Selected departures from April to October 2019
There is little in Italy to match the grandeur of Turin’s Baroque palaces, tree-lined boulevards and cobbled squares. There may be a hint of Paris and echoes of Vienna, but this cultured city’s identity is entirely its own and its historical significance is undeniable. In 1563, Turin became the capital of the Piedmont region and Italy’s first. It was home to one of the world’s oldest noble families, the French-speaking Duchy of Savoy, which facilitated Italian unification and provided the nation’s first king. All around the city, the wealthy Savoys created a constellation of some of Europe’s finest buildings, designed by the most prominent architects of the time.
Shielded by the majestic Alps to the west, Turin is home to the famous Shroud, one of the greatest and most controversial mysteries. The city is an enigma: both modern and ancient, calm and energetic; it is these captivating contrasts that fill it with timeless intrigue. Boasting the largest pedestrianised area in Europe, Turin is truly a walker’s paradise: its legendary arcades are beautifully decorated with coffered ceilings and impressive columns, which makes exploring the city an absolute pleasure.
Turin’s transition from monarchic to industrial power is mirrored in its architecture: compare the ostentatious palazzi with the futuristic Mole Antonelliana, Turin’s answer to the Eiffel Tower. Fiat, one of the world’s most successful and progressive automotive brands, has its headquarters here. This heritage of innovation extends to the city’s celebrated cuisine and some of Italy’s finest restaurants can be found here. Truffles are a Piedmont speciality, while the first commercial hard chocolate, Lavazza coffee, and the crisp breadsticks known as grissini all originate in Turin. Two of Italy’s finest red wines, the powerful Barolo and Barbaresco, come from the undulating Langhe hills to the south
On our insightful tour, we stay in Turin and explore this remarkable ‘cradle of Italian liberty’, plus visit charming Alba, a gastronomic hotspot renowned for its succulent white truffles. Step back in time with us and soak up all that this spectacular city has to offer – undoubtedly the essential ingredients for an unforgettable experience.
Fly to either Turin or Milan Malpensa airport. Our tour manager will be there to escort you to your chosen four-star hotel in Turin, where you settle into your beautifully appointed room. The Starhotels Majestic is centrally located in a grand 19th-century mansion with recently refurbished rooms. The hotel’s restaurant serves Piedmont and international dishes, while refreshments such as Piedmont wines and snacks can be enjoyed at the convivial bar. Alternatively, the NH Hotel Santo Stefano is situated in the stylish Quadrilatero Romano district, right next door to the 15th-century Duomo, where the revered Turin Shroud is kept. The hotel combines minimalist chic with rustic elegance and offers panoramic views on the fifth floor. The restaurant here serves breakfast and traditional Piedmont cuisine along with a selection of local wines.
This morning, we enjoy a walking tour of Turin’s historic centre with a local guide and discover its countless marvellous sights. Dominating the skyline is the unmissable Mole Antonelliana, a symbol of Italian unity and the world’s tallest building when it was completed in 1897. The city boasts some of the best architecture in Italy and a stunning mix of architectural styles including Renaissance, Rococo, Neoclassical and Art Nouveau. Turin’s Baroque style is truly unique; perhaps the best example is the Palazzo Carignano, arguably the city’s finest building with its magnificent brick façade and ornate rotunda. In refreshing contrast to the ubiquitous opulence is the 15th-century Duomo, the only example of Renaissance design in Turin.
The city is blessed with numerous interesting museums housed in splendid palazzi. The Museo Egizio is home to one of the largest collections of Egyptian antiquities, encompassing monumental sculptures, marvellous reconstructed temples and extraordinary tomb paintings. Turin also happens to be one of Europe’s greenest metropolises, and Parco del Valentino, with its beautiful botanical garden, is a fine example of the many wonderful parks spread across the city.
Later you may choose to further your exploration of Turin or join us on an exhilarating visit, first to Fiat’s former rooftop test track, followed by the outstanding Automobile Museum. The rooftop test track sits atop the Lingotto and was famously featured in the classic film, The Italian Job, where Michael Caine’s character is pursued by the police in a high-speed chase. Constructed in the early 20th century, the Lingotto was Fiat’s astonishing factory and Italy’s first large-scale, modern building, boasting an avant-garde manufacturing method: raw materials entered on the ground level and completed cars emerged on the rooftop for testing.
We then visit the Museo dell’Automobile, one of the world’s oldest automobile museums, to take a closer look at the fascinating history of automotive design. You don’t have to be a car enthusiast to appreciate the interactive exhibits and extensive collection of almost 200 vehicles, some originating from the mid-19th century and even Great Britain.
Atop a hill overlooking Turin stands the spectacular Baroque Basilica of Superga, which we visit this morning. A masterpiece of architect Filippo Juvarra, the 18th-century church is part monument and part royal mausoleum for the Savoy family. Reputedly, it was commissioned by then duke and future king, Vittorio Amedeo II, fulfilling his vow to the Virgin after his army successfully defeated the French in the Battle of Turin. The imposing façade is flanked by bell towers, while the glorious interior is decorated with numerous fine paintings and carvings. A memorial plaque here honours the victims of the 1949 plane crash, which tragically claimed the lives of the city’s beloved football team. There’s time to admire the stunning views from the hilltop position, before we drive through the breathtaking Langhe, Italy’s premier wine region, to our next stop.
We arrive in charming Alba, a town of ancient Roman origins and a veritable gourmet paradise celebrated for its many delicious delights, such as exquisite white truffles and countless sweet creations by the confectioner, Ferrero. The region is also famous for its abundance of quality hazelnuts, used to make gianduja, which Ferrero later transformed into a delicious and creamy spreadable paste, loved by many and known today as Nutella. It’s lovely to wander the maze of cobbled streets here lined by colourful houses or perhaps visit the impressive 15th-century Gothic cathedral. Or follow the appetising aromas that permeate the air and sample some of Alba’s cuisine using the area’s excellent produce – it’s almost impossible to resist!
We then travel to the beautiful Italian countryside and visit a renowned vineyard, where we learn about winemaking in the region and enjoy a tasting after. The best wines of Piedmont, such as the popular Barbera d’Alba and refreshing Moscato d’Asti, come from the rolling Langhe hills.
This morning, we experience one of the largest royal residences in the world, the immense Venaria Reale palace complex, reminiscent of the Palace of Versailles in France. During our visit, we explore the majestic halls and splendid art of the UNESCO-listed palace, built as the hunting lodge of a Duke of Savoy. Observe the many exemplary examples of Baroque architecture: in the elegant Hall of Diana, the vast Great Gallery and the stunning Church of St Hubert. Then take a stroll in the impeccably landscaped gardens, and see the plants and wildlife that call them home.
Transfer to the airport for your return flight.
The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement. The price includes return flights, four nights’ accommodation with breakfast, all local taxes and transfers, all tours as mentioned, entrance to Venaria Reale and Automobile museum and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager.
Mole Antonelliana & National Cinema Museum - from £17 per person
Visit the Mole Antonelliana, Turin's architectural symbol, and take its panoramic glass lift 85m up to the panoramic terrace for astounding 360-degree views over the city and the surrounding Alps. You can also retrace the history of cinema at the National Cinema Museum, whose evocative displays spiral upwards through the Mole Antonelliana's incredible interiors.
Please call us on 01283 742 300 to pre-book this experience.
All transfer times listed here are approximate, and dependent on traffic. If you have a question regarding transfer times please don't hesitate to contact us.
|Airport||Hotel location||Transfer time|
|Turin Airport||Turin||30 mins|
|Milan Malpensa Airport||2 hrs|
We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to call us to discuss these concerns. General information on mobility in connection with our tours can be found here.
The use of air-conditioning in hotels in Italy is at the hotel’s discretion and is normally restricted to the summer months (mid-May to mid-September), depending on the temperature.