Happy to say that my most recent day trip was a pleasant surprise!
Before I started living in Italy, I had no idea why anyone would take the time to visit Torino when there’s cities like Rome and Venice and Florence. But that’s why studying abroad is so great – you have the chance to visit some of the underrated places in your host country and find some hidden gems!
Turns out Turino (aka Turin) is actually a really cool and important city. It was Italy’s first capital city, is an important business center (another one of the major industrial cities of Northern Italy and considered the automobile capital of Italy), and the host of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. Huge shoutout to my wonderful travel partner Tia for doing all of the research and planning for the day!
First stop was the Castello del Valentino, a palace that used to belong to the House of Savoy (the Italian royal family). The palace is on a beautiful stretch of the Po River, with a cute little botanical garden and park.
Next was a climb up to the Monte dei Cappuccini, where there’s a convent called Santa Maria al Monte, the National Museum of the Mountain, and a beautiful view of Turino. If you’re curious, the spire thing (the only building not that’s not the same height) is the Mole Antonelliana, which was once a synagogue but is now the Museo Nazionale del Cinema.
This was followed by a trip to the Museo Egizio (Egypt Museum), which has the second largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in the world (only Cairo has more!). The museum was undergoing a renovation, but we were still able to get into the statue exhibit. The statues are in incredible condition considering that they’re over 3,000 years old! Definitely makes me want to go to Egypt someday.
We then walked to the Santuario della Consolata. Even though it’s small in size, the basilica has a beautiful interior, has a rich history, and is a major pilgrimage site. You’ll notice in one of my pictures (center) that there’s an image of the Shroud of Turin on display there – just to be clear the actual Shroud of Turin is kept at a different church, at the Chapel of the Holy Shroud at the Cathedral di San Giovanni Battista (Turin Cathedral). It’s very rare for the Shroud of Turin to be displayed to the public, so unfortunately we didn’t have a chance to see it.
That concluded all of the touristy things we wanted to do in Torino. With the remaining time before our train back to Milan, we just wandered around and explored the city. We also made a quick stop at Eataly for some gelato, because you’re not doing site-seeing in Italy right if you’re not eating gelato. Also, big news! At the train station I finally had my first vending machine cappuccino! These machines are genius, I tell you. Absolutely brilliant.
Torino was a great place for a relaxed day trip, way more low-key than the last few places we’ve visited. It wasn’t overwhelming, wasn’t overly touristy, and was surprisingly clean thanks to projects undertaken for the Olympics (literally the cleanest Metra I’ve ever seen). So glad I got to learn about and experience this seriously underrated Italian city!