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Elegant and charming, Turin is an amazing city where every palace, building and street tells the story of Italy’s recent past, made of kings, queens and great statesmen. It’s a trip that starting from the Savoy Kingdom tells the hard and difficult story of Italy’s Union up to the country’s rebuilding after the Second World War, in which Turin big factories played an important role. A story often ignored giving more importance to the roman and Renaissance times but of which Turin, with its magnificent Royal Residences and its extraordinary cultural offer, keeps reminding us.
This trip starts from the Royal Palace, which stands in the heart of Turin next to Piazza Castello. Started in 1646 and used as royal Savoy residence till the 1965, with its elaborate baroque interiors and furniture witnesses the splendour and magnificence of Savoy’s Court. The Dining room, with an elegant table set with beautiful potteries, and the stunning Ball Room, shining with gold and crystals, are among the most remarkable rooms of the palace.
|© silviaromio.altervista.org|A few steps from the Royal Palace, Madama Palace, named after the royal Madams, reigning at the beginning of the XV century, urged the renovation of the palace and its transformation into an elegant royal residence. This palace tells a long story thanks to its two facades, one medieval and one baroque, the two souls of this beautiful building hosting the Senate’s room, where the first Italian Senate took place. Palazzo Carignano is another remarkable baroque palace where the Senate was moved after its first seat at Palazzo Madama. Crossing its threshold you can walk on the footprints of Cavour, that would come here to take part to the Senate and then would dine at the Al Cambio Restaurant, on the same square, which still remains one of the most luxury restaurant in Turin. Palazzo Carignano hosts The Risorgimento Museum which, starting from the French Revolution, through many documents, prints and objects tells the story of the reforming ideas which inflamed most of the European countries during the XVII century.
For an even bigger leap in time back to more than five thousand years ago, the Egyptian Museum, close to Palazzo Carignano, is another outstanding cultural attraction, second of the world for the Egyptian History after El Cairo museum. In the first floor there’s a wide collection of objects, vases, papyrus, and jewels together with mummies and sarcophagus.
On the ground floor of lot of beautiful and huge statues seem to come of the half-light with their gracious and magnetic faces. The stroll can continue through via Po to reach the Mole Antonelliana, which with its 167 mt is the highest building in the city. The Mole hosts the National Cinema Museum; the exposition, that from the central Temple Room goes up through the helicoidally staircase, recreates the story of Cinema from its archeology to the born of television, explaining the various genres through an extraordinary path made of games, costumes and posters. From the central hall, the panoramic lift, with glass walls, takes up to the top for a stunning view of the city. In Turin is easy to get a taste of history even entering one of the many historical Cafés, with their marble tables, crystal pendants and tapestry, which in the XVII century used to be attended by the middle class and intellectuals. The most famous are the Baratti & Milano and Caffé Torino, with the “Martini” sign outside. But Turin not only has given value to the past but has also looked at the future, requalifying old industrial buildings and transforming them into polyvalent spaces: the Lingotto, the historical FIAT plant, has become one of the most important exposition centre in Europe, hosting famous fairs as The International Book Fair and Salone del Gusto. Impossible not to get charmed by the elegance and the extraordinary cultural offer of Turin, with its beautiful palaces, cafés and squares which preserver a precious story to be remembered. – Before starting the tourist visit it’s usefull to buy the Torino + Piemonte Card (with validity 2 to 7 days) which gives access to most of the museums, palaces and monuments (including the Egyptian Museum, the Cinema Museum and the Royal Residences) which helps saving up instead of buying the single tickets. All info in Turismotorino – Where to stay: BW Hotel Genova is a nice hotel close to Porta Nuova Station and a few steps from the city center; close to the hotel there’s also the metro station and the Royal Bus (included in the Torino + Piemonte Card) that takes directly to the Royal Residences. Recently renovated, Hotel Genova offers cosy and clean rooms, with every optional including free wi-fi; the staff is very friendly and the buffet breakfast, included in the price, is perfect. A perfect choice to visit the city!