There is a very underrated city in Italy which I highly recommend visiting if you get the chance – Torino (Turin). I do have family there, so maybe if it wasn’t for them, I would have never experienced a city with such a rich history and beautiful scenery. I have also always had the pleasure of a local showing me around the city to places I had no idea existed. I was just there for a few days visiting and sightseeing. Located in the Piedmont region, Torino was at one time the capital of Italy, but there is much more to discover than Fiat and world famous soccer teams. This time around, I experienced some history and some religion (how cliche).
La Reggia di Venaria – Veneria Reale. This palace was once home to the Savoy dynasty. The Reggia di Veneria Reale is a UNESCO world heritage site and consists of the estate, a church and gardens. Visiting this place is a great start to learn about Torino and Italy in general.
Torino also has one if the largest collections of Egyptian artifacts at Museo Egizio di Torino (Egyptian Museum). For any history buff, or someone who enjoys museums this is worth seeing. This is the only museum other than the Cairo Museum that is dedicated solely to Egyptian art and culture. For 13 Euros, the entrance fee includes an audio guide (which I needed as I do not know much about Egyptian art or history).
For a more religious experience, I went to the church of San Lorenzo, and saw the Sindone di Torino (the Shroud of Turin).
The church of San Lorenzo is a Baroque-style church and was designed and built by Guarino Guarini during 1668-1687. The church, like many in Italy, is beautiful. I don’t even know if there are adjectives to describe such grandiose – as beautiful is an understatement. It is close to the Royal Palace and the church does offer guided tours, but double check opening times and tours Online.
A short walk from the church of San Lorenzo, in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, I went to see the sindone. The sindone is a length of linen cloth bearing (who some believe) is the cloth Jesus was buried in after his crucifixion. If you decide you want a closer look, you can pay to enter and be closer to the cloth, but if not, it is free to visit. You cannot take photographs, but there is a museum and replicas and souvenirs of the shroud all over the city.
Even just walking around the city is beautiful – from Piazza Castello to Piazza San Carlo, it is worth a visit.
If you do find yourself in Torino, you can also go up to the top of the Mole Antonelliana for a view of the entire city. The Mole is the actual seat of the National Museum of Cinema . . . next visit.