Resting in regal charm on the picturesque River Po in sight of the Italian Alps, Turin’s certainly easy on the eye. Stroll grand promenades (preferably in summer, when its notorious weather eases up), taking in historic buildings and fine museums, or delve into the city’s intriguing mystical legacy. Whichever Turin you discover, you’ll be captivated.
Day 1: Museums and Palazzos
For a city with the dubious reputation of being ‘industrial’, Turin’s center positively sparkles with architectural gems. The ornate Palazzo Reale does Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, 17th-century style, with gardens designed by none other than André le Nôtre, creator of those at Versailles. Palazzo Madama blends Baroque and Medieval to stunning effect, while Palazzo Bricherasio was once wrapped by artist Christo! You could spend weeks exploring Turin’s amazing museums: Museo dell’Automobile, with hundreds of famous and unique cars; Museo Egizio, one of the world’s finest collections of ancient Egyptian art; the blockbusting Museo Nazionale del Cinema, a cinephile’s dream – and so much more. Culture amateurs will wonder why they didn’t visit earlier.
Day 2: Magic and Mystery
Legend has it that Turin is divided into two distinct halves: one sacred (ruled by white magic influences) and the other evil (black magic). Why not decide for yourself by touring the city’s key occult landmarks? The ancient Romans believed the site of Piazza Statuto to be unlucky, and built a cemetery there. It’s now considered Turin’s ‘heart of darkness’. As you wander the streets, you’ll glimpse unnerving details on old buildings, creepy stone monsters – and that’s to say nothing of the eerie subterranean world lying beneath the city…At the other end of the spectrum, the Renaissance cathedral Duomo di San Giovanni houses the Holy Shroud of Turin, a replica of which is displayed in front of the altar. On the rare occasions the original cloth makes a public appearance, Catholic pilgrims from across the globe flood into town to pay tribute. Another must-see for devotees is the Museo della Sindone, a quirky museum dedicated to all things Shroud-related.
Day 3: Let the Good Times Barolo…
The tranquil Piedmont region around Turin is one of Italy’s best kept secrets, although it’s only a matter of time until the tourist hordes catch on. This is your chance to enjoy its undulating hills, historic vineyards and wine cellars, and fine dining before everyone else. Like a tipple? Savor famous Piedmontese wines such as Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Dolcetto and Arneis. More of a foodie? Piedmont’s mouthwatering fresh produce will send you into raptures: don’t miss the village of Alba, home of the sublime white truffle. Indeed, after all in this indulgence, you may need to be rolled back to the capital.