One of the highlights of Turin has to be the Borgo Medievale! This stunning medieval village in Torino isn’t what it seems to be as it only dates back to 1884. This article will provide tips for visiting the Borgo Medievale for first-time visitors and a brief history of this fascinating (and free!) attraction with Turin!
There’s something about wandering through Park Valentino and coming upon Borgo Medievale after a relaxing stroll through one of Turin’s loveliest parks. As you approach the village, you wonder if you’ve been transported back in time. This was exactly the idea behind this gothic-style village, which was constructed in 1884.
Not everyone knows that Turin was the first capital of united Italy. During this period, Piedmont had a lot of influence. As part of a 1884 Turin Expo meant to show off the best of Turin, this romanticized medieval village was built in the middle of Turin to bring back the nostalgia for the medieval period and show off the artistic heritage of Piedmont. They did their best at the time to research the period in terms of art and architecture. The creators of the village only intended for it to last some years, only enough for the exhibition, but it still stands fully intact today!
One of the idealists behind the Borgo Medievale was Giuseppe Giacosa, the author of La Boheme and Madame Butterfly! He describes something quite similar within one of his plays, The Wager.
As you wander down its cobblestoned streets, you can imagine yourself retreating in time as you admire the little shops that line the path selling typical souvenirs. This part of the village is free to enjoy without a tour! It is striking how much effort the creators put into the villages to make it beautiful as well as realistic in terms of the construction techniques, the frescos, walls. My husband Jacob lived in Turin a few years ago and this was always one of his favorite places to wander through prior to getting apertivo at the nearby Fluido!
For an in-depth look into the period, you can pay a few euros to enter the Fortress, which is meant to represent a 15th-century castle from the period belonging to a Lord. From here, you’ll get a good view of the village from above. You’ll need to wait for a tour and credit cards are accepted as payment.
I recommend bringing a charged up phone and a camera as you’ll want to photograph this beautiful medieval recreated village. I recommend being aware of yourself as pickpocketing is an issue in Turin (and many other Northern Italian cities) and this is one of the favorite touristic spots in Turin.
It’s a reasonable walk on a nice day from Metro Nizzo, which passes through the hip neighborhood of San Salvario. It’s often referred to as the Jerusalem of Turin due to its many religious institutions. You can also stop off at Mara dei Boschi for delicious ice cream on your way on foot from Porto Nouvo as you explore the park and the village! (There are trams/buses that also stop fairly close to the village if you wish to avoid walking extra distances.) It is sadly not very handicap accessible.