Torino: an insiders guide to the city

23 December 2021
Written by The Italy Insider
Insider's Guide

Torino is a city similar to a box of wonders, it is filled with many curiosities that not many people know about for example, besides being the regional capital of Piedmont, in the nineteenth century it was actually the capital of Italy for three years. It is also the Italian capital of publishing (containing over 50% of publishing houses and universities in Italy) and in 1896 the first ever movie in Italy was shown in the city. It is the home of Fiat and the face of the first saleable hard chocolate. Furthermore, the city is the capital of the architectural style of Liberty since the 1900s, and there are many examples of this refined style from the interiors of the Palazzi to their exterior facades. The city is also renowned for its large, elegant squares, tree lined narrow streets and art-nouveau cafés that line the pavement. So what are the ‘must-sees’ and ‘must-dos’ of Turin?

Streets in Torino
Palazzo Madama Torino
Palazzo Madama Torino. ph. David Salamanca

what to see

Museo Casa Mollino

In this apartment situated in a late 19th century villa, in via Napione, Mollino kept furniture, chairs, tables, armchairs, chaise-longues, sculptures, photos and objects created by the renowned Turin designer himself. In fact, in his hometown, Carlo Mollino furnished numerous private homes including this house, which today bears his name. Located a few steps from the central Piazza Vittorio Veneto, the Mollino house-museum is a place curated by the artist himself, seen as a small treasure chest that contains the memories of his most beautiful creations and the objects most dear to him. It is recommended to book your ticket in advance, at a cost of €30 for a guided visit. WEBSITE

Palazzo Madama

Palazzo Madama is a historical architectural complex located in the centre of Piazza Castello and this prime example of baroque architecture was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Historically it dates back to the Roman times and it was also the first Senate of the Kingdom of Italy. Today, the Palazzo houses the Museo Civico d’Arte Antica, showcasing works that span from the Middle Ages and Renaissance to the art of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and decorative arts including ceramics, ivories, jewellery, fabrics, glasswork from the region and neighbouring areas. The most memorable floor is the first, that contains majestic baroque rooms with refined antiques and fascinating frescoes. Tickets cost €10. WEBSITE

Museo Egizio

The Museo Egizio is the oldest museum in the world dedicated to Egyptian archeology and anthropology. It contains a vast amount of items and collections (over 300.00 artefacts) covering a period from the Paleolithic to the Coptic era. Inside the museum you’ll find some interesting artefacts including a 1847m long papyrus and 24 human mummies. It’s open from Tuesday-Sunday from 9AM to 6PM and on Mondays from 9AM to 2PM. WEBSITE

Museo Casa Mollino Torino. ph via LTWID

Palazzo Reale

The Palazzo Reale is a historic palace of the House of Savoy in Turin and certainly a remarkable place to visit in the city. Situated in the heart of the centre, the palace stands with its elegant, refined baroque facade. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997, The Royal Palace of Turin was an ancient and prestigious center of power of the Savoy family for three centuries and today this majestic palace displays numerous works of art dating between the 17th and 19th centuries, representing one the most important sites of artistic and cultural interest in the city of Turin. Booking your ticket in advance is highly recommended (open from Tuesday-Sunday). WEBSITE


Villa della Regina is a seventeenth century villa located on the hills of Turin, built for Maurizio di Savoia. The Villa was initially intentionally built as a country residence with adjoining vineyards and today it’s open to showcase the preciously decored royal residence . Inside, there are frescoes and paintings by Giovanni Battista Crosato, Daniel Seiter and Corrado Giaquinto while the stuccos are the work of Pietro Somazzi. There are also many important antiques in lacquered wood and gilded whereas behind the building you can visit the vast garden spread out on 3 levels divided by rows of box hedges. An off-the-radar complex worth visiting when spending time in the city. WEBSITE

Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea

Located just outside the centre of Turin in Rivoli, this location is ideal for a day trip filled with art and culture. This Savoyard palace has a metaphysical aspect, because it was left unfinished one by the baroque master Filippo Juvarra. The building is worth a visit in itself, but its noble floor and sumptuous halls house one of the most important collections of contemporary art in Italy. And the end of the visit, grab a bite at the bistro and relax in the café overlooking the garden. WEBSITE

Spazio Musa

A space with an ancient soul that embraces contemporary art and its colours. It is a club, a small factory, a community where people meet in an atmosphere that combines classic and contemporary. A cocktail bar, with quality mixology and music, has recently become part of it, and soon, in 2023, there will also be a restaurant. WEBSITE

Fondazione Re Rebaudengo

Dive into contemporary Italian and foreign art at the Fondazione Re Rebaudengo , founded by Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, a queen in the Italian art scene. WEBSITE

what to do

Buy fresh fruit and vegetables from Porta Palazzo Market

Located in one of the most renowned areas of the city, the Porta Palazzo Market is filled with colour, folklore and fresh produce available to purchase. From seasonal vegetable and fruits to cured meats, eggs, olives and more. Our suggestion? make your aperitif with a few cheese slices, hams and olives and enjoy with a bottle of wine.

Grab an Ice Cream from Gelato Pepino

Domenico Pepino, originally from Naples and born into a family of ice-cream makers, moved to Turin in 1884 bringing all the tools, moulds and materials for producing and packaging cold pastry specialties such as cassata, truffles and fruit filled ice-cream. He opened up his ice cream parlour and after meticulous research and experimentation, in 1939, he marketed the first gelato in the world to be served on a stick covered by chocolate. So if you take a trip to Torino, this place is a ‘must’. WEBSITE

take a tour of Gallerie d’Italia

Gallerie d’Italia is a brand new visual arts museum that houses in the historic Caffè San Carlo the gastronomic restaurant of the Costardi brothers, famous for their risottos and other gastronomic delicacies. WEBSITE

Porta Palazzo Market

Stroll through the park

Did you know that Turin is the greenest city in Italy and is also among the top 15 in the world? There are about 400 beautiful parks. One to visit is the Ginzburg Gardens, perfect for a picnic or simply reading a book. Parco del Valentino extends for 42.10 hectares, providing completely green areas, spots from which to admire the Po, small lakes and above all, the Valentino Castle. Perfect for picnics but also equipped with many kiosks. Less than 15 minutes by car from the center, Parco San Vito will give you a breath that makes you feel as if you are on top of the world. View of the hill with the buildings of the city behind it, something truly incomparable. Less than 10 minutes by car from the center, the park of Villa Genero is something you cannot miss when visiting Turin. The view over the city with the Mole Antonelliana in the foreground is something that will take your breath away at any time of day. Finally, Parco dei Ciliegi, also known as Parco del Nobile, is an infinite expanse of green that will make you feel as if you are in the middle of the mountains, even if you are a 5-minute drive from the Crimea area, one of the most beautiful in the city. Perfect for picnics, aperitifs with friends, to play sports and also for a study group thanks to the presence of the wooden tables

where to EAT

Haute Cuisine

Del Cambio

Plin, tajarin, braised meat and bonet are going to be impossible to avoid on an expedition in Torino, whether you eat at a trattoria or fine dining restaurant. In the Del Cambio restaurant, Chef Matteo Baronetto with one Michelin star and experience alongside Carlo Cracco offers a blend of tradition and innovation. The interior is classic, with velvets, stuccos gilding and the Count of Cavour’s favourite table that always remains untouched – designed by Martino Gamper. The restaurant is always full, lunch and dinner, and so is the bar above for an aperitif with live jazz and DJs on Sundays, and the former pharmacy next door, an all day dining with an extraordinary proposal of dessert. WEBSITE

Piano 35

This is one of the ‘must’ paces to try in Turin, located on the 35th floor of the Intesa San Paolo tower. The space is naturally light with a sweeping, 360 degree view of the city. This space is a bioclimatic greenhouse where all the energy, heat, air and water is provided in a natural manner. Furthermore, Piano 35 is a restaurant and lounge bar open for lunch, aperitivo, dinner and evening cocktails set over two floors of this peaceful ‘zen’ garden (and at an altitude of 150m above ground). The restaurant, headed by Marco Sacco, has one Michelin star, and the evening menu consists of a 4 course or 7 course tasting with the option of additional wine pairing. Chef marco Sacco’s cuisine plays a lot with his roots, offering local dishes from Torino, regional dishes from Piedmont or Italian classics. Heads up: because the best way to begin your meal is with the aperitivo: a glass of Philipponnat Champagne paired with Siberian Volzhenka Caviar, rye bread and whipped butter. WEBSITE


A restaurant with one Michelin star and just one table and a menu signed by Christian Mandura, the Redzepi of Italy. Vegetarian cuisine stems from the need to reduce food costs, which the chef makes up for with great imagination. WEBSITE

Ristorante Del Cambio – Sala Risorgimento

Fine Dining


Located in the Borgo Dora area, an effervescent historical district. This brand new project by Turin personality Chicca Vancini features Uno Sugiyama, a chef of Japanese home cooking who offers Washoku, the art of traditional Japanese cuisine. The proposal of this niche restaurant is a gastronomic journey between two cultures. WEBSITE

Ristorante Spazio 7

The restaurant of the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation, a center for avant-garde art and exhibitions. Emilio Re Rebaudengo in command and Alessandro Mecca in the kitchen are the best culinary couple that can be found in the city: solid foundations, creativity, excellent raw materials, moderate cost (about € 50) compared to the overall quality of the experience. WEBSITE


Cannavacciuolo bistrot

The Bistrot di Cannavacciuolo, where passersby ask for permission to photograph the sign of the most famous masterchef in Italy. Rather, take away the whim of a good dinner at least to taste that “Vitello Tonnato” that overturns tradition, with a veal stock reduction, bottarga mayonnaise, and caper powder and a glass of their natural champagne and Italian sparkling wines. WEBSITE


This is the spot you come for a warm, cosy, home-cooked meal. Petronilla opened just over one year ago by Chef Daniela Petrone, a woman whose strength lies in the ability to create such a welcoming, familiar atmosphere combined with a cuisine that tastes just like ‘home’. Petronilla is a female powerhouse, and the kind energy radiates from every employee who is always attentive and ready to help out. As for the cuisine, Daniela pays a lot of attention to natural and seasonal ingredients, in fact, the menu changes on a daily basis. What you’ll always find on the menu is the two ‘signatures’: Pocha, a sort of open sandwich made with home made, wholegrain bread and Dorata, similar to an arancino. In the summer months, the courtyard becomes an enchanted garden with scattered tables to allow guests their intimacy among the flower bushes and fruit trees and in winter, you can request a table in the heated greenhouse and if you’re still cold?you can ask Daniela for a hot water bottle. WEBSITE

Where to eat in Turin
Cuisine at Ailimē
Where to eat in Turin
A dish at Spazio 7. Ph. Lido Vannucchi


Farmacia del Cambio

The famous Crubik

Farmacia Del Cambio, part of the Maison Del Cambio is renowned for its delicious pastries and truffle chocolates. The creations of Farmacia Del Cambio rotate according to the seasons and creativity of the Chef however its signatures always remain timeless; from the Gianduiotto, a gluten-free regional specialty made with hazelnuts and milk chocolate topped with gianduia mousse to the Bonet, But the true masterpiece is Crubik, the first square shaped croissant filled with crema or chocolate enveloped in a crunchy outside crust. Every single product from the patisserie to the chocolates prove to have meticulous attention to detailing, from the careful balance of the ingredients to the added ornaments and decorations. A little gateau paired with a hot chocolate is the ultimate, winter, afternoon treat. WEBSITE

Caffè Confetteria Al Bicerin

Open since 1793, the Bicerin was Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour’s favorite coffee. His specialty is obviously the famous bicerin, a typical Turininese hot drink made with coffee, chocolate and milk cream, of which the restaurant (jealously) holds the original recipe. WEBSITE

Caffè Mulassano

Located near Piazza Castello, the Caffè Mulassano opened in 1907 and it was where the Turin nobility and the artists of the Teatro Regio used to meet, Among the splendid mirrors, marble tables and the many decorations you can enjoy a sandwich, the specialty of the place where this dish was born, among other things. WEBSITE

Cioccolateria Peyrano

Cioccolateria Peyrano is a historic name that has lived a rebirth with a new young owner, Alessandro Pradelli, from Boston. Here, the typical handmade gianduiotti are offered as exquisite ingots. WEBSITE


 Luogo Divino

Table spread at luogo divino. Ph. Mauro Bellucci – WAM LAB

A brand new vibrant space dedicated to excellent wine and cuisine. With over 500 national and international wine labels, this is a perfect aperitif spot (or should we say apericena) where you can combine exquisite dishes to your selected bottle. WEBSITE

Banco Vini e Alimenti

Quiet your languor at the Banco Vini e Alimenti, a historic venue where the offering is very simple: wine, in all shapes and colours, accompanied by high quality ‘spilucchi’. The place has been designed by architect Ole Sondresen, who has made it a warm and very intimate place. WEBSITE



Irreplaceable is a Turin-based knitwear brand founded by Elisa Giordano, which has its headquarters open to the public at Corso Fiume 10, where she sells her collection of cardigans, chokers and turtlenecks in fine, natural fabrics. WEBSITE

Boutique La Belle Histoire

As you enter the boutique, search for Serienumerica clothes. They are signed by designers Maria De Ambrogio and Stella Tosco, who work with Italian artisans. Their traditional methods subvert classical rules to mould raw materials of the highest quality, resulting in clothes that are contemporary works of art. WEBSITE

Where to sleep

Grand Hotel Sitea

This hotel is perhaps one of the oldest hotels in the city dating back to the 1900s, and its historical importance has been preserved throughout its years; one wouldn’t call this hotel contemporary as such, although its services and amenities are completely up to date. The WI-FI works wonderfully, the rooms are a mixture of classic and contemporary, and the breakfast is exceptionally varied: dried fruits and nuts, home made cakes and croissants (even vegan!), gluten-free and lactose free options, and an array of cured meats and cheese selection. Its location is a strongsuit as the Grand Hotel is situated in the heart of the city centre on Via Carlo Alberto but one of the best features about the hotel is the sense of comfort and ease that you feel: this is due to the fact that its a family run hotel, and therefore this sense of warmth and hospitality really shines through. Make sure you book a dinner at the in-house Michelin starred Ristorante Carignano, where chef Davide Scabin, one of Italy’s most creative and unpredictable chefs, returns to the cooker with creative dishes that start from Piedmontese cuisine and open up to disparate paths and routes. WEBSITE


The Royal Palace Luxury Suites is the sister property of the Grand Hotel Sitea and opened its doors this year in the eighteenth century Palazzo Luserna that used to house Turin’s Mayor. This 6 roomed noble building has been renovated in a simple manner enriched through the decor from the frescoed and stuccoed ceilings to the antique furniture. The walls are pastel coloured and the mirrors are distressed, however, similarly to its sister hotel, there is a contemporary mix in the works: the bathroom in the Royal Suite is an ample white marble room and in the lounge you will find a portable cell that acts as a hotspot, a map, a travel guide and a mobile that you can take around with you. Furthermore, guests have access to the private wellness room (sauna, Turkish bath and emotional shower) for a small fee – this room is incredibly tech savvy with chromotherapy lighting, music that connects to your phones and the ability to regulate the temperature of the sauna. With regards to the cuisine, you can order room service (breakfast, lunch and dinner) from the Carlo e Camilla bistrot of the Grand Hotel Sitea or, enjoy your breakfast in the hotel itself. WEBSITE

NH Carlina

A very beautiful building, with elegant rooms featuring site-specific art pieces. Its modern-style bar is now a city landmark for aperitifs and, on the ground floor, it houses the Parrot & Palm concept store. WEBSITE

Casa pingone

Casa Pingone, one of the most significant buildings in the city’s history, located at the crossroads of Via Porta Palatina and Via della Basilica. It is a structure that belongs to a medieval Turin unknown to most and largely erased by the urban interventions that took place between the 18th and 19th centuries. It has recently reopened after a major renovation, becoming a bistro open from morning to night, but also a business workspace with meeting rooms and a relais with 6 wonderful suites. WEBSITE

Piazza San Carlo Torino
Piazza San Carlo Torino. ph. David Salamanca

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