Get a taste of Savoy wealth and power by visiting the Royal Church of San Lorenzo (Real Chiesa di San Lorenzo), adjacent to the Royal Palace in Turin. Dating from the 17th century, this baroque jewel has ornate interiors covered in art, gilt, and marble—all topped by a soaring dome. The high altar is considered among the most exquisite in Italy.
The sumptuous Royal Church of San Lorenzo (Real Chiesa di San Lorenzo) is included in most Turin small-group walking tours along with the Duomo, Royal Palace, and Piazza Castello. No tour of the former ruling house of Savoy’s architectural landmarks in Turin is complete without a stop at the church, located just off Piazza Castello in the heart of the formal royal district. The church was built around a pre-existing chapel, still visible near the entrance, for the Dukes of Savoy, designed by master architect Guarino Guarini. Its plain, pastel-hued facade hides stunning baroque interiors, laid out in a Greek cross plan and lined with beautiful chapels.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Photography is permitted inside the chapel.
- Modest attire covering shoulders and knees is required to enter the church.
- The sacristy contains a small museum dedicated to the Holy Shroud, housed in the adjacent Duomo.
- The church is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
How to Get There
The Royal Church of San Lorenzo is located near the entrance to the Royal Palace in the Piazza Castello district, a short walk from the Porta Nuova train station. It’s easy to take a day trip to Turin via high-speed train from the nearby city of Milan.
When to Get There
The Royal Church of San Lorenzo closes at midday, so is best visited in the morning or late afternoon. The church and the Royal Palace are especially busy with visitors on weekends and holidays; tour on weekdays to avoid the crowds.
Highlights of the Royal Church of San Lorenzo
The fanciful interiors of the Royal Church of San Lorenzo are decorated floor-to-ceiling with baroque ornamentation, including the eight elaborate side chapels covered in seraphim and gilding. The central cupola is decorated with an 8-pointed star, the signature flourish of Guarini, while the extravagant high altar has an inlaid marble floor and gilt-and-marble columns and cherubs, as well as statues of the ruling Savoy family and a portrait of San Lorenzo, the patron saint of Turin.