Sabauda, where one can admire chefs-d’œuvre by Rembrandt, Rubens and Fra Angelico that were collected over the years by the House of Savoy. Another must-see is the National Cinema Museum of Torino, housed in the Mole Antonelliana, an incredible edifice that dominates Turin at 167 metres. The panoramic view of the city and the Alps at the top is simply breathtaking. Fans of contemporary art should hasten to the GAM (Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea), as its 40,000 plus works of art make it Italy’s foremost modern art museum.
In Turin, the culture of the palate is also particularly distinguished. If breaking open the piggy bank and dining at the Ristorante Del Cambio, where Cavour had a table (see video), doesn’t appeal, the city’s many historic cafés – such as the Café Platti (see video) - serve sophisticated sandwiches, delectable daily specials, traditional pastries and delicious chocolates. Turin is indeed a city of sovereign delights.
Italy’s National Tourism Board
Where to stay
Art Hotel Boston
Tel: +39 011 500359
If you appreciate contemporary art, this is the place for you. A twenty-minute walk from city centre on the edge of the chic La Crocetta quarter, Art Hotel Boston is a magnificent hotel boasting Liberty-style facades, a gorgeous interior and a collection of modern art that reaches as far as the guest rooms, where you might even find a Warhol.
Best Western Hotel Piemontese
Via Berthollet, 21
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 72
Tel: +39 011 4407490