Most cities have iconic buildings that serve as the symbol of the city – the Eiffel Tower, for instance, suggests Paris to even those who have never been there. The city of Turin in northern Italy has such a symbol, but both Turin and its iconic building are just enough off the tourist radar that they aren't quite world famous. This, of course, means you'll be one of the rare people “in the know” when you visit Turin and see the Mole Antonelliana.
The Mole Antonelliana looks a bit like the top of a tower that's missing most of the actual tower. The dome isn't round, but instead the four sides of the dome curve upward toward a spire that shoots up to a height of 550 feet.
Turin's low skyline makes the Mole Antonelliana stand out for its height, but the shape of the building and its tall spire would make it noticeable almost anywhere. The building was built in the late 1800s, and is named for the architect Antonelli. It was originally designed to be a synagogue, but the unfinished building changed hands and it became the home for Turin's Museum of the Risorgimento.
In 2000, the National Museum of Cinema moved into the Mole Antonelliana, with the distinction of being the tallest museum in the world. The museum has some screening rooms, as well as artifacts from the history of cinema – Darth Vader's mask from “The Empire Strikes Back,” the alien costume from “Aliens,” a mask from Fellini's “Satyricon” - alongside pieces of film sets, and an extensive collection of film posters.