10 Fun And Insightful Guided Tours In Turin
There's a staggering variety of things to see and places to go on the City Sightseeing Turin tour, but what to do once you hop-off at that new stop along the route? We've taken a closer look at a few of the city's key attractions in order to locate some of Turin's most fun and insightful guided tours. So what interests you? Tales of resistance during the Second World War, the history of Ancient Egypt, the story of cinema, or Italian sporting heritage? Have a look below and find a guided tour for you.
1, Turin Egyptian Museum Guided Tour:
At no other time since it was officially founded in 1824 has Turin's world renowned Egyptian Museum been better than it is now. April 2015 saw the grand opening of its new exhibition layout, a change that has revolutionised the way the museum tells the tale of humanity's most captivating ancient culture. Visitors are invited to brush back the sands of time, revealing layers that extent as far back as the Early Dynastic Period and as late as the Roman Era.
For those who want to get the most out of their visit Turin's Museo Egizio hosts individual guided tours every day from Wednesday to Sunday from 11:30 at €5 per person. Tours are guided by professional Egyptologists, and everyone is equipped with an audio headset that amplifies narration and blocks out ambient noise. Reservation is required for larger groups, so you'll want to contact the museum directly (see link above).
2, Museum of the Risorgimento:
Turin's Museum of the Risorgimento is an institution dedicated to telling the story of Italy's tumultuous Unification period. For those with a causal interest in the nation's recent history it defiantly makes for a fascinating visit, though occasionally a slightly daunting one. Where should you begin and what exhibition spaces paint the clearest, most enjoyable picture? Luckily the Risorgimento allows visitors to book foreign-languages guided tours for up to 30 people. Individual tours are available on Saturdays and Sundays at 15:30 (no booking necessary), but these are in Italian only.
3, Mole Antonelliana:
Self-titled film buffs sometimes overlook the legacy of Italian cinema in favour of the more prevalent US, German and British scenes. If you're one of these people then it's time to make a date with Turin's National Museum of Cinema. Housed within the stunning Mole Antonelliana tower visitors are taken on a journey that starts with early pioneers like Georges Méliès and finishes on today's multi-billion dollar industry. Read a concise version of the Museum Itinerary here.
For those travelling in larger groups guided tours are available Monday to Friday 09:00-18:00. These are hosted in 5 languages (including English) and come in a variety of flavours, from a basic introductory tour to special themed tours.
4, Royal Palace of Turin:
Constructed by the House of Savoy in the 16th century the Royal Palace of Turin is perhaps best known for its connection to the Chapel of the Holy Shroud, a building which houses the famous Shroud of Turin. While this precious artefact may be the biggest tourism draw in the entire complex there's so much more to discover, often in a short space of time.
Luckily entry tickets for the Palazzo Reale include a free guided tour of all the main apartments. Head along at a reasonable time between the general opening hours of 08:30-19:30 and explore the Royal Armoury (Beaumont Gallery), the Savoy Gallery (ground floor and first floor) and the Archaeological Museum. Note that the average length of each tour is around 90 minutes. You can find the palace's ticket office at Piazzetta Reale, 1.
5, Palazzina di Stupinigi:
The Hunting Residence of Stupinigi is a strong contender for the most impressive piece of architecture within the immediate vicinity of Turin. Like many of the city's heritage sites it was constructed by the House of Savoy in the 18th century, this time as a royal hunting lodge. In this case, however, 'hunting lodge' is a term which we'd consider a bit of the misnomer. Forget log walls and mounted animal heads and imagine an interior more like that of the Palace of Versailles or St. Peter's Basilica.
Standard entry to this wondrous UNESCO listed building is only € 12.00 for an adult, but by adding on an extra € 3.00 you can take a guided tour. These run Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays at 10:30, 11:45, 15:30 and 17:00.
6, Royal Church of San Lorenzo:
Adjoining the Royal Palace of Turin is another church that's well worth visiting for those with an interest in the city's religious heritage. Constructed in the Baroque-style by Guarino Guarini during the late 17th century the Chiesa di San Lorenzo is not only open to the public but offers guided tours. These are run by volunteers, so the church recommends that large groups call to make a reservation first (see link). Otherwise, there's fixed hours during Saturdays and Sundays.
7, Turin Olympic Stadium:
Once home to Juventus F.C. and serving as the venue for the 2006 Winter Olympics the Stadio Olimpico di Torino has a distinguished history stretching back to the early 1930s. Not only is it a sporting institution, but it's hosted numerous concerts over the decades, from Pink Floyd and David Bowie to U2 and One Direction.
The stadium's guided tour is extremely easy to access and allows visitors to explore areas normally deemed 'off limits'. It begins at regular intervals between 10:00-18:00 on weekends, and between 14:00-18:00 from Tuesdays to Fridays. Grab a ticket on the stadium site and meet your guide next to the spiralling Olympic torch. Highlights include a walk along the pitch, the dugouts, changing rooms and press zone.
8, Museo del Carcere Le Nuove:
Turin's 'New Prison Museum' is a fascinating attraction that has been at the forefront of some of Italy's most tumultuous periods. Travel back to the first half of the 20th century and receive gritty insights into the fascist period and the fates of the people who stood up against not only Mussolini's regime but elements of Nazi Germany. By taking the guided tour you'll learn about this and much more as you wander through the various abandoned facilities with your group. Tours run Monday to Saturday at 15:00, with Sunday's featuring an extra departure at 17:00.
9, Turin Medieval Village and Castle:
There's plenty in Turin that lets you experience its modern history and renaissance heritage, but if you'd like to dive back into its medieval period then a trip to the Borgo Medievale is a must. Its village section, 'Borgo', is a faithful recreation of a small medieval town sporting all the amenities of daily life. Pay visit to the local residences of peasant and noble alike, and watch live manufacturing techniques at the blacksmith's, potter's, weaver's and carpenter's shops. The village section is free to access and is great fun for all ages.
Looming above the rest of the village atop the 'rocca' is a beautiful medieval castle. This section of the attraction incurs a small entrance fee, which is ideal for casual visitors, but if you'd like deeper insights then you can book guided tours of varying length and price: 60 min, € 50.00; 90 min, € 65.00 and 120 min, € 80.00. The castle is open Tuesday to Sunday 10:00-18:00, with last admission at 17:15.
10, Palace of Venaria:
The Palace of Venaria is a grand UNESCO listed estate located a short distance outside central Turin. It's probably the most conspicuous of all the former Savoy residences, with its massive 80,000 square meter floor area, 148 acre gardens and widespread conversion into a multi-purpose museum. The decorous interiors are a joy to explore, the exhibitions regularly updated, and its Galleria Grande (Hall of Diana) inspiring to pass through.
Individual guided tours only operate in Italian, but multilingual groups of up to 25 people can be accommodated upon reservation.