Your Guide to Visiting the Mole Antonelliana Torino & the National Museum of Cinema

Best time to visit, prices, hours, and what to expect when visiting the Mole in Turin

image of the mole tower with text overlay your guide to visiting the mole antonelliana torino

The Mole Antonelliana in Torino is the most recognizable building in the city. But it’s not just a great landmark. It’s also a tourist attraction in its own right, housing the National Museum of Cinema and a dramatic glass elevator. This post covers everything you need to know before visiting.

What’s in our guide to visiting Mole Antonelliana in Torino?

Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris or Big Ben in London, the Mole Antonelliana in Torino, Italy is a symbol, a landmark, a soaring oddity, and a must-see attraction.

torino 2006 olympics logo
The Mole Antonelliana is so important to Torino that it became their Olympics logo.

If you had to capture Turin on a t-shirt, the Mole would be front and centre — in fact, you might not need anything else. The 2006 Turin Olympics used a stylized Mole Antonelliana as the symbol of their games.

For tourists, the Mole in Turin is not just a pretty sight, but also a helpful landmark. If ever you’re lost in Turin, just look up and follow the Mole back to the city centre. It can be seen from all over town.

The tower was built in the late 1800s, and was originally destined to become a synagogue. Its fate changed dramatically, before it was even completed, when the city bought it and decided it would become a national monument to unity instead.

The Mole Antonelliana has served its purpose admirably throughout the years since it first opened.

It has become a gathering place for Italian students, local tourists, and foreigner visitors alike. Squeezing into the tiny elevator that shoots you to the top of the tower, 500 feet in the air, unity is practically enforced, at least for the 60 seconds it takes to ride to the top.

If you plan on exploring Torino’s most important landmark, read on for…

Your Guide to Visiting the Mole Antonelliana Torino & The National Museum of Cinema

Also don’t miss these posts:

Your complete Turin city guide
Day trip to Sacra di San Michele
Venice city guide for an amazing trip →

How La Mole Antonelliana Began

mole antonelliana in turin
Near the top of the Mole tower, you can see the square observation deck where you’ll get an incredible view of the city.

The tower was conceived and designed in 1863 by architect Alessandro Antonelli. So that explains the tongue-twisting surname of the tower. And mole (pronounced mo-lay), in this context, roughly means a building of monumental size.

Construction was started under the leadership of Torino’s Jewish community, who imagined that the finished product would become Italy’s grandest synagogue. However, the architect and the people paying for the project ran into — shall we say — artistic differences.

Antonelli wanted the tower to be bigger, taller, and more spectacular! The financiers wanted it to be completed in their lifetimes.

Eventually, the rift grew too great and the Jewish backers handed the project over to the city of Turin. Turns out, they had a right to have been concerned. Antonelli didn’t live to see the tower completed. He died in 1888, about a year before the tower was ready to welcome the public.

However, the city did stay true to Antonelli’s vision of grandeur. When the Mole finally opened in 1889, it rose to a height of 167.5 m (550 ft), (if you included the statue on the top) making it the tallest brick building in Europe.

Mole Panoramic Lift / Mole Antonelliana Ascensore Panoramico

view from the mole down into the street below
From the Mole observation deck it is a long way down to the ground!

Though the Mole is impressive from ground level, the real pleasure of a visit lies in the Panoramic Lift, or, as we like to call it, the Great Glass Elevator.

Once you clear the bottom floors, the inside of the Mole tower is completely hollow. This makes the ride from basement to pinnacle in a glass elevator a pretty impressive journey. There is no elevator shaft — just a set of cables that dangles straight down the centre of the tower.

If elevators terrify you, you’ll definitely want to give this one a miss! Or, take a stab at the slow way up — on foot via a staircase housed in the walls of the tower.

For everyone else, grab a spot in line. Actually, go early in the morning on a weekday and you might not have to line up at all.

Another way to skip the line is to book a private Turin tour which includes a visit to the Mole.

As the lift rises through the tower, you’ll get a view of the Cinema Museum, which clings to the inside shell of the structure. After that, architecture fans will enjoy seeing the intricate construction of the tower’s interior up close.

Eventually, the elevator doors open and eject wide-eyed tourists onto a panoramic viewing platform. Here, you can see 360-degree views of the city and the Alps sparkling in the distance. Make sure you go on a clear day!

The Cinema Museum Turin / Museo del Cinema Torino

architecture of the mole antonelliana in turin
The Mole Antonelliana sits on a square base, where the entry and cinema museum are housed.

You can buy a combined ticket for the Turin Cinema Museum and the Panoramic Lift. Especially if you’re interested in the history of filmmaking or Italian films, the museum is worth an hour or two of your time.

The exhibits begin with gadgets that pre-date films, like shadow puppets, magic lanterns, and zoetropes. There are film sets to explore, movie posters, photographs, and film clips to admire and lots of masks, costumes, and other memorabilia.

The collection is so big that true film nerds will need a whole afternoon to explore. For the rest of us, an hour or so is plenty, especially if the sun is shining.

If you come in the afternoon, after a long day of sightseeing, you can take a welcome rest in the reclined seats of the museum’s main hall to watch whatever movies are showing that day.

Opening Hours & Prices / Orari e Prezzi

sun glinting off the mole tower in turin italy
The Mole is beautiful to look at from any angle and any time of day.

Museum of Cinema and Panoramic Lift Hours

  • Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sun: 9am–8pm
  • Sat: 9am–11pm
  • Tue: closed

Final admission one hour before closing time.

Museum of Cinema and Panoramic Lift Prices

  • €11 for museum only
  • €8 for lift only
  • €15 for both

Free for kids 5 and under, €2 concession for people 6–26, free for people with disabilities and accompanying person.

Tours of Mole Antonelliana

mole antonelliana torino
The view from the top of the Mole is spectacular, especially on a clear day.

The Cupola Ascent Tour

This is a guided tour walking up to the Panoramic Terrace. Without an appointment, it’s only available in Italian, but if you have a group, you can book an English tour.

  • Tour times without reservation: 12:30pm and 4:30pm
  • €10 / €180 per group of up to 15 people

Private 3-Hour Turin and Mole Tour

Explore the city’s main squares and palaces with a private guide, who will give you insight into the culture and history of Turin. Then, with the guide, skip the line at the Mole and discover the true delights of the tower and the cinema museum.

Book ahead online

Other Things to do in Turin

Don’t miss our complete Turin city guide for our picks of the best things to do, see, eat, and drink in the city!

The Best Tools & Companies for Your Trip

These are our favourite tools and companies for planning and booking your travels in Europe. We have used all of them and recommend them for their dedication to providing you great travel experiences.

  1. Best travel gear: Minimalist Packing Guide
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  5. Tours, tickets & transfers: Get Your Guide
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  7. Convenient travel insurance: World Nomads

We hope our guide to visiting the Mole Antonelliana in Torino helps when you’re planning your trip. A ride on the Panoramic Lift is a must-do on your first visit to Turin and if you have time and are a history buff, make sure to stop inside the Cinema Museum, too.

♥  Happy transformational travels, Jane & Stephen

We’re not going to lie, it takes a LOT of work to create travel guides like this. But it’s easy to help us out! If you book or buy something using one of our personal links in this post, we’ll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you. Of course, we would never recommend anything we didn’t 100% believe in! Huge thanks in advance! –S&J

Want to visit the Turin Mole Antonelliana? This landmark tower is one of the city's most impressive attractions and a must-visit! Click for our guide to the best time to go, cost, hours, what to expect, and more. #italy #turin #travel #myfiveacres #mindfultravel
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