Torino (Turin), the first political capital of Italy as well as an economic and industrial capital, one of the 52 places to go in 2016 according to the New York Times, second place after Amsterdam in the European Capital of Innovation Award of the European Commission, has always been a city open to the international dimension.
Resting on the hillside and enclosed by the winding course of the river Po, it owes its charm to the location at the foot of the western Alps, watched over by snowy peaks. Thanks to this position, Torino was selected to host the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. Since the Olympics, Torino has continued to transform and invites you to discover its ancient and modern history, its rational Roman street grid, its Baroque churches and palaces and the originality of modern post-industrial architecture. The international profile can be summed up today in some significant figures. Torino is the third Italian province for volume of exports, the City has gradually signed cooperation agreements and partnerships with more than 50 cities from all continents; 45 Countries have their consulate here; Torino hosts the headquarters of many leading international agencies, as the ITC/ILO, UNICRI, UN Staff College, the European Training Foundation.
This international opening has further increased in the last two decades. From industrial and manufacturing city – a real factory town: here FIAT, now FCA in connection with Chrysler Automobiles, was born – Torino has become a city with multiple vocations.
It continues to be an important industrial city, but it is also city of services, home to the two main Italian banks.
It has always been imbued with mystical atmospheres, mainly due to the conservation of the Holy Shroud, the sacred linen in which the body of Christ was enveloped, whose last exposition in 2015 was visited by Pope Francis and by more than 2 million visitors. It is a university town with the University and the Polytechnic, two institutions of excellence and 100,000 students, including 15,000 foreigners and in cooperation relationships with over 400 universities all over the world. It has become a touristic city, thanks to its amazing museums, the Egyptian Museum for sure, second only to the one in Cairo, but also the National Cinema Museum, setting in the marvelous Mole Antonelliana, the Royal Palace, the National Museum of Automobiles and the GAM, the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Last, but not least, a trip to Torino also means a journey into Piedmont taste, whose food and wines are exported by Eataly all over the world, from New York to Tokyo. The roots of Piedmont best cuisine belong to the Langhe-Roero and Monferrato areas, whose Vineyard Landscape entered in 2014 in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Turistic links: Turismo Torino - Tourism Office www.turismotorino.org
Torino has a lot of touristic attractions for different tastes, to spend a pleasant time for culture or for entertainment. Here few suggestions:
- The National Automobile Museum is one of the rarest and most interesting collections of its kind, with almost 200 original cars dating from the mid-19th century to the present day, and over eighty different makes of vehicles, from Italy, France, Great Britain, Germany, Holland, Spain, Poland and the United States.
The Egyptian Museum is the only museum other than the Cairo Museum that is dedicated solely to Egyptian art and culture. Six and a half thousand objects are on display, whereas a further 26,000 objects are in storage.
The Mole Antonelliana and the National Cinema Museum are a good alternative: you can have a bird’s eye view of Torino from the top of the Mole spike reaching it by the panoramic lift, and you can follow the history of the Cinema from the beginning to the latest technologies in the exhibition in the basement.
The Royal Residences of Turin and Piedmont, UNESCO World Heritage Site: maisons de plaisance and sumptuous gardens, theater of the refined court life and a real proof of the Savoy House hegemony, could be explored. Downtown you can visit the Command Point, with the Royal palace, the Royal Library hosting also the original sketches of Leonardo da Vinci, the Royal Theater, the Royal Gardens. Outside Torino the marvelous Venaria Estate.
Parco Del Valentino, located along the west bank of the Po River,offers you the possibility of a good walk; it covers an area of 500,000 m², which makes it Turin's second largest park. Inside the park you can also visit the Botanical Garden, the Castle of Valentino (one of the Royal Savoy Residences), the “Medieval” Castle and Village, or take a boat and have a small cruise along the Po River. It is the downtown portion of the huge natural park extending across several Piedmont provinces along the Po River banks, which has recently been acknowledged as natural Man and Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO safeguard.
- Torino hosts the Holy Shroud, the mystical veil that wrapped Christ’s body after his death. The Shroud is exposed only during official Exposition times in the Cathedral, the last of which occurred in 2015; in the other periods a copy is exposed in the Dom. You can also visit the Holy Shroud Museum, where all the details about “identification” of the original Shroud and the technicalities about its preservation and restorations will be revealed.
- Europe's most magical city, Turin, appears to be the hot spot in an age old battle of "Good" vs. "Evil", and represents one of the corners of both “white” and “black” magical triangles. Some say it is the presence of the Shroud that attracts the forces of good against evil, whose hotspots are spread in several city locations. Some other say that the Holy Grail is well hidden inside his walls as well. Turin is the kind of city where Dan Brown might very well place the action of a future novel. Maybe you would like to explore such poles of white and black magic…
- Or maybe you can simply walk downtown, take a coffee or a hot chocolate (another of Turin’s gastronomical highlights) in one of the many bar, maybe sitting outside, take relax, and go shopping. Often overlooked by the tourists, the city indeed is full of Baroque cafes and architecture and arcaded shopping promenades and museums.
La Venaria Reale is a grandiose estate just outside Turin. It comprises 80,000 m2 of floor surface in the Reggia (Royal Palace) and 60 hectares of Gardens, adjacent to the 17th century ancient village of Venaria and the 3,000 fenced hectares of the Park of La Mandria. It is a natural and architectural masterpiece that was declared part of the World Heritage by UNESCO in 1997. It reopened to the public in 2007 after completing the EU’s largest cultural restoration project to date; the building that once housed the Stables of the Reggia is home since 2005 to the Cultural Heritage Conservation and Restoration Centre "La Venaria Reale", the third most important such center in Italy after Rome and Florence, with the partnership of INFN and of the Physics Department of Turin University. One of the most remarkable projects at the Reggia di Venaria consisted in the construction of the southern wing. The Great Gallery, that connected the apartments of the King to that of the Crown Prince, is one of the most surprising and spectacular spaces of the complex: 15 meters in height at the center of the vault, 80 meters in length and 12 in width, with magnificent stucco decorations, cornices and pilaster strips. The Fountain of the Stag in the Court of Honor can come alive with the amazing dances of the Water Theater, with 100 water jets as high as 12 meters, color light projectors and steam pipes, one of the most fascinating and choreographic fountains in the world.