Turin’s Duomo di San Giovanni Battista contains the Holy Shroud of Turin (Sacra Sindone), one of the world’s most famous and debated religious relics. Faithful and curious visitors from around the globe come to view this linen cloth believed by some to have been laid over Jesus’ body after his crucifixion.
The 15th-century Duomo di San Giovanni Battista adjoins the Royal Palace of Turin (Palazzo Reale) and is known primarily as home of the Holy Shroud of Turin. On the rare occasions that this relic is displayed to the public, it is housed in the Duomo’s Chapel of the Holy Shroud, which was designed by Guarino Guarini and added in the 17th century to join the Duomo to the Royal Palace.
Because it is fragile, however, the shroud is usually stored in a climate-controlled case and the church shows video footage of the original. A visit to the Duomo where the shroud is kept is included in most Turin small-group walking tours along with the Royal Palace, Piazza Castello, and Mole Antonelliana.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Public showings of the Holy Shroud of Turin are announced in advance; tickets sell out quickly and must be booked ahead of time.
- The Guarini Chapel is currently closed for restoration, and video footage of the shroud is being shown in another chapel inside the Duomo.
- Photographs are permitted inside the cathedral.
- Modest attire covering shoulders and knees is required to enter the church.
How to Get There
The Duomo di San Giovanni Battista is located in the Piazza Castello district, a short walk from the Porta Nuova train station. It’s easy to take a day trip to Turin from the nearby city of Milan via the high-speed train that runs between these two cities.
When to Get There
The Duomo is most crowded when the original Holy Shroud is on display; when video footage of the shroud is being shown, the church offers a quiet break from the bustle of Turin during the day.
Debate About the Shroud
The authenticity of the Holy Shroud has been debated by theologians and historians for centuries. Many have questioned the relic’s origins and the Catholic Church has yet to recognize the piece of cloth as the Holy Shroud officially, but the Duomo carefully preserves it in a climate-controlled case filled with a mix of argon and oxygen.