Nestled in the picturesque Piedmont region of northern Italy, the vibrant city of Turin blends a rich historical heritage with a dynamic contemporary atmosphere.
Turin is also renowned for its remarkable and original religious architecture. The Gothic façade of the city’s cathedral is one of the finest in Europe. The unique baroque domes of Guarino Guarini are considered the highest achievements of European structural engineering of its time. Conceived as a synagogue, the 19th century Mole Antonelliana is one of the highest unreinforced brick buildings in the world in the 19th century. Today, it is the home of the excellent National Cinema Museum and still offers breathtaking panoramic views from its towering spire. The Basilica di Superga, perched atop the Turin hills, is a stunning baroque masterpiece which houses the tombs of the House of Savoy, offering spectacular vistas of the city and the mighty river Po.
Transitioning to New Turin, discover a city that thrives on innovation and modernity. The Lingotto, once the largest car factory in the world, has been reinvented by the renowned architect Renzo Piano. Still serving as the Fiat’s administrative headquarters and featuring the legendary rooftop racetrack, the Lingotto is now a visitor destination with numerous restaurants, shops and the art gallery Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli.
Turin was the first city in Italy to collect modern art in the 19th century. It is still the top Italian destination for the modern and contemporary art, with world-class collections, galleries and temporary exhibitions. A visit to the Castello di Rivoli, a contemporary art museum housed in a historic Savoy castle with a captivation juxtaposition of contemporary works against the backdrop of centuries-old architecture.
There are many additional cultural jewels to explore and enjoy – the Royal Armory is considered one of the finest collections or weapons and armour, the Museum of the Holy Shroud or the Mercato di Porta Palazzo, Europe’s largest food market. Wander the cobblestone streets of the Quadrilatero Romano with its artisan shops and charming piazzas. Savour a bicerin, Turin’s signature coffee and chocolate concoction at one of the many quaint cafes here and discover that the Torinese take the coffee and aperitif culture rather more seriously than most!
Turin’s vibrant dining scene is another testament to its history and modernity. Piedmontese dishes often mix the influence of French haute cuisine with local and Ligurian country cooking. The wines – especially the reds like Barolo and Barbaresco – are praised as some of the best among the Italian vinicultural offerings. Enjoy tasting them and exploring local restaurants where culinary traditions are often reimagined with a modern twist.
Trip Leader: Mrs Nirvana Romell
Nirvana has been lecturing on the social history of Western art for nearly 25 years and has presented numerous lectures to the Friends of the Whitworth. She has also worked on collection interpretations and museum staff training. Her passion is cultural travel and she has created many unique cultural tours in the Balkans, northern Italy, France, Sweden and South Africa. In her work, she links the past with the present by combining aesthetic, historical and social theoretical approaches to art and culture. Those who travelled with Nirvana have particularly praised her ability to engage the audience and use her solid grasp of the subject matter to impart a lasting understanding of the artists, artefacts and their broader context. She has accompanied ten previous Friends of the Whitworth visits also organised by Distant Horizons.