Turin used to be ignored by the international tourists who chose Italy for their holiday in the past. Often considered only an industrial centre with few points of interest, this city remained out of the usual touristic route Venice-Florence-Rome. Recently, the trend seems to be changing: in 2015, in fact, more than four millions tourists visited the capital of the Piedmont region, with a 7% grow year-over-year.
If Rome is the symbol of Antiquity and Florence is renowed as the cradle of the Renaissance, Turin is the royal city per excellence. The city of Savoy dynasty was the first capital of the Italian Kingdom, when it was founded in 1861, and it has kept till nowadays an austere and royal atmosphere. Moreover, Turin hosts a large number of famous museums and monuments and has a strong cultural and culinary tradition, that makes the visit not only interesting but also tasty.
So, if you are planning a trip to Italy, here are five reasons why you should insert Turin in your touristic route.
Egyptian Museum in Turin
In Turin there is the second largest Egyptian Museum in the world. This museum, dedicated exclusively to the art and culture of ancient Egypt, was founded in 1826, when Carlo Felice, King of Sardinia, bought the collection of a French consul in Egypt: Bernardino Drovetti. Nowadays, the collection is made by more than 30,000 pieces, including statues of pharaohs, sarcophagi, funerary steles, jewelry, everyday objects.
Turin, birthplace of the Aperitif
In Italy, you can’t go out in the evening without bumping into bars that offers “aperitivo” or happy hour. Turin was the birthplace of this tradition. This invention is attributed to Gaspare Campari, the inventor of the eponymous drink, who did here his apprenticeship as maître licoriste in the mid 1800s. Turin offers a lot of modern bars and historic cafés in which tourists can taste the different souls of Turin.
National Cinema Museum, Turin cradle of Italian cinema
The Italian cinema was born in Turin at the beginning of the 1900s, and since then Turin has kept a strong connection what the Italian filmmaking. The National Cinema Museum shows the evolution of the seventh art from its origins till today. The museum is hosted in a famous Turin monument, the Mole Antonelliana, which was once also the tallest masonry building in the world, until the 1953 collapse of its pinnacle.
Turin, the Italian capital of chocolate
You can’t visit Turin without tasting the famous local type of chocolate “gianduja”, a hazelnut and chocolate paste at the origin of Nutella (which was originally called pasta gianduja), and the little version “gianduiotti”. The invention of the “gianduiotti” was due to the English embargo on cocoa during the Napoleonic wars. As a reaction to the embargo, Turinese chocolate makers had the idea to mix hazelnuts (which were abundantly available in Piedmont), into the chocolate, creating the famous hazelnut and chocolate mix.
Venaria Reale, the royal residence of Savoy in Turin
Venaria Reale it’s the Turinese Versailles. The royal mansion was built as a hunting and pleasure for the members of the Savoy dynasty who wanted to demonstrate their power. Built between 1659 and 1679 on a design of Castellamonte, in XIX century began a long period of decline of the palace (transformed into military barracks) completely ruined a century later. Fortunately a European restoration project has restored the splendor of that place of delight as it was in the past. Since its opening to the public in 2007, the Venaria Reale was declare UNESCO World Heritage Site and nowadays is among the top five most visited cultural sites in Italy.