Built in 1731 on a project from Juvarra, this church and city icon is perched on Turin's hill. Nice city view from here, best at night.
Its basement hosts the crypt, burial ground for Savoy Kings and family members.
In 1949 the whole soccer team of Torino was killed in a plane crash on the church outer wall.
One interesting way to reach the church up there is to take the Sassi-Superga tramway, named "Dentiera". This steep line operation was opened in 1884 as a cable-car system, similar to that of the famous trolleys in San Francisco. The Sassi-Superga tramway was updated in the early 1930s with the introduction of rack-and-pinion that replaced the steel cable. New cars were also introduced at that time and these are still operated today.
Away from city traffic, take a walk through one of the many self-guided trails within the park around the church. Park and rack-tramway links herebelow.
I took the Sassi - Superga railway hoping it would be sassy and super. I guess this was a typical faux ami or false friend, for the experience was neither sassy nor super.
The railway runs from the suburbs of Torino up a mountain (3,100 feet) to the Basilica where the Savoy tombs are located. The trip takes approximately 20 minutes and trains in February were running hourly. At the top there is a visitors information center with very limited hours, and information about the surrounding park.
I decided to take the train up the mountain and walk down, something the man at the lower train station said would take one hour. I got to the top of the mountain at 12.30 or so, only to discover that the information center, where you get the map showing you how to walk down, would not open until 2:20. Fine. So I did a mini tour of the basilica, ate a picnic lunch, walked around a bit and headed back to the info center. Here, I was stunned to learn that the walk down actually takes THREE hours! The man here suggested I take the train to the halfway point (you must request this stop) and walk down from there. Okay... sure... but he also told me the wrong path number to follow and he neglected to mention that the path was closed! I ended up stranded at the mid-way point of the mountain and had to find a nearby road, which was controlled by electric fence, and wait for a car to come let me pass!
The Sassi - Superga railway and surrounding parks are beautiful and interesting, but I HIGHLY recommend taking the train both ways and taking the advice of the information officers with a grain of salt!
The Basilica's crypts contain a great mausoleum with the tombs of the Savoy rulers from Vittorio Emanuele II to Carlo Alberto (except for Carlo Felice who is buried at the Abbey of Altacomba) and of other 50 princes and princesses, that is all the House of Savoy members who died after 1732. Vittorio Emanuele !II, the first King of Italy, was buried in the Pantheon of Rome.
A few miles outside Turin city centre, Sassi Station is the place to catch a funicular train up to Superga Station, on a hilltop at a height of 2,194ft. Here, you have a panoramic view of the whole of Turin and the Alps beyond. It's situated in the Superga Hill Natural Park which offers lovely walks and is home to some interesting wildlife.
At the top of the hill is the magnificent Baroque church of Basilica di Superga. I didn't see inside because I visited in the evening when it was closed but it has some interesting history and I was told that you can climb 137 steps to the top of the dome to access a panoramic balcony.
The evening I visited was a bit hazy so try to choose a clear day for the most spectacular views. It's particularly romantic and peaceful at sunset.
Once you have reached Superga, there is lots to see and do. At the Basilica you can descend into the tombs and see where the members of the Savoy royal family were buried. You can buy a separate ticket to climb the spiral staircase to the cupola, which offers panoramic views of La Collina ("The Hill"(s) around Torino). Around the Basilica there are many walking and hiking trails giving you the chance to get up close and personal with the local flora and fauna. Budget about an hour and a half for the tour and the cupola, plus any hiking you want to do. There is a small coffee shop in the basilica but it is great to bring your own picnic lunch, as there are benches and tables.
The hill of Superga is Turin's second tallest after that of the 715 metres high Faro della Maddalena.
The Basilica of Superga is a must for tourists. The view from the large square before the temple is exceptional, especially at dusk when you can perceive the progressive wings of the festive choir of the great Alps in the background of the shadowed town.
I went up twice during Jan and Feb. The first time my fren drove me up to catch the sunset. The other time I took the Sassi tram to go up. Neither did I get the chance to enter the basilica. It seems only opened on weekend.
"The basilica, dedicated to the nativity of Maria, was built at the beginning of the 18th century to a design by Filippo Juvarra and represents one of the most beautiful examples of baroque style. It was built for the will of Vittorio Amedeo II, and the princes and kings of the Savoy family are buried here with the exception of Carlo Alberto. In the back of the church is a plaque in memory of the air disaster on 4th December 1949 in which 31 people died including all the members of the team of the Turin football club." -- from http://www.mytravelguide.com/
"The historical Sassi - Superga rack tramway is the only one of its kind in Italy. It is the present-day continuation of a tradition that started back in 1884 with the Agudio cable railway and has lasted well over one hundred years. At the outset, the train was powered by an engine operating a steel cable, which ran parallel to the tracks. In 1943, the line was converted into a rack tramway and traction was provided by a central rack rail. The tramway has been recently refurbished and visitors can enjoy a trip back in time and the breathtaking view from the original carriages. " -- from http://www.comune.torino.it/gtt/en/touristfacilities/
Please note Sassi is off on Tuesday. :) I will put more details of Sassi in transportation tips.
The Basilica of Superga is a must for tourists. The view from the large square before the temple is exceptional, especially at dusk when you can perceive the progressive wings of the festive choir of the great Alps in the background of the shadowed town. This sensation was underscored by personages such as Jean Jacques Rousseau and Napoleon, Stendhal and Le Corbusier. Behind the Basilica, the panorama opens up to the hills of the Monferrato.
Another Turin closed its season of glory here: the Grande Torino Football team. On May 4 1949, the aircraft carrying the footballers back home from a victorious match played at Lisbon crashed against the base of the rear wall of the Basilica complex, maybe due to adverse weather conditions.
31 died: all the regular and reserve team members, the six people accompanying them and the air crew. A great plaque placed on the crash area commemorates the tragedy and is the destination of many pilgrimages.
To go to Superga is necessary to take a tram to the rack-train station , that leaves every hour and goes up to the where there are splendid panoramic views of Turin and the Alps in the background.
The basilica was built in 1706 when Turin was invaded by the Franco-Spanish army, Victor Amadeus II of Savoy chief of the Piedmont militias who were allied with the Austrians promised to the "Madonna delle Grazie" that he would make a Basilica if he won that battle and preserve the independence of Turin and Piedmont
Para ir a Superga es necesario tomar un tranvía que te lleva a la estación del tren cremallera que sube cada hora y desde arriba las vistas panorámicas son espléndidas de todo Turín con los Alpes al fondo .
La basílica la construyó en 1706 cuando Turín estaba invadida por el ejército Franco-Español , Víctor Amadeo II de Saboya jefe de las milicias piamontesas que estaban aliadas con los austriacos prometió a la " Madonna delle Grazie " que le haría una basílica si ganaba esa batalla y preservaba la independencia de Turín y de todo el Piamonte
From the cloister you enter to the Popes Hall which preserves the only collection in the world where there are portraits of every Pope from St. Peter to the present
Desde el claustro se accede al salón de los Papas donde se conserva la única colección en el mundo en la que hay retratos de todos los papa desde San pedro hasta el actual
Here are buried many members of the Family of the House of Savoy
In a baroque chapel, very ornate and decorative elements a bit gloomy
Aquí se encuentran enterrados muchos de los miembros de la Familia de la dasa de Saboya
En una capilla barroca , muy recargada y con algunos elementos de decoración un poco tétricos
Head up here by funicular railway (later tip) for a look around the basilica, great views back over the city and surrounding mountains as well as a visit to the station cafe. Worth an afternoon trip.