Turin: all the things to know
Walking around Turin, under its porticoes or near the enchanting Piazza Castello, means giving into and being enveloped by a city able to enrich us.
In silent and discreet progression, Turin astonishes us with the triumphant Baroque of its churches and buildings, ancient Roman origins and friendly citizens, that welcome us as soon as we enter one of the downtown cafés.
Turin owes its charm to both its aristocratic history as the first capital of Italy and its humble, disciplined and eager soul. Its austere rigor made it an excellent example exported throughout the world, from its automobile industry to its computer sector, from its culture to its cuisine.
In a splendid geographic location nestled between the Western Alps and rolling hills, bathed by the Po river and embellished by the Savoy family's ancient homes - declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 1997 - Turin is a city that loves nature offering numerous parks, gardens and even 160 km of bike routes, allowing it to be elected one of Europe's first green metropolis.
One of the leading Egyptian Museums in the world, the spectacular Film Museum inside the Mole and many modern art galleries are accompanied by prestigious events like the Salone del Gusto, the Mito, the Turin Film Festival and recent 2006 Winter Olympics, able to embrace millions of visitors in the arms of a youthful and dynamic city.
The same contagious enthusiasm recently involved Turin's former industrial areas, intelligently renovated to house exhibits and expos that reinforce the city's fundamental role as a cultural and trade center where large investments have always focused on the innovation, research and development of the tertiary sector.
You can feel the youthful air on the streets of Turin and events like the International Biennial of Young Artists, the Jazz Festival, the Traffic rock festival and the vitality of the Murazzi glorify entertainment and imagination, introducing new musical talents and the works of brilliant emerging painters and sculptors every year.
Between cocktails at the Quadrilatero, a trip to the Porta Palazzo market and shopping excursions on Via Lagrange, Turin awaits you all year round to add a touch of class to your vacation and transform your trip into a stimulating, fun and unexpected experience!
When to go
Turin is now a city you can visit all year round but the important cultural and trade events held between fall and spring make these the best seasons to tour Turin, attending the exhibits, events, concerts and shows. Summer, that is usually 'low' season in all large European cities, has recently been re-evaluated to attract tourists. The goal is to position Turin as a tourist destination in the summer months due to its green parks and surrounding hills, museums always open to the public, contagious gaiety of the Murazzi and more convenient hotel and accommodation rates.
How to get to Turin
BY CAR Getting to Turin is easy. If you're traveling by car, the modern and efficient highway system is the easiest way to get to the city from Lombardy (A4 highway), Liguria (A6 and A21 highways) and the Valle d'Aosta (A5 highway). The highway from France (A32) is also easy and without a lot of traffic. After the toll booths, take the expressway (A55) and a series of provincial and town roads to get downtown.
BY TRAIN Trains are well-known and popular transportation means in Turin. Many trains leave the Porta Nuova station every day for major Italian and European cities: Paris, Barcelona, Milan, Venice, Florence, Palermo and many others. Turin's railway is also connected to all the provinces in Piedmont, making a tour of the entire Piedmont region easy.
The construction of the High Speed lines and Porta Susa train station renovations should soon give Turin a new and modern central railway hub.
Other city stations are the Lingotto and Dora, where you can catch the train for the airport.
BY PLANE Leading international airlines (Alitalia, Ryanair, Lufthansa, British Airways, Airfrance, etc) land at the Turin “Sandro Pertini” (Caselle). It takes about 30 minutes to get downtown by car, a 15 km drive on the North expressway.
You can get downtown from the airport in just 20 minutes on the shuttle to the Dora station (the Dora Fly shuttle leaves every half hour from 5:13 AM to 9:19 PM), or on the Sadem line bus which takes about 40 minutes depending on traffic, stopping at Porta Susa and Corso Vittorio Emanuele.
The last bus leaves at midnight.There are various rental car companies at the airport and their counters are close to the arrival hall.
Getting around Turin
Getting around Turin is easy thanks to efficient public transportation providing a trouble-free way to tour the city. However, we suggest you travel on foot. Walking around Turin is fascinating. Its elegant porticoes and extraordinary buildings and monuments are irresistible. Don't overlook the city's urban layout. It's fun and easy for even those who have a poor sense of direction!
A good alternative is to get around by bike. Like most large European cities, Turin is now biker-friendly with an extensive network of bike routes and 116 bicycle rental and drop-off points.
For those who prefer public transportation there are a myriad of buses (most powered by environmentally friendly fuels), trolleys and the first subway line. All run from 5 AM to about 1 AM and cover Turin's entire metropolitan and suburban network.
If you'd rather travel by car don't forget the ZTL areas (Restricted Traffic Areas). Traffic restrictions are set for some hours of the day and in some areas according to the day of the week. Moreover, driving downtown requires a lot of patience due to the heavy traffic. We think it's best you leave your car in one of the parking lots near the highway exits and use public transportation.
Taxis are always available at the airport and train stations. Taxis are white and plentiful in Turin and you'll find taxi stands in all main city areas.