The monumental Basilica di Superga, built in 1731, is one of the most unique churches in Turin and an excellent example of the baroque classical style. A must for architecture aficionados, the basilica is also fascinating for history buffs, as its Royal Crypt holds the tombs of the House of Savoy.
Victor Amadeus II, Duke of Savoy, commissioned the Basilica di Superga on the site of a hilltop chapel overlooking the city of Turin to celebrate the victory of Austrian troops—under the command of Prince Eugene of Savoy—over Franco-Spanish invaders in 1706. It took 25 years to finish the complex, which echoes a number of architectural elements of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and includes the church and cloister, royal crypt, and Hall of Popes. You'll marvel at the sheer scale, as this imposing monument to Savoyard power can be seen from miles around.
In addition to the church and crypt, visitors can tour the royal apartments and take the 131 steps to the top of the dome for sweeping views as far as the Alps. The Basilica di Superga is one of the most important churches in Turin, and a visit can easily be combined with a Turin walking tour that takes in other city highlights such as the Royal Palace, Piazza Castello, and Mole Antonelliana.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Basilica di Superga is free to enter, and visitors are required to wear modest clothing covering shoulders and knees.
- Tickets must be purchased to walk up the stairs to the top of the basilica’s dome. Be sure to bring your camera, as the view from here on a clear day stretches to the Alps.
- The royal apartments and royal crypt can only be viewed on a guided tour, and tickets must be purchased separately. Tours are in Italian unless otherwise arranged in advance.
- There is a restaurant and café inside the basilica complex.
- The dome is not accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
The Basilica di Superga can be reached on foot or via the Superga Funicular, which departs from the Sassi neighborhood and continues through Turin uphill to Superga.
When to Get There
Views from the Basilica di Superga are among the most spectacular in Turin, so time your visit for early morning or late afternoon on a clear day for the best photos. The basilica complex closes for a few hours at midday.
Turin’s Other Famous Church
The city of Turin is also home to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (Duomo di San Giovanni Battista), which contains the Holy Shroud of Turin (Sacra Sindone), one of the world’s most famous religious relics. The shroud is displayed on special occasions in the Chapel of the Holy Shroud, designed by Guarino Guarini in the 17th century to join the Duomo to the adjacent Royal Palace.