Torino Celebrates Olympic Heritage and Prepares for Expo 2015

As the 2014 Winter Olympics came to a close, the Italian Government Tourist Board hosted a reception this past week to bring industry insiders up to date on Torino, also called Turin, which hosted the Games in 2006. Since then, (according to statistics from Turismo Torino published in USA Today,) the visitor numbers and the surrounding Piedmont region have risen significantly: Torino saw more than a million visitors in 2012, while Piedmont saw more than 4 million.  

Piero Fassino, Torino’s mayor, welcomed the attendees to the reception and shared some of the city’s attributes, including museums dedicated to film, cars, industrial design, art and Egyptology. (The Egyptian Museum, the largest of its kind outside of Egypt, is due to emerge from renovation early next year.) The city is also notable for its festivals, including ones dedicated to film and jazz. The city is also connected to most of the other cities of Italy by high-speed train. 

Marcella Gaspardone, Marketing Director of the Turismo Torino e Provincia Convention & Visitors Bureau, shared some useful statistics on the city, and what it offers both individual travelers and groups. Nearly 200 five-star hotel rooms are available in Torino proper, she said, with another hundred in the surrounding areas. (More than 2,500 four-star hotel rooms are in the city proper as well.)

The city has plenty of cultural attractions as well, including the Teatro Regio, the Auditorium di Lingotto, the Auditorium (home to RAI's National Symphony Orchestra) or the 18th-century Carignano Theatre.

Expo 2015

Next year, Milan (which is less than an hour from Torino by high-speed train) will host Expo 2015 from the beginning of May to the end of October. Gaspardone said that Torino will offer special benefits and perks for visitors attending Expo 2015, including priority connections to get to Milan, special rates on private transfers and public transportation, reduced prices for main events and priority access to top museums in Torino.

Other notable events in Torino next year include the Winter World Master Games in spring, the reopening of the Egyptian Museum (currently slated for March 31), the Holy Shroud Exhibition from April to June, a visit from Pope Francis in May, the World Chambers Congress in June and the Italian Opera Festival by the Teatro Regio in July.

The city also has plenty of venues for both small- and large-scale events in its own right. The Oval Lingotto, an indoor arena in Torino, was built for use at the 2006 Winter Olympics and can seat 4,000 for a gala dinner. And major groups are taking note of the available space: In 2016, the city will host 3,000 delegates for the  International Federation of Landscape Architects.

Getting There

Torino Caselle International Airport is less than 10 miles from the city center, and has daily flights to most European cities. A direct bus links the airport to the city center, and a train links the airport to the GTT Dora Railway Station in 19 minutes. The Porta Nuova train station, meanwhile, is Italy's third-largest by passenger volume.