Turin - Antiquity, art & architecture in the City of Four Rivers

Prices from £1,990


1 Apr 2019 - 6 Apr 2019
Duration: 5 nights
Ref: 19TURI
With: Dr Eireann Marshall


Prices from £1,990
Single Supplement: £250
Deposit: £200

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Turin, one of the most overlooked gems of Italy, nestles quietly in the north-west corner of the country, hugged by the Alps which appear at the end of many of the streets in its Roman street network. Although the city often falls far behind its more popular Italian counterparts in the tourist stakes, it is rich in cultural, architectural and archaeological gems. Furthermore, the wider region of Piedmont is rich in gastronomic delights and the thriving café culture of Turin is testament to this.

A city of contrasts, from its Roman monuments to state-of-the-art buildings like the Intesa San Paolo tower, it hosts a spectacular range of architectural styles, from the Renaissance and Baroque to Art Nouveau. It is a city of fabulous art galleries and stunning piazze, shaped and adorned, largely between the 16th and 18th centuries, by the Savoy family who became the royal family of Italy after the Risorgimento. This new Art Pursuits Abroad tour will offer a broad introduction to an underappreciated city, that is no less spectacular for it.


DAY 1:

Morning flight at c. 10.30 am from London Heathrow to Milan with BA. Transfer by private coach to our hotel before a pre-dinner exploration of nearby Piazza Castello, Turin’s central square, lined with theatres, museums and cafes.

DAY 2:

In the morning we leave Turin and travel south, to the exquisite Castello di Racconigi, one of the residences of the Royal House of Savoy. Today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, earliest records of the castle date back to the year 1000, although it was in the late 17th century that the existing fortress was transformed into the resplendent pleasure palace that is seen today. We continue to the Romanesque Abbey of Staffarda, one of the most complete mediaeval monastic complexes remaining in Italy. In the afternoon, we return to Turin in order to visit one of Italy’s finest collections of art, namely the collections of the Galleria Sabauda — built up over the centuries by the Savoy family — in its new setting of the Royal Palace.

DAY 3:

Our first visits this morning take in the impressive Roman antiquities quite close to our hotel — Porta Palatina, the city’s imposing Roman gate is one of the best-preserved Roman gateways in the world, and the Roman theatre. The Turin Shroud is of course the city’s most famous attraction and our next stop will take us to the Duomo, where the shroud is housed in the Cappella della Sacra Sindone, restored and recently reopened, 21 years after the fire in 1997. Returning once more to Piazza Castello, we will visit the Palazzo Madama, built to house the widows of the House of Savoy but now home to three floors of priceless works belonging to the Savoy’s art collection.

DAY 4:

A morning at the elegant Villa della Regina on the far side of the Po. Built in the 17th century on the hillside overlooking the city, the villa has enjoyed UNESCO World Heritage Site status since 1997, and the interior with its frescoes, the vineyard, and the gardens, have been beautifully restored. In the afternoon, we visit what is perhaps the most important Egyptian museum in the world outside Egypt, the Museo Egizio. Highlights of the vast collection include the contents of the Tomb of Kha, tomb builder to the pharaohs, and the Turin Royal Canon, or Turin King List, the most important and extensive documentation of Egyptian royal succession compiled by the ancient Egyptians themselves.

DAY 5:

We venture outside the city by private coach to visit La Venaria Reale, the finest of the pleasure palaces built by the Savoys, known as ‘Le Delizie’, and often compared by Italians to Versailles. We will explore not only the palace but also its extensive gardens and elaborate kitchen garden, known as ‘Le Potager Royal’. Return to Turin for some free time before a farewell dinner together in a famous old Torinese restaurant.

DAY 6:

Before bidding the city farewell, we enjoy a final stroll from Piazza Castello to the baroque Palazzo Carignano, seat of the first Italian Parliament, now restored and open to the public, and onto the elegant 17th-century Piazza San Carlo. We then we depart Turin for Milan airport, where our early afternoon flight to London Heathrow is scheduled to land at c. 3.00pm.

Please note that at this stage the programme is still provisional. Although we aim at the greatest degree of accuracy from the outset, some details, especially the order of visits, may be subject to change.


Specific fitness requirements for this Study Tour:

This tour involves a lot of walking, mostly on pavements, but sometimes on uneven ground and up and down steps. Museum and church visits require prolonged periods of standing without the possibility of a rest. Coach journeys generally do not exceed one and a half hours.

Please note that all our Study Tours involve a significant amount of standing and walking, often across uneven ground, over cobbled streets, or up and down steps and inclines. While we do not have an upper age limit for participants, we require you to have a level of fitness which does not spoil other participents' enjoyment of the holiday and you should be able to walk at a reasonable pace and / or stand for at least thirty minutes without aid or requiring a rest.

If you are in any doubt as to whether a particular tour is suitable for you, please ring us to check before placing your booking.


Twin/double share: £1990 per person
Double room for sole use supplement: £250
Price of the tour without flights: £1890 per person
Deposit: £200 per person


  • Scheduled return flights (economy class) with BA from London Heathrow to Milan Linate
  • Five nights B&B in the four-star Hotel TownHouse70
  • Transfers between airport and hotel and excursions by private coach
  • Two dinners and one lunch
  • Services of the lecturers
  • Guided visits to all sites listed in the programme
  • Services of the lecturer and a tour manager
  • Detailed programme and study notes
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and gratuities for coach drivers and waiters
  • Small group between 12 and 22 participants


  • Transport between home and London Heathrow
  • Travel insurance. We strongly advise you to be covered by adequate travel insurance

Hotel TownHouse 70****

Set in a renovated historic building, in the restricted-traffic area of Turin, near to Piazza Castello and the Via Roma. Inside the decor is chic modern, with soft colours and minimalist design.


  • Free WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Flat screen satellite television
  • Telephone
  • Safe
  • Minibar
  • Tea and coffee making facilities
  • Hairdryer


Relax in a comfortable armchairs in one of the lounges or relax on the hotel’s private terrace on the first floor.