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Piazza San Carlo
Favorite thing: Today the life of the town is centered at Piazza San Carlo and on the main streets Via Roma and Via Po. Under the arcades of Via Roma are some of the trendiest shops in Italy while cars whiz by on hot summer nights. Piazza San Carlo is a beautiful square lined with cafes that lies halfway down Via Roma and is known to be a popular meeting place among locals.
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel
Railroad Station PORTA NUOVA
Favorite thing: When Turin was made the capital of the Savoy kingdom, there came a need for a central station, and Porta Nuova is still today the most important train station in Turin. Porta Nuova was designed by architect Alessandro Mazzucchetti and built between 1860 and 1867. The train station was modeled on the King’s Cross in London, although the interior has since been completely restructured. The very first railroad tracks of the kingdom departed from Porta Nuova – they connected Genoa and Turin with side routes to Alessandria (through Novara) and Lago Maggiore. Today Porta Nuova is an important transportation hub in Turin – exiting the train station you come to piazza Carlo Felice and via Roma. In addition to the ticket booths, cafes, bars, and newsstands, Porta Nuova also provides travelers with bookshops and a tourism booth (Turismo Torino).
- Historical Travel
Chiesa Gran Madre di Dio
Favorite thing: The church of Gran Madre di Dio was built between 1827 and 1831, and commemorates the return of Vittorio Emanuele I after the French occupation under Napoleon.
Behind the monument to Vittorio Emanuele I a flight of steps lead up to the church between two statues representing Faith and Religion.
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel
Refurbishment Update 09 Feb 2006
Favorite thing: All the city is spotted by works made to give a sleek image of itself.
It is almost done... Square Piazza San Carlo is ready to be fully opened to the tourist just in time for the Olympic Opening.
The Metro has opened 4 days ago, and closed 2 days ago (just for maintenence, some trouble with the electric power system)
The main avenue are reopened to the traffic giving some relief to the locals (in 2005 there were plus then 1500 work on the roads of Turin!!).
And where the works are unfinished, were covered by red curtains in Olympic style. So nowadays you will see a lot of red boxes mushroomed in the city.
In the other pic, an update view of Piazza Vittorio, and the work for another undergound parking.
lichinga's General Tip
Fondest memory: Turin is a 'flat' city, tall buildings are rare and the Mole Antonelliana is the most famous one. It is the real symbol of the city. Originally, it was supposed to be the Jewish synagogue, but the Jewish community discovered they had no money enough to finish it and sold it to the Municipality. Architect Antonelli has been contracted to terminate the building, and he added an extra 30 meters high thin tower at the top (it was his own brand mark). During tenths of years it remained empty, now it hosts the Cinema Museum - see below!
The neo-classical architecture...
Favorite thing: The neo-classical architecture of central Turin allows for large squares and fountains. These are not common, but they may be very relaxing spots within the city. In the picture you may notice the Alfieri theatre in piazza Solferino, during winter.
About the city itself - Torino...
Favorite thing: About the city itself - Torino - I have vague memories. I remember visiting it as a teenager, and admiring the vast squares and the richly adorned palaces: the idea I had was of a huge open city-scape which i quite liked. The second memory f that of the Egyptian museum: at that time the collection was a real mess, yet it's still one of the most (maybe the most?) important collection of ancient egyptian artefacts in Europe.
You have to take a stroll...
Favorite thing: You have to take a stroll along the grand central streets of Torino. Many of them are arched so you won't have to worry about getting wet if it rains.
Like when visiting all other Italian cities and towns you should take time to enjoy the beauty and the life of the piazzas.
Turin has lately been making...
Favorite thing: Turin has lately been making itself dramatically more accessible, inviting, and navigable for tourists. The periodic viewings of the Shroud both jam the city (the two-month-long showing last spring, the first in twenty years, drew more than a million people) and set deadlines for renovation. The Royal Palace was repainted and cars were banned from much of the main piazza in time for last spring's onslaught, and the showing next year, in honor of the millennial, is likely to bring more renovation.
Yet even as it spruces up, Turin retains the intimacy and bustle of a pre-war city. On recent visits, when I would find that some Italian magazine had just highlighted the many improvements and called for yet more, I encountered very few tourists but many friendly natives. Turin has long been an insiders' secret. That may soon change...
Blood royalty, rather than industrial royalty, built the city. Turin was the seat of the House of Savoy, whose kings reigned, at least nominally, until 1946. One of them, the reform-minded Carlo Alberto, helped to stoke the revolutionary fervor that led to Italy's unification, in 1861, with Turin as the capital. (The capital was moved to Florence in 1865 and to Rome five years later.) The first Italian Parliament met in Turin's most beautiful building -- the Palazzo Carignano, built in the late seventeenth century and the birthplace of Carlo Alberto.
Sightseeing should begin at the palazzo, which is within steps of the city's main museums and just blocks away from the best shops and nicest cafés. The palazzo is a Baroque marvel of undulating lines and red-brick ornament, including, unexpectedly, motifs taken from Native American feather headdresses (to commemorate Piedmontese participation in a French victory over the tribes of Quebec). Today it houses an absorbing museum of the unification of Italy -- helpfully, many of the placards are in English -- with excellent summaries of the country's wartime history. History comes alive across the way at the Ristorante del Cambio, an elaborately decorated restaurant where Count Camillo di Cavour, the architect of unification, held court and kept an eye on who was going in and out of Parliament. Perhaps he ate bollito misto, fragrant boiled meats sliced on a rolling silver cart, which is still the house specialty.
I recommend two minor...
Favorite thing: I recommend two minor excursions to see two Savoy residences; each is just a twenty- or thirty-minute taxi ride from the center. Castello di Rivoli is a severe, dramatically sited eighteenth-century brick castle in grand, sober Baroque, designed by Juvarra and renovated from 1979 to 1984 to house a decent collection of contemporary art. It's worth going for the ingeniously rebuilt interior and the commanding view of the city. Stupinigi is a sort of dream: a hunting lodge built not long after Versailles, on a much smaller scale but nonetheless grand. In the unique plan devised by Juvarra, diagonal arms radiate outward from a spectacular central ballroom, whose painted walls, huge glass chandelier, and gilded crossbeams have been perfectly restored. But the royal suites around the ballroom have mostly not. You can thus see furniture and wall fabrics as they were, and they are all the more riveting for being slightly in tatters. The sometimes threadbare but always sumptuous rooms reminded me of Deborah Turbeville's desolate, disturbing pictures of Versailles. Here you can imagine aristocratic eighteenth-century life, private and public, being conducted, and even imagine yourself part of it. Though Turin is nearly as firmly planted in the present as Milan, every aspect of it is tinged by the past. Perhaps that is what makes it uniquely civilized.
Vittorio Emanuele II Monument
Favorite thing: This monument, located in Largo Vittorio Emanuele II, not far from GAM, is dedicated to the Italian King and it has been built in 1899 by Pietro Costa
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Torino Travel Guide
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