The best walking tour of Turin starts at the main station, Porta Nuova, and heads on up the elegant Via Roma towards Piazza Castello (see the foot of the page for a map of the area).
Via Roma is THE shopping street in Turin and one of the greatest in shopping streets in Italy; my wife loves it and my bank account hates it. All the big names of Italian fashion—and then some—are here. There are also some very tempting food stores, though I wouldn’t do your shopping here before.
Carry on up via Roma until you reach the seventeenth-century Piazza San Carlo (Carlo Felice) with its famous rearing horse and the Savoy Duke Filiberto in the saddle.
Two gorgeous sixteenth-century churches, the so-called "Twin Churches," look out on the piazza (see photo at top). One is the masculine San Carlo, and the other is the feminine Santa Cristina.
The piazza is known as the "Drawing Room" of Turin; its elegance is often compared to that of the Place Vendôme in Paris. It has been the hangout of Piedmont's intellectuals and the rich and famous for centuries.
While you are in the piazza, pop into the wonderful but expensive Caffè San Carlo. On leaving Caffè San Carlo head down to the corner, turn left and on your right is the Galleria San Federico, a delightful arcaded shopping mall where you will find one of the oldest cinemas in Italy, the Cinema Lux which opened its doors in 1934.
Continue walking along the left side of Via Roma toward Piazza Castello before returning to Piazza San Carlo up the other side of the road to avoid missing any of the expensive shops. Once you get back to Piazza San Carlo, your bank account should be considerably lighter.
Turn left from Piazza San Carlo into Via Maria Vittoria, a quiet, upmarket street lined with lovely art galleries and antique shops.
Personally, I would recommend doing your antique shopping at Porta Palazzo, Piedmont's and indeed Europe's largest open-air market, which is much cheaper than the city center and the location of the famous Balon flea market, which is held every Saturday morning and the second Sunday of the month. You'll find more about this and the other open-air markets of Turin here.
The church of San Filippo Neri along Maria Vittoria is lovely. Built in 1675, it was restored by Juvarra after the dome collapsed. Opposite the church is Palazzo Carpano, dating to 1684 and designed by Michelangelo Garove.
Now head back towards Piazza San Carlo and turn right just before the piazza into Via Accademia delle Scienze. This street houses the 16th-century Palazzo dell'Accademia delle Scienze (Academy of Science) and is home to two great Piedmont museums. The Egyptian Museum (Museo Egizio) and the Sabauda Gallery. For more on Turin's museums visit our museum guide .
Keep on up Via Accademia delle Scienze until you get to Piazza Carlo Alberto and pass through the piazza into the light-filled and elegant Galleria Subalpina built in 1873 by Pietro Carrera, who planned it as a bazaar.
At the end of the gallery where it opens onto Piazza Castello you will find another one of Turin’s legendary cafés the wonderful Turin liberty style Baratti & Milano.
Baratti & Milano.is the place that invented the delicious Cremino chocolate. Chocolate this good is hard to find outside of Piedmont. If you would like to try some visit our chocolate guide.
The walk is now done and I have gone off at a tangent, as I often do, about chocolate.
For another walking tour of Turin/Torino please click here.
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