Named after its architect Allesandro Antonelli, the Mole Antonelliana is Turin’s tallest building and most famous landmark. Elegantly constructed in Neo Classical style, each floor is supported by stone columns and detailed entablature, in a layer cake effect. Over the main building towers a square masonry dome and this is
topped by an even higher tall and slender pillared tower stretching to its precarious summit at 167.5m.
The Mole was commissioned in 1863 by Turin’s Jewish community, as a monumental Synagogue appropriate to Turin’s then status as capital city of the new United Kingdom of Italy. However after 16 years and massively over budget the Jewish community pulled out and the city stepped in to enable its final completion it in 1889.
The Mole was (and still would be) the tallest masonry building in the world until a storm in 1953 damaged the top 47m, this was replaced by stone clad metal, so it can no longer claim this title.
Today the building houses Italy’s National Museum of Cinema and it appears on the Italian 2 cent coin. You can travel straight up the buildings open centre in a glass lift reaching a viewing platform at 95m up in the tower, which gives a vertiginous 360° panorama of Turin.
The worlds oldest Egyptian Museum established in 1824 which has since grown to become the worlds largest. The museum is housed in a 17th Century Baroque extravaganza built by monk architect Guarino Guarini, called the Palace of the Academy of Science. This was originally built as a Jesuit boarding school and is an interesting building in its own right, with an elaborate pillared exterior and large decadent rooms inside.
There are over 30,000 exhibits which notably include The Rock temple of Ellesyia from 15th century B.C gifted by Egypt to Italy, two big statues of Sphinxes, richly painted statues of Ramses II, mummies, funerary objects, a Papyrus “Book of the Dead”, utensils, weapons and objects of everyday use giving an idea of life in ancient Egypt. Turin’s Egyptian museum contains both the captivating history of Egypt as well as capturing some of the atmosphere of when the first archaeological pieces were collected.
The museum was founded by motoring enthusiasts in 1932 and today has 200 cars from eighty manufacturers. The museum displays the history of the automobile, from steam run carriages to flashy formula one racing cars and its transformation from a means of transport to an object of worship. The museums building was purpose built in 1960 and has recently undergone a €33 million 4 year restoration to produce an extraordinary contemporary building, with simple modern lines mixed with hi-tech futuristic elements to provide an exciting and dramatic setting.
The Sanctuary of our Lady of Consolation is a beautiful Catholic Basilica venerating Turin’s ancient Madonna della Consolata. Considered by many to be Turin’s most beautiful church, it is certainly Turin’s oldest, with recorded history from the 10th Century.
The church originated in the 5th century when Bishop Maximus built a chapel here on a Pagan Temple, which in turn had been built on a Roman tower the foundations of which can be seen in the present churches side. In the 10th Century Monks expelled from the Susa Valley constructed a Romanesque brick church here from which the cloister and bell tower survives, this was extended by the Benedictines in the 16th century and has since seen three significant phases of enlargement in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries to give the complex and beautiful building of today.