Reggia di Venaria Reale
Trace the history of Turin, Italy’s ‘first capital’, through visits to churches, galleries and palazzi, from an elegant base in the heart of the city
Visit the Palazzo Reale, with its Royal Armoury, Galleria Sabauda and chapel housing the Turin Shroud
Enjoy excursions out of the city to view masterpieces by Juvarra: the Basilica di Superga and Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi
"First class tour guide in Sarah who leaves no stone unturned to maximise and enhance guests’ enjoyment and understanding of the works displayed”
- ACE customer on a previous tour with Sarah Burles
The city of Turin is one of Italy’s hidden treasures. It has its own distinct character and unique style, a consequence of both its geography and history. It is now the capital of Piedmont, a region known for its fine food and wine, but gastronomy aside, Turin offers a feast for visitors in its art, architecture, history and culture.
Sitting between France and the other Italian states, Turin became the capital of the Duchy of Savoy in the 16th century and later the Kingdom of Sardinia. The Dukes of Savoy wanted a city that reflected their growing power and ambition. They employed leading Baroque architects such as Juvarra, Guarini and Vittone to design elaborate churches, grand palazzos and elegant piazzas. To walk into the Church of San Lorenzo, and look up into its soaring dome, is one of Turin’s many breathtaking architectural experiences.
The city’s status grew again in the 19th century when it became the intellectual and political centre of the Risorgimento movement and briefly the capital of the new Kingdom of Italy. A museum marking this pivotal moment in Italian history is housed in the Palazzo Carignano, which also celebrates the part played in the reunification by local hero Camillo Cavour.
In the 20th century, Turin was known as the Capitale dell’automobile (‘Capital of the car’). Fiat was founded here in 1899 and by 1916 the Lingotto factory was the largest in Europe. The building now has a different use: it is home to Giovanni and Marella Agnelli’s superb collection of paintings, displayed in a purpose-built gallery, Lo Scrigno, designed by Renzo Piano, sitting playfully on the roof.
Our itinerary of visits and walks will take us to the most important palazzi and churches in Turin, around its museums and galleries, and beyond the city to see two of Juvarra’s great masterpieces: the Basilica di Superga and the Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi. We will also travel into the Piedmont countryside, to discover the beautifully preserved late Gothic painted hall of the Castello della Manta and the medieval town of Saluzzo.
We will stay at Turin’s elegant five-star Grand Hotel Sitea, a smart, classically decorated property dating back to 1925. The hotel is ideally situated in the city, just a few minutes’ walk from the Palazzo Carignano, and provides a luxurious, relaxing and high quality base for our explorations of this fine city.
This tour will be led by Sarah Burles, MA, an expert in art history who studied at Cambridge University and University College London. She spent time living in Italy before going on to a career in museum and gallery education, including 12 years at the Fitzwilliam Museum. Sarah is an experienced tour leader and lecturer, accredited with the Arts Society, with a passion and enthusiasm for making museums and their collections accessible.
Included: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, six breakfasts, six dinners with wine, water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.
Not Included: travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £445.