Turin Museums: What You Need To Know

July 27, 2023

Despite being considered a smaller city in Italy (although it’s actually the 4th largest city in the country), Turin offers a rich variety of museums, events, and restaurants. With over 40 museums and exhibition centers, plus an array of art galleries and antique stores, there’s always something going on.

An aerial view of Turin, Italy

Turin offers a wide range of fascinating museums and cultural curiosities to explore. Photo credit: Fabio Fistarol

Read along to discover our list of must-visit museums in Turin, plus helpful tips and useful insider knowledge.

General information about Turin Museums

Turin’s museum scene is a captivating blend of palaces repurposed into cultural centers following the royal family’s exile, plus scientifically significant collections like the Egyptian Museum. For ardent enthusiasts, the city is also home to niche museums dedicated to things like automobiles, cinema, and the iconic Italian coffee brand Lavazza, offering truly immersive experiences.

A light blue 1957 Buick displayed in the National Automobile Museum (Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile), located in Turin, Italy

A light blue 1957 Buick displayed in the Automobile Museum (Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile), located in Turin, Italy. Photo credit: Alexander Schimmeck

When planning your trip, keep in mind that many public museums in Turin (and Italy) are closed on Monday and can be subject to other special schedules.

…But one great thing?

Museums across Italy offer free admission on the first Sunday of the month (*While this can be a great deal for your budget, it also does mean there is often a long line, so plan accordingly!)

Given that Turin is a smaller city than say Rome or Milan, you’ll typically encounter shorter lines on most other days, except for the Museum of Cinema and the Egyptian Museum (advance booking is recommended).

For the rest of the museums, you can simply show up and purchase tickets on-site.

Free Admission to Turin Museums

If you know that you’ll be visiting more than one museum in Turin, or you plan on staying a bit longer, it’s worth considering a museum card for the best value.

Two options we recommend:

Torino+Piemonte Card

  • Card can be validated for 1-5 days, with prices set accordingly
  • Available at the Tourism office of Turin
  • Guaranteed free admission: Egyptian Museum, Royal Museums, Palazzo Madama, Superga Basilica, Castello di Rivoli Contemporary Art Museum, Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Museo d’Arte Orientale, Automobile Museum, Venaria Reale, and more.
  • Reduced price: Elevator to the top of the Mole Antonelliana, the funicular up to Superga, and more.
  • Can be combined with a transportation ticket to cover bus and tram rides for two or three days
  • Official website (In Italian)

Abbonamento Musei: Museum Subscription

  • Subscription grants year-long access to nearly every museum and cultural center in the Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta region
  • Subscriptions also available for the Lombardy region
  • Discounts offered for individuals under 26 years old and over 65
  • Official website (In Italian)

Turin Museums You Can’t Miss

Egyptian Museum

It’s impossible to talk about the museums of Turin without mentioning the renowned Egyptian Museum (Museo Egizio). This is one of the oldest and most important museums dedicated to Ancient Egyptian art and culture in the world. In fact, it has the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts outside of Egypt (move over, British Museum)!

Tomb painting inside Turin's Egyptian Museum

Tomb painting at the Egyptian Museum in Turin from Gebelein, 1st Intermediate Period, 2118-1980 BCE. Photo credit: Richard Mortel

The collection started taking shape in the early 19th century when Carlo Felice, the king of Piedmont-Sardinia, acquired a significant assortment of Egyptian antiquities from Bernardino Drovetti, the French consul-general in Egypt. In 1824, Carlo Felice established the Royal Museum of Antiquities to house the collection.

Over the years, the museum has grown significantly, with many new acquisitions and donations from various collectors and scholars. It now houses over 30,000 artifacts, including mummies, statues, funerary objects, and papyri.

Today, the Egyptian Museum of Turin is considered one of the most important institutions for the study and preservation of Ancient Egyptian art and culture and attracts visitors from all over the world.

Venaria Reale

Technically just outside of Turin, Venaria Reale (La Venerìa) is just too beautiful to skip. You can reach it by public transport or with an express bus from the city center to the palace.

The Venaria Reale is a former royal palace built in the 17th century. It was once used as a hunting lodge and a place to host lavish parties and events. In fact, sometimes the city still organizes excellent events and concerts within the palace’s elegant halls.

A view inside a main hall of the Venaria Reale showing a black and white checkered floor and a grand piano.

The Venaria Reale palace is an exquisite example of Baroque architecture. Photo credit: Enrica Tancioni

During the 19th century, it fell into disrepair and was used as a military barracks, then was abandoned entirely. In the 1970s, a restoration project was launched to restore the palace and its gardens to their former glory. Over the years, the palace was expanded and renovated by various members of the House of Savoy, including Victor Amadeus II.

In 1997, the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy were officially declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Today, the Venaria Reale is a major cultural center, featuring museums, temporary exhibitions, and events. Visitors can purchase a ticket to the gardens, the palace, and the various exhibitions, or a combination ticket to experience it all!

A view of the Venaria Reale building and gardens located in Turin, Italy

The Venaria Reale Palace (Reggia di Venaria) is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photo credit: Daniela Holzer

Local tip: If you’re just looking to enjoy the outdoors and are traveling on a budget, check out the next-door Parco della Mandria. This is an extension of the Venaria, and the area once used for hunting. It’s a great place for a walk or picnic!

The National Automobile Museum

The Automobile Museum of Turin (Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile di Torino) is intriguing even if you’re not a self-proclaimed car enthusiast.

The National Automobile Museum of Turin is primarily dedicated to the history of the Italian automotive industry. Established in 1932 by two passionate car enthusiasts, Cesare Goria Gatti and Roberto Biscaretti di Ruffia, its mission was to safeguard and celebrate the legacy of Italian automobile engineering.

A view of the National Automobile Museum (Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile), located in Turin, Italy

Turin’s National Automobile Museum (Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile) features over 200 iconic vehicles. Photo credit: Tomas Martinez

The Automobile Museum of Turin is considered one of the most important automotive museums in the world and attracts visitors from all over the globe. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum hosts temporary exhibitions, events, and educational activities for car enthusiasts of all ages.

However, this museum goes beyond just the mechanics of car design and shares the history of the automobile in a greater cultural context, too.

Local tip: If you’re a big fan of cars, a must-visit destination is Lingotto, the historic FIAT factory. Here you can even access the rooftop racetrack once used to test drive new FIAT vehicles!

A portion of the car test track at the FIAT car factory in the Lingotto area of Turin, Italy.

Turino’s FIAT car factory allowed new cars to be tested directly on their rooftop test track. Photo credit: Arno Senoner

National Museum of Cinema

The National Museum of Cinema (Museo Nazionale del Cinema) in Turin finds its home in the iconic Mole Antonelliana, which beautifully defines the city’s skyline. Beyond showcasing Italian cinema, this museum holds a position of global significance, being one of the most important institutions dedicated to the history of cinema worldwide.

The museum was designed with a series of dramatic spaces that showcase the history of cinema in a visually stunning way. It’s very interactive and made to entertain visitors of all ages.

Rows of seats inside a cinema

The National Museum of Cinema is one of the most important museums dedicated to the history of cinema in the world. Photo credit: Denise Jans

Today, the National Museum of Cinema is one of the most visited museums in Turin, attracting film lovers from all over the world. The museum’s collection includes over 35,000 items, including films, posters, photographs, and memorabilia from the early days of cinema to the present day.

The Royal Palace of Turin

The Royal Palace of Turin (Palazzo Reale di Torino) was the primary home to the Royal Savoy family from their time as dukes to their time as kings, up until their exile in 1946. Almost instantly after their departure, the palace was transformed into a museum. Today in addition to the royal apartments there are a number of museums inside which share private collections of the Savoy family. You’ll find:

  1. The Museum of Archaeology and Ancient Art: This museum showcases a collection of ancient art, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. It houses many of the ancient findings discovered in the area of the Palace.
  2. The Sabauda Gallery: This art gallery features a collection of paintings from the House of Savoy’s private collection, including works by Italian, Flemish, and Dutch artists.
  3. The Royal Armory: A hall dedicated to the elegant armor of the Savoy family.
A view inside one of the prominent halls of the The Royal Palace of Turin displaying statues of knights on horses and a ceiling with a detailed painting of angels.

Inside the Turin Royal Palace, you’ll find the Royal Armoury (Armeria Reale), boasting one of the largest and most impressive collections of arms and armor in Europe. Photo credit: Naval S.

In addition to these museums, the Royal Palace of Turin also hosts temporary exhibitions and cultural events throughout the year. Visitors can explore the palace’s diverse rooms and halls, including the opulent Throne Room and the Royal Apartments adorned with luxurious furnishings and decorations from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Insider’s tips:

  • Tickets are sold to include all these internal museums, so don’t worry about missing out on any of them.
  • If strolling through historical halls isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy the beauty of the Royal Gardens for free.

Looking for even more tips about Turin? Check out our Insider’s Guide to Turin for more information about museums and palaces, plus parks, food and more!

Also, if you’re spending time in Milan, don’t miss Pinacoteca di Brera: The Best Art Museum You’ve Never Heard Of.

by Evelyn Hill

View more by Evelyn ›

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