An insider’s guide to the best things to do in Turin, Italy

Glorious collonades, Egyptian artifacts, a floating elevator, and the city's best pizza

romantic city torino italy

Here’s your guide to things to do in Turin, Italy in one day, including the best pizza and gelato as recommended by our local friends! It includes a totally FREE self-guided walking tour map, too.

Face it, you don’t want to miss:

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Though it’s not a huge city like Rome or a capital of fashion like Milan, Turin (also known as Torino) is a charming destination that has much more to offer than its (in)famous shroud. As one of our favourite Italian cities, we think you should give Turin more than a single day!

Sure, Torino is most famous for a ratty piece of off-white fabric but when you visit, we recommend you skip the Shroud and spend your time on less touristy things to do in Turin, Italy.

Your time can be better spent wandering Turin’s glorious colonnades, enjoying the world’s best collection of Egyptian artifacts, riding in a floating elevator, and getting neck cramps from viewing all of the stunning buildings. Of course, this is Italy, so I promise, we’ll also stop for the best gelato and the best pizza in Torino.

Of course, if you believe that The Shroud of Turin is the bonafide image of Leonardo Da Vinci and you’re a big Da Vinci fan, you’ll want to stop in there too. (Cause no one actually thinks it Jesus, do they? Spoiler alert: it’s not!)

OK, now that we’ve offended half of our readers and the Torino Tourism Board, back to our guide to your Milan to Turin day trip.

(If you think that’s offensive, you should read about the day we had a close encounter with The Pope)

Coming from Milan, Nice or Cinque Terre, a day trip to Turin, Italy makes for a fabulous day out, but I love it so much, I think you should make it your home base in Northern Italy, and take your Milan, Nice, and Cinque Terre day trips from Torino!

Our Torino walking tour map is available online or as a download.

Our Torino walking tour map is available online or as a download.

Morning on the Turin Walk of Fame

It’s just 50 minutes from Milan to Turin by train so get up early, and make like an Italian as you grab an espresso and pastry at the train station bar in Milano before hopping on the train to Torino.

By starting early you can be walking from the Vittorio Emanuele I monument at the end of Via Po, through the expanse of Piazza Vittorio Veneto as Turin is still coming to life. On a sunny day, this piazza fills with Italians enjoying an espresso and watching the world wander past.

things to do in turin italy

Vittorio Emanuele I monument.

If you need a little something to energize you for the day, stop in at Pasticerria Ghigho, which is one of Torino’s historic cafés, established in 1870. There, you can try Torino’s signature drink, Bicerin, which is a thick hot chocolate mixed with espresso and topped with whipped cream.

If you’re not a coffee fan, get a classic hot chocolate instead. Just don’t expect it to be like hot chocolate you’ve experienced in other places. In this part of the world, hot chocolate is thick, rich, melted chocolate, often mixed with a tiny bit of water or nothing at all.

(Don’t miss: For another great European city, grab our itinerary and guide for 2 days in Amsterdam)

Having originally been a dairy, Ghigo’s whipped cream is one of their specialities, so get a dollop on the top of your drink.

Vegans should look for Coox Vegan FastRestaurant which is just a stone’s throw from Ghigo. They open early and offer Italian-style vegan breakfast – think sweet pastries and cookies with espresso drinks. They’re also open for lunch and dinner. We haven’t eaten there yet but will update if we get the chance.

(Don’t miss: Turin is on our list of the most romantic cities in Europe. Check out the full list!)

From Piazza Vittorio Veneto, head up Via Po and along the colonnade that runs up both sides of the street.

Walking through the arches of the colonnade is like stepping back in time, or walking onto the set of La Dolce Vita (which you would have to step back in time to do, I suppose).

The seemingly endless colonnade is lined with cafés, restaurants, gelaterias, tourist shops and booksellers. Locals come here too, so the restaurants and cafés serve much better than the average tourist fare.

things to do in turin italy

The colonnade, Via Po.

About half-way up Via Po, you are steps away from the Mole Antonelliana (a great spire rising above the city), which sits on top of the Museo Nazionale del Cinema (the national cinema museum – see, Italian is easy). Once upon a time, the Mole Antonelliana in Turin was the tallest brick structure in the world.

day trip to torino italy

The Mole in Torino Italy.

The designers of Torino’s Cinema Museum did an impressive job of melding new technologies with the original structure. Don’t miss a trip in the floating elevator (I’ve never seen anything like it) up to the top of the dome for a spectacular view of the city and the Alps rising in the near distance. The view is also spectacular at night.

If this video doesn’t terrify you, I highly recommend the ride as one of the best places to visit in Turin.

There is a small branch of Eataly, the trendy restaurant and food store which focusses on high-quality Italian foods, on the bottom floor of the museum. You can grab a plate of pasta and other typical Italian delights here or pick up dried pasta, olive oil, salt, preserves, and the gourmet version of Nutella, which comes from Torino.

To go to Eataly or the elevator, just walk past the line for the tickets to the museum (you will feel like you’re getting away with something) and head straight inside.

things to do in turin italy in one day

Prototype Stormtrooper helmet, Cinema Museum, Turin.

You could easily spend 6 hours in the Museo Nazionale del Cinema, but there’s much more to see in Torino (and you don’t want “museum leg”) so get yourself out of there by lunchtime.

(Related: If you’re heading to Lake Como, here’s everything you need to know before you go)

Lunch at Piadineria Romagnola in Torino Italy

From the Cinema Museum, cross the pedestrian street and stop in at Piadineria Romagnola, where they make sandwich wraps and have a vast selection of vegetarian options. I am sure you could search out a more traditional salameria, but Piadineria Romagnola is convenient, fresh, and inexpensive.

Want to do a guided tour of Turin? Here are some ideas:

The restaurant is simple, like all good Italian lunch spots, and lunch will cost you about €6. There are tables and chairs outside so while you eat, you can watch all the students being corralled by their teachers as they herd them into, and out of, the Cinema Museum.

Afternoon of Walking like an Egyptian in Torino Italy

During the last two centuries, two historians from Torino brought home a vast collection of artefacts from Egypt. These artefacts are now on display at the Egyptian Museum (aka Museo Egizio) and make up the most extensive Egyptian collection outside of Cairo.

The collection here is more impressive than anything we saw when we were actually in Egypt.

things to do in turin italy

Sphinx, roughly 4,000 years old.

Mubarak (the former President of Egypt) spent next to no money on the Egyptian museum in Cairo and when we were there in 2006 it looked like it hadn’t been updated (or dusted) in 30 years. Plus, all the signs were in Arabic only, so we had no idea what we were looking at. Parts of the museum were ransacked during the Arab Spring uprising, so I can only imagine the state of it now.

Usually, I would say that the archeologists who took these treasures from Egypt are dastardly thieves and that everything should be returned, but the Torino collection does an excellent job of detailing some of the reasons behind taking these artefacts out of Egypt.

things to do in turin italy

The details on this obelisk-top is spectacular.

The museum also talks about the huge trade in Egyptian artefacts that existed in Europe at the time, and the Italians used this market as a way to collect and preserve greater numbers of pieces.

Don’t spend all your time on the top floors. They really do save the best for the last and the final room is filled with incredible granite and other stone carved statues. Some as tall as 30+ feet!

Pre-Dinner Gelato Break

There are several grand buildings near the Egyptian Museum, so it is worth a slow meander through the streets when you leave. The National University Library and the National Museum of the Risorgimento face each other, with the Piazza Carlo Alberto in between.

things to do in turin italy

Statue of Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour.

Within just a few blocks you can find the old castle in the middle of Piazza Castello, go to the Apple store on Via Roma for free WiFi access, and then wander out into the open space of Piazza San Carlo.

Milan to Turin Day Trip

Palazzo Carignano on Piazza Carlo Alberto.

If you’re hungry again (and after all that walking you just might be) pop into Focaccerie Gran Torino on Via Lagrange, about 200m from the Egyptian Museum, for a slice of traditional northern Italian pizza. As in most northern pizza joints, there are a few vegan options and lots of different slices to choose from. A slice will set you back about €2, and will ensure you have enough energy to get to the gelateria. Your Milan to Turin day trip really isn’t complete without eating a slice of northern Italian pizza, in my opinion.

After spending so much time in museums, and looking up at the Rococo architecture, you have definitely earned a gelato. Start to make your way back to Via Po, passing the statue to Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, which sits in the midst of a piazza lined with some of the most impressively refined buildings I saw in the entire city.

Look out for this magazine stand that looks like a Cartier-Bresson photo. Unfortunately, my photo isn’t quite up to Cartier-Bresson standards.

Magazine stand, Torino Italy

Magazine stand, Torino Italy

Gelato Fiorio is at the corner of Via Po and Via Giambattista Bogino. Our local friends swear this is the best gelato in town.

The shop seems to be made entirely of pink marble, apart from the ornate light fixtures, and I imagine it looks just like it did when it was first opened decades ago. The waiters even wear white serving jackets, with bow ties.

There is a small window on the Via Giambattista Bogino side of the store where you can walk up for take-away cones or cups.

things to do in turin italy

Francesca says, “Si!” to gelato.

Get the local favourite Gianduia, which is a combination of hazelnut paste and chocolate (like Nutella but 100x better). If you’re not into chocolate, go for the coconut, which is just amazing.

Across Via Po from Gelato Fiorio is the Mathematics Department of the university. If they haven’t closed the gate yet for the evening, pop your head into the courtyard for a view of the Spirit of Geometry statue and the stunning courtyard that houses it, as students rush past, immune to the architectural beauty that surrounds them.

Dine on the Best Pizza in Torino

After all this walking, you may need to head back to your B&B or hotel to put your feet up for a couple of hours, and you might as well.

Check prices and reviews to find the best hotels in Turin, Italy. There are some gorgeous-looking apartments available including Loger Confort Residence & Apartments, Apart Hotel Torino, and Porta Palace Apartments.

Dinner happens late in Italy. When it’s time for pizza, make your way to Pizzeria da Cristina. You’ll need to hop in a taxi, take the city bus, or get a friend to drive you like I did. If you survive the crazy streets of Torino, Cristina’s pizza will be a just reward.

things to do in turin italy

Cristina’s son at Pizzeria da Cristina.

The service is slow, but the owners are friendly, and while the pizza might cost a bit more than at many of the other 300+ pizzerias in town, our foodie friends swear that Cristina’s is the best. Newspaper clippings and photos showing celebrities dining there (including Maradona, which may hint to the secret ingredient in the pizza dough) attest to this.

things to do in turin italy

Cristina on the wall at Cristina’s in Torino.

Cristina is now in her 80s, but she still works there most days (the magic of the Mediterranean diet at work?). Her son now runs the restaurant but, as I discovered, he doesn’t like having his photo taken. Pizzeria da Cristina is open from 7pm until 11:30pm.

If you don’t want pizza (are you crazy?!?), Mezzaluna, a vegan restaurant in Torino, is another great option. It was fully booked the night I tried to go, but I got a first-hand report from our omnivore friend Francesca that it was excellent, so I will have to get there next time I visit.

(Ready to find the best hotels in Turin? Check prices and reviews to book your stay.)

More Travel Awesomeness in Turin, Italy

If you happen to have an extra day in Torino, or you are averse to museums, visit Parco Naturale La Mandria. The park is a wide expanse of green nestled in the foothills of the alps. The property used to be the hunting grounds for the royal family but is now the place to spend a sunny Sunday, cycling, sipping beer, and picnicking.

The views of the mountains and the countryside are outstanding, and if you’re lucky, you might get to see some of the park’s many wild creatures.

Check out the video of the wild creatures we saw during our day at La Mandria.

To get to La Mandria, take the Venaria Express Bus or use Line C of the red City Sightseeing Torino buses.

Getting to Torino Italy

Getting From Nice to Turin

If you don’t have a car, the fastest and cheapest way to get from Nice to Torino is by Flixbus. It costs €9 and takes 3 hours 45 minutes. Eurolines buses also make the journey but cost far more (around €35-45). The Nice to Turin train is longer at 5 hours 25 minutes, can involve a change, and is more expensive, so why bother?

Getting From Milan to Turin

From Milan, Flixbus takes 2 hours and costs €7. Getting from Milan to Turin by train is your better bet for this route. Trains from Milan to Turin usually take 50 minutes and cost just a few Euros more than the bus — anywhere from €10-25 depending when you book and when you travel.

From Genoa to Torino

From Genoa, Flixbus takes just under 2 hours and costs €12. The train takes anywhere from 2 to 3.5 hours and costs in the range of €10-15 depending on the time and date you travel.

From Chamonix to Torino

The spectacular Chamonix to Torino route is best done by Eurolines bus, which takes you through the 11km tunnel under Mont Blanc. It takes 2 hours and 15 minutes and costs around €25-35.

Flixbus doesn’t do this route and the train will take you the long way round and cost at least twice as much, making Eurolines by far the best option.

Book your European train and bus tickets here:

Loco2 Rail Booking

Follow this link to find a walking tour map that you can download and install in your favourite offline map (like the incredible Pocket Earth, which is now FREE).

Though it's not a huge city, like Rome, or the capital of fashion, like Milan, Torino is a charming destination that has much more to offer than its (in)famous shroud.

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  1. Comment by rocio

    rocio August 21, 2017 at 11:42 am

    My place!! So nice post. I grew up in this city, just beautiful!!!

    • Comment by Jane

      Jane August 22, 2017 at 12:31 am

      Wonderful and thanks for the comment. We have really close friends who also grew up in Torino so we feel their love for the city as much as our own.


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