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Capital of Piedmont

Stage town for the fifth time.

Population: 843,000 (Turiners) '

Specialities: agnolotti (stuffed ravioli), tajarin (truffle pasta), Barolo risotto, polenta carbonara, chicken chasseur, stuffed artichokes, gianduiotto (chocolate), Bicerin, vermouth. Gressins. Sabayon.

Personalities: Savoy family, including Victor-Emmanuel II, first King of Italy. Cavour (Italian statesman). Antonio Gramsci, Joseph de Maistre, Cesare Pavese, Primo Levi, Mario Soldati, Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco (thinkers and writers). Camillo Olivetti, Gianni and Giovanni Agnelli (industrialists). Giuseppe Farina (F1). Umberto Tozzi and Carla Bruni (singers).

Sport: Juventus and Torino FC (football), Competitions: Winter Olympics in 2006.

Culture and festivals: Turin Film Festival. Lovers Film Festival. International Women's Film Festival. CioccolaTo (chocolate festival). Torino Jazz Festival. Artissima (modern art), Mito Settembre Musica (September). Turin International Book Fair.

Economy: automotive and subcontracting (Fiat), microcomputing (Olivetti), railway construction, insurance (Toro, Reale Mutua), banking (San Paolo, CRT), road transport, fashion and textiles (Borbonese, Carlo Pignatelli, Kristina Ti, Fisico, Brooksfield, Jaggy, Kappa, Superga), food and related industries (Lavazza, Martini).

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Thanks to its proximity to the French border, Turin has already featured on the route of the Tour de France four times, in 1956, 1961, 1966 and 1996.  Since 1876, Turin has been the finishing town for Milan-Turin, the oldest cycling race still organised, which in recent years has seen such diverse profiles as Alberto Contador, Rigoberto Uran, Thibaut Pinot, Primoz Roglic and Mark Cavendish or Arnaud Démare raise their arms. Its last winner was Dutch sprinter Arvin De Kleijn. The Giro has stopped here almost 50 times, the last stage winner being Simon Yates in 2022. Many Turin-born riders have shone in the Tour de France, starting with Nino Defillipis, alias "the Cid", who won seven stages between 1956 and 1960. One of the best riders in the Bianchi team, on the first stage in Turin he became one of the few riders to have won in his home town, finishing that edition in fifth place overall. Franco Balmanion also won the Giro twice in 1962 and 1963 and was Italian champion in 1967. That year he finished third in the Tour de France, his best result in five participations. Another two-time winner of the Giro d'Italia, in 1938 and 1939, Giovanni Valetti, a native of Vinovo in the Turin urban area, only took part in the Tour de France once, in 1937 (he retired after the 2nd stage). In the 1939 Giro, he dominated Gino Bartali after having been his runner-up in 1937. Francesco Camusso, who also won the Giro in 1931, won three stages in the Tour de France in 1932 (3rd overall), 1935 and 1937. More recently, Giovanni Visconti was three times Italian road champion in 2007, 2010 and 2011 and has only competed once in the Tour de France, in 2014. Finally, it was in Turin that Serse Coppi, Fausto's brother, died in 1951 after a crash during the Tour of Piedmont.  


  • Royal Palace of Turin

Construction: from 1584

Style: Baroque and Neoclassical.

History: in 1562, Turin became the capital of the States of Savoy, replacing Chambéry. Duke Emmanuel-Philibert installed the court in the palace of the archbishops of Turin, which he transformed into a ducal palace. Then in 1584, Duke Charles-Emmanuel I ordered the construction of a new building based on plans by architect Ascanio Vittozzi. The siege of the city in 1640 caused extensive damage to the building, prompting Duchess Christine of France, Regent of the States of Savoy, to commission architects Carlo and Amedeo di Castellamonte to continue the work. '

Features: during the 17th century, the great royal gallery was decorated with frescoes by Daniel Seiter. The ground floor flats, known as Madame Félicité, were decorated by painter Bartolomeo Guidobono. At the same time, André Le Nôtre designed and commissioned the palace gardens. In the 18th century, architect Filippo Juvarra commissioned the "Scissors Staircase" and the Chinese cabinet. Benedetto Alfieri hired Francesco de Mura and Gregorio Guglielmi to paint the frescoes.

Listed as: UNESCO World Heritage Site as the residence of the Royal Family of Savoy, Royal Museums of Turin. Italian cultural asset.  

  • Royal Library of Turin

Founded: 1839.

History: the Royal Library of Turin was founded by Prince Charles-Albert of Sardinia. By 1840, the library had grown to 30,000 volumes, all of considerable value. The increase in the number of works necessitated the opening of a wing of the building by architect Pelagio Palagi to house the Royal Library. It acquired Leonardo da Vinci's famous manuscript, the Codex on the Flight of Birds, known as the Turin Codex. After the Second World War and the advent of the Republic, a conflict broke out between the Italian State and the House of Savoy over the status of the Royal Library, which did not end until 1973. 

Features: the library contains around 200,000 printed volumes, 4,500 manuscripts, 3,055 drawings, 187 incunabula, 5,019 cinquecentina, 20,987 fold-outs, 1,500 scrolls, 1,112 periodicals, 400 photo albums and numerous engravings and maps. Among the masterpieces conserved in the Royal Library is Leonardo da Vinci's Self-Portrait, sold to King Charles Albert by collector Giovanni Volpato in 1839 and stored in a room in the basement of the library, as well as Leonardo da Vinci's famous Turin Codex. It also includes da Vinci's study of the angels in Andrea del Verrocchio's Baptism of Christ, the painting of which is on display in Florence. The collection also includes the engineering notebook of Francesco di Giorgio Martini. The collection of master drawings and paintings includes masterpieces by Hans Burgkmair, Albrecht Dürer, Nicolaus Knüpfer, Antoine van Dyck, Raphael and Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich. The library also holds works by engraver Giovanni Volpato.

Listed as: Unesco World Heritage Site as the residences of the residences of the royal family of Savoy, Royal Museums of Turin. Italian cultural asset.  

  • Palazzo Madama

Construction: 14th to 18th centuries.

Style: medieval and baroque.

History: at the beginning of the 1st century BC, the site was occupied by a gate within the Roman walls, from which the decumanus maximus of Augusta Taurinorum (later Turin) was built. Two of the towers, although reconstructed, bear witness to this original building. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the gateway was used as a bastion to defend the city. The site became a possession of the Savoy-Acaja family, a secondary branch of the House of Savoy, who enlarged it into a castle in the 14th century. After the disappearance of the Acaja lineage in 1418, the castle became the residence of guests of the Savoys. In 1637, the regent of Duke Charles-Emmanuel II, Christine of France, chose it as her personal residence. She commissioned the roofing of the courtyard and improvements to the interior flats. Sixty years later, another regent, Marie-Jeanne-Baptiste of Savoy, lived in the palace, giving it the nickname "Madame" for good. She commissioned architect Filippo Juvarra to build a Baroque palace in white stone, but the work was limited to the façade, built between 1718 and 1721 on top of the medieval building.

Current destination: since 1934, it has housed the city's antiquities museum, the Museo Civico d'Arte Antica, which includes pieces from Pakistan.

Listed as: UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Residences of the Royal Family of Savoy and the Royal Museums of Turin. Italian cultural asset.  

  • Palazzo Carignano

Built: 1679

Style: Baroque.

History: Designed by Camillo-Guarino Guarini, Palazzo Carignano is considered one of Turin's most beautiful buildings. It has a curvilinear façade surmounted by a rotunda and dedicated to the exploits of the Carignan-Salières regiment. It was built in 1679 for the Princes of Carignano, who were affiliated to the House of Savoy. It was the birthplace in 1820 of Victor-Emmanuel II, who became the first King of Italy. It housed the sittings of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Kingdom of Sardinia between 1848 and 1861 and of the Italian Parliament between 1861 and 1865.

Today: it houses the Risorgimento Museum, which includes a reconstruction of the Count of Cavour's study.

Listed as: UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Residences of the Royal Family of Savoy and the Royal Museums of Turin. Italian cultural asset.  

  • Shroud of Turin

Characteristics:The Shroud of Turin is a yellowed linen sheet 4.42 metres long and 1.13 metres wide showing a blurred image (front and back) of a man showing signs of wounds consistent with crucifixion. The representation depicting certain details of the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth described in the canonical Gospels is the object of popular piety and is considered by the Catholic Church to be an icon. Some believers venerate it as an insignificant relic, the "Holy Shroud".

History: the first undisputed references to this cloth come from the collegiate church of Lirey, in Champagne, in the second half of the 14th century. Ostensions of the object to the faithful were banned by the bishops of Troyes, who claimed to have discovered the forger responsible for the deception. In 1390, Pope Clement VII issued a bull authorising the parade of the cloth but forbade "the solemnities customary when a relic is displayed" and demanded that the crowd be warned that the object was not being displayed as a relic, but as a "figure or representation of the Shroud of Christ". After various peregrinations, in 1453 the object became the property of the Duke of Savoy Louis I. From the second half of the 15th century, it was venerated as a relic of the Passion. Since 1578, it has been kept in the Guarini chapel.

Authenticity: in 1988, carbon-14 dating led to a consensus that the shroud was of medieval origin (13th-14th century), and therefore could not be considered an authentic relic. As soon as they were published, these results were accepted by Pope John Paul II and the Bishop of Turin. In 1998, Pope John Paul II described the shroud as a "provocation to the intellect" and invited scientists to continue their research. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church, which has owned the shroud since 1983, has never officially declared its authenticity.)  

  • Piazza San Carlo

Piazza San Carlo is one of Turin's main squares. It measures 168 × 76 metres. Often referred to by the people of Turin as "the living room of the city", it is located on the Via Roma. It was opened in 1638 to designs by Count Carlo di Castellamonte. Historically, it was known as Piazza Reale, Piazza d'Armi or Piazza Napoleon. Its current name, Saint Charles, is a tribute to Carlo Borromeo. The Santa Cristina and San Carlo churches are located in the square, as is an equestrian statue of Emmanuel-Philibert of Savoy known in Piedmontese as Caval ëd Brons (the bronze horse). The square is surrounded by a number of historic palaces and is considered one of the city's main tourist attractions.  

  • Mole Antonelliana

Built: 1863.

Style: neo-classical.

History: in 1848, the Jewish community of Turin obtained its civil rights and decided to build a monumental temple with a school. In 1863, the project was entrusted to architect Alessandro Antonelli (1798-1888). The planned building was 47-metres high, but work was suspended in 1869. In 1877, the city of Turin bought the Mole, relaunched the project and installed the Risorgimento Museum there. From 1878 until his death in 1888, Antonelli resumed work on the Mole, increasing its height to 163.35 metres, making it the tallest masonry structure in Europe. A spire was added in 1904, raising the height to 167 m. In 1953, a tornado caused almost 47 metres of the spire to collapse. The spectacular restoration carried out by architect François Confino included a renovation of the lift, making the ascent in 59 seconds.

Features: It is a 167.5-metre-high domed masonry structure, construction of which began in 1863. It is one of the tallest masonry buildings in Europe, and has become a symbol of the city. Located in via Montebello, in the heart of the city, it owes its name to the architect who designed it, Alessandro Antonelli.

Current use: originally intended as a place of worship for Turin's Jewish community, it has been the home of the National Cinema Museum since July 2000, after having housed the Risorgimento Museum when it was founded in 1908.

Trivia: The Mole Antonelliana is depicted on the reverse of the Italian 2 euro cent coin. The Mole inspired the official logo of the 2006 Turin Olympic Games, on which it appears in a stylised form.

Listed as: Italian cultural asset.  

  • Teatro Regio

Construction: opened in 1740, rebuilt in 1966.

Style: modern.

History: the decision to build an opera house was taken in 1713, when the Treaty of Utrecht added the Kingdom of Sardinia to Savoy under Victor-Amadeus II. It was not until 1738, under his successor Charles-Emmanuel III, that work began on the opera house. Designed by Filippo Juvarra, the theatre was built by Benedetto Alfieri. Born forty years before La Scala, the Regio boasts hundreds of premieres, including Manon Lescaut, Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème and Richard Strauss's Salome. The theatre could seat 2,500 spectators and its auditorium was considered the grandest in Europe. On the night of 8-9 February 1936, the Teatrio Regio's auditorium and stage were completely destroyed by fire. Then the bombings of 1942 and 1943 demolished what remained. It wasn't until 1966 that architect Carlo Molino and engineer Marcello Zavelani-Rossi were hired to rebuild the theatre. The new Teatro Regio blends harmoniously into the architectural context of the old square. It was officially inaugurated on 10 April 1973 with a performance of Giuseppe Verdi's I Vespri siciliani.

Features: Turin's Teatro Regio (Royal Theatre) is one of Italy's most prestigious opera houses. It seats 1,500 and is located in Turin's main Castello square.

Listed as: Italian cultural asset.


  • Gianduja

Gianduja is a paste of chocolate and finely ground hazelnuts, to which other nuts (almonds or, more rarely, walnuts) may also be added, along with icing sugar and fat (cocoa butter, pastry butter or crème fraîche). A successful gianduia is characterised by its creaminess. One hypothesis is that the name derives from a character in the commedia dell'arte nicknamed "Gioan d'la douja" (John of the pint), or "Gianduja". This character was to become one of the symbols of Turin. This Piedmontese symbol eventually gave its name to the chocolate known as gianduiotto (chocolate filled with gianduia), which had previously been known by various names. It is said that the confectioners of Turin got into the habit of adding hazelnuts to chocolate during the continental blockade ordered by Napoleon against English imports, which made it even more difficult and expensive to obtain cocoa.  


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