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?
2. Mole Panoramic Lift / Mole Antonelliana Ascensore Panoramico
3. The Cinema Museum Turin / Museo del Cinema Torino
4. Opening Hours & Prices / Orari e Prezzi
5. Tours of Mole Antonelliana
6. Other Things to do in Turin
7. The Best Resources for Your Trip
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.
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
How La Mole Antonelliana Began
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
Share With Your Friends
Get 101 Travel Tips
Get our free ebook, 101 Travel Tips for Mindful Adventurers. It’s packed with our best tips for saving money, planning for travel, booking flights and accommodation, traveling sustainably, and staying on the road for longer! We ask for your email address so we can send you an email about once every month with our latest travel tips, destination advice, and personal stories about life on the road.