Turin is an important city in northern Italy with many things to see. It’s the capoluogo (administrative center) of Piedmont and it’s surrounded by the Alpine arch and the Superga hill.
In the past, it was the capital of the Duchy of Savoy and it was the main intellectual and political center during the Risorgimento. Also, it was the very first capital of the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 to 1865.
Nowadays Turin is part of the industrial triangle together with Milan and Genoa. And this year it will host the Eurovision Song Contest.
So, if you decide to go to Turin, I’m giving you a small list of some of the things you should see – if you want to read more about what to do when in Turin, have a look at Places to visit when in Turin.
Let’s start with one of the symbols of Turin: i toret. Toret in dialect means toretto, little bull. When we talk about i toret in Turin, we’re talking about the typical public fountains that you can find in the city. The name comes from the fact that the top of these fountains is shaped like a bull head.
Apparently, the idea to install bull head fountains goes back to 1861. If you find this idea peculiar, then you should know that il toro – the bull – is the symbol of the city of Turin. If you want to know why a bull became the symbol of Turin, have a look at The legend about the origins of Turin.
Today there are more or less 800 toret in Turin. So, when in Turin, take yourself a selfie with one of these peculiar public fountains.
Basilica of Superga
The basilica of Superga is not in Turin but it’s very close, it’s just a 20 minutes’ drive from the city.
The church was built in 1717 for Victor Amadeus II of Savoy on the top of the hill of Superga and contains the tombs of many royals of the House of Savoy.
There’s a legend linked to the origins of this church. It’s said that Duke Victor Amadeus II of Savoy and the Prince Eugene of Savoy climbed the hill during the war of the Spanish succession to get to a small church. Once there, they saw Turin besieged by Franco-Spanish forces.
In front of such a terrible view, Victor Amadeus knelt in front of a wooden sculpture of the Virgin Mary and swore that in case of victory, he would have a bigger church built to her in that very place. And so did he when they won, entrusting the design of the Basilica to the architect Juvarra.
The interior has six chapels, four altars and a main altar decorated with sculptures made of Carrara marble. There are also many paintings and the wooden sculpture of the Virgin Mary, in front of which Victor Amadeus II knelt many years ago.
The Sassi-Superga tramway
The Sassi-Superga tramway is a steep grade railway line that connects Sassi, a suburb of Turin, to the Basilica of Superga. The trip starts at an altitude of 224m and ends at 672m. Generally, it takes you 18 minutes to get from Sassi to Superga with the tramway. Once on the top you can visit the Basilica and you can also enjoy a beautiful view of Turin and the Alps!
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Original image by ChiemSeherin