One of Italy's renowned cities, Torino is more than the home of the Shroud of Turin; it is also a city of palaces and elegant architecture. It was Italy's first capital city as a unified nation, before the national headquarters moved to Rome. It was the royal domain of the House of Savoy starting in 1563, bringing three centuries of status and wealth along with it, which embellished the city with graceful buildings and piazzas.
Torino (or Turin as English-speakers often call it) is a thriving city with an industrial base with Fiat Motor Company being the most prominent manufacturer. It has high-profile soccer teams, Juventus and Torino FC that draw crowds and worldwide fans, and one of Italy's most revered holy relics, the Shroud of Turin. An annual chocolate festival in November also brings in enthusiastic visitors. Torino has been a center of European culture for centuries and continues to offer an array of artistic and cultural attractions with its world-class museums and concerts. But there is the natural world to be enjoyed, too. At the foot of the Alps, Torino is the gateway to a winter sports wonderland in the nearby mountains. The beautiful peaks rise dramatically beyond the city, and was the scene for the 2006 Winter Olympics.
This elegant city center presents pretty palaces and striking streets. The Palazzo Reale is the royal palace that has lots of gilding and glitz, where the Savoys lived and reigned. The Palazzo Madama is another royal residence that was once a defensive castle but then was remodeled into a sumptuous home, right on the main square, Piazza Castello. You'll find the Museum of Ancient Art inside now, with priceless Greco-Roman era pieces along with paintings and sculptures from more "recent" periods. The Palazzo Carignano is a Baroque-embellished building with a rotonda that dates to 1679, and is now home to the Museo del Risorgimento, which recounts the drama of the Unification of Italy. The Subalpina Room was the parliamentary chamber, a lavish theater-like round room with velvet.
The Egyptian Museum has impressive possessions that were pillaged during the Napoleanic Wars, while the Galleria Sabauda shows off a wide collection of paintings. There is a National Museum of Cinema, a contemporary art museum, the automobile museum, and and a civic museum to enjoy as well. The most visited and well-known, though, is the Museo della Sindone, otherwise known as the Museum of the Shroud of Turin, which presents historic and scientific based displays to give a deeper understanding of the relic.
Torino has a thriving city center that is pleasant for strolling and enjoying the city's daily life. The main street, Via Roma, is lined with covered arcades and elegant shops. The historic watering hole, Caffe' San Carlo, is a fancy place that you should visit just to see its incredible crystal chandelier, and the streets radiating off Via Roma are also part of the fun. Find a sidewalk cafe on a piazza to enjoy people-watching with a drink, and be sure to taste some of the region's specialties while you're here.
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