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More than 70 million passengers pass through Turin’s Porta Nuova Rail Station annually, making it the third busiest in Italy. The station is one of the principal gateways to the delights of Turin and the Alps that rise majestically on the north and west sides of it. Many tourists use hotels near the station as a base for sightseeing as attractions such as Piazza Castello, the landmark Mole Antonelliana and the 15th century Turin Cathedral are in walking range. Trips to more distant sights are easier with the convenience offered by car hire.
Who to Book With
Leading Italian rental firm Maggiore maintains a service booth on the concourse and its own car park adjacent to the station’s public one. Avis and Hertz are two of the other international companies with offices in Turin and are complemented by local ones such as AutoGiacosa. Searching online offers the best rates for all of the Turin Rail Station hire firms.
Best Time to Go
Turin itself is hot and balmy during the summer months and this is probably the best time to come. August is busy and prices of hire vehicles and accommodation peak during the month. Spring and autumn tend to be quite wet. The winter months from early December onwards are best for skiers heading to alpine resorts such as Claviere in the area known as the Milky Way.
Need to Know Essentials
Rental companies require hirers to present the following when they pick up their vehicles:
- UK residents need their national driving licences. Non-EU nationals also need International Driving Permits
- A passport or other photographic ID
- The credit or debit card used at the time the booking was made
- A paper copy of the reservation confirmation.
Italian drivers tend to be forceful and, as is the case with most large Italian cities, driving in Turin is not the easiest task to undertake. Driving is more pleasant on rural routes and motorways in the region. The Tangenziale Nord skirts the west side of Turin and links to the A4, A5, A32, A55 and A6 motorways. There are lots of car parks in the city centre. Ones close to the station include Corso Spezia and Piazza Arbarello. There is also Blue Zone on-street parking. Parking costs €2.50 (£2.15) per hour in the central ZTL district and €1.50 (£1.30) an hour outside it. Tickets are available from attendants, machines and designated outlets such as the GTT office on Turin Rail Station. Drivers need to place the tickets on their dashboards.
Check our Guide to driving in Italy for more details on driving conditions.
Turin boasts a comprehensive public transport system with one metro line, eight tram routes and more than 100 urban and regional bus services. Gruppo Torinese Trasporti (GTT) operates all of the services. There are taxi ranks at key locations, but taxi is not the cheapest means of travel, with fares exceeding those in the UK. The main city centre sights are best explored on foot. Car rentals for longer trips give the freedom to explore at your leisure.
Trains and trams
Porta Nuova Metro Station is located at the rail station and is on Turin’s only current metro line. The line runs between Fermi and Lingotto. GTT also manages the airport rail link from Dora Rail Station to the city’s Caselle Airport as well as city rail lines to outlying suburbs. The tram lines connect central locations to nearby suburbs. Apart from the airport link, single journey tickets are €1.50 (£1.30). Day use tourist tickets giving unlimited travel on the GTT network are €5 (£4.30). Passengers need to pre-purchase tickets from vending machines and tobacconists’ and punch them when they board trains or buses.
Turin buses travel outwards from the city centre to the suburbs. Buses are useful for visitors wishing to travel from one side of the centre to another as the €1.50 (£1.30) single tickets are valid on any bus for 90 minutes from the time they are first stamped. Inspectors are vigilant and check tickets to ensure they have not expired.
Taxis wait at ranks outside the rail station as well as at locations such as Piazza Vittorio Veneto. Drivers do not usually stop if hailed down in the street. The minimum fare is €3.5 (£3.00) and each kilometre (0.625 mile) costs an extra €1.44 (£1.20). There is also a €0.50 (£0.42) surcharge for each bag. Pronto Taxi (telephone +39 11 3138500) is one of the bigger firms operating in Turin.
Located at the foot of the Alps, Turin is the perfect start point for trips into the mountains when driving a car rental. Saint Michael’s Abbey, castles including Rivoli and Racconigi, and Gran Paradiso National Park are among interesting destinations for excursions. The historic town of Aosta sits in a picturesque Alpine valley and boasts landmarks which include the Leper's Tower and a well preserved Roman theatre.
Sacra di San Michele - St Michael’s Abbey sits atop Mt Pirchiriano and provides stunning views over the Susa Valley and the Alps. Parts of the abbey are 1,000 years old. The lofty 40-metre high facade, the Stairway of the Dead and the 12th century Porta dello Zodiaco sculpture are among the treasures of the abbey.
Gran Paradiso National Park – This pristine national park is just south of Aosta and is a delight for activity and nature enthusiasts. Stately peaks, translucent lakes and wildlife such as the Alpine ibex make a visit worthwhile. Hiking trails meander through the park. The views from the summit of Gran Paradiso are simply amazing.
Rivoli Castle – The castello is a few miles west of Turin and is a good stopover on trips into the Alps. Rivoli dates from the Middle Ages and was formerly a Savoy royal residence. Nowadays, it is a modern art museum with 38 chambers housing works by Max Neuhaus, Michelangelo Pistoletto and around 100 more contemporary artists.