Palazzo Reale

Top choice museum in Turin

Statues of the mythical twins Castor and Pollux guard the entrance to this eye-catching palace and, according to local hearsay, also watch over the magical border between the sacred and diabolical halves of the city. Built for Carlo Emanuele II around 1646, its lavishly decorated rooms complete with jaw-dropping coffered ceilings house an assortment of furnishings, porcelain, and other finery. The Giardino Reale, north and east of the palace, was designed in 1697 by André Le Nôtre, who also created the gardens at Versailles.

The Palazzo Reale ticket includes admission to a sprawling collection, including Greek and Roman archaeological treasures in the Museo di Antichità, a dazzling armoury hall and temporary shows in the Sala Chiablese. Also within the palace confines is the stunning Cappella della Sacra Sindone (Chapel of the Holy Shroud), a 17th-century architectural masterpiece that reopened in 2018 after being closed for some 30 years following a devastating fire. The religious relic (saved by firefighters from the flames) is today kept out of sight in the nearby Cattedrale di San Giovanni Battista.

If time is limited, focus on the Galleria Sabauda, the personal art collection of the Savoy monarchy. Amassed over 400 years, the trove includes works by Van Dyck, Rubens, Veronese and Rembrandt. On Thursdays from June to mid-October, admission is free from 5pm to 7pm.