Torino, or Turin as it is usually known in the United States, is without a doubt one of Italy’s most surprising cities. Located along the western bank of the Po River and surrounded by the western Alps, it combines the incredible beauty of nature with the artistry of man, imbued with a sense of nobility and history unlike any city in Italy.
The 18th and 19th centuries were crucial periods in the unification of Italy and Turin is known as “the cradle of Italian liberty.” In 1861, it became the first capital of the newly proclaimed Kingdom of Italy. One of the stops for the 2017 Publisher’s Tour was to the magnificent Palazzo Carignano, home of the National Museum of the Italian Risorgimento – the largest and most important museum in Italy dedicated to the Risorgimento.
Nineteenth century Turin was a favorite among intellectuals and artists and some of the city’s most iconic landmarks harken back to this period. These include the Mole Antonelliana, the Egyptian Museum, the Gran Madre di Dio church and the Piazza Vittorio Veneto. But Turin is also known for its theaters and opera houses, libraries, restaurants and art galleries, especially Art Nouveau. The most impressive is the residences of the Royal House of Savoy and in 1997, they were included in the World Heritage List. The grandeur of Turin can be witnessed all over the city in palazzos, the majestic boulevards and the arcaded shopping streets.
Culture is in abundance wherever you go in Torino. The city’s Museo Egizio is the world’s most important Egyptian museum outside Cairo. Housing the collection from the House of Savoy, the museum also holds the most complete collection of “Book of the Dead” Egyptian texts in the world; however, the mysteries within the city go much further…
The group made sure to visit the Duomo di San Giovanni. Built in 1498 and dedicated to St. John the Baptist, it houses the Shroud of Turin in the Royal Chapel. The artifact measures 14’ 5” × 3’ 7”, but is rarely on public display. The Shroud is held in an airtight, bullet-proof case and the last time that it was on display was during a two month period in 2015, which drew over two million visitors from around the world. But the group was able to view a replica that is on display in the cathedral. Even without the actual burial cloth of Jesus Christ on display, it was an exciting time to visit the cathedral. Only months earlier, an analysis was completed on threads from the fabric confirming the cloth’s image to be composed of blood. Remarkably, based upon the biological nanoparticles found during the experiments, it showed that the result of death was a violent and torturous one.
Piazza San Carlo is the city’s most famous square. As the group was guided through the city, a stop for lunch at one of the many cafés lining the piazza was in order. Discussions about every topic from politics to soccer have taken place beneath the colonnades surrounding the piazza for more than a century. At the center of the square is an emblem of the city – the 19th century statue of Emanuele Filiberto, the 16th century Duke of Savoy. Interestingly, he was known as ‘Iron Head” for his successful military ventures. It was then off to the glamour of the Galleria San Federico, located in the square’s northwestern corner. This is the premier shopping area, where trendy shops and high fashion boutiques abound.
Few realize it, but Turin is the city where the Italian cinema was born. The National Cinema Museum traces the history from its early beginnings until today. It is housed in one of the city’s most iconic buildings – the Mole Antonelliana, known as Italy’s Eiffel Tower. The building is unlike any other. Completed in 1897, it was one of the tallest buildings in the world at 548 feet and is currently the tallest museum in the world. The elevator ride to the top is in itself a unique experience. It is not contained within walls and appears to float into the vast space inside the Mole. Once to the top, there is a breathtaking view of the city, the Po Valley and the Alps.
With splendid autumn weather, the sights, sounds and atmosphere of Turin set the visit apart from any other areas on the Publisher’s Tour. Everyone agreed – a visit to Turin is a must for anyone visiting the north of Italy.