The Roman and Medieval City

The oldest part of the city, known as Quadrilatero**, preserves both in its name and in the layout of its streets the memory of the original Roman city of Augusta Taurinorum. This pedestrian area spreads around the north-south axis, “cardo”, nowadays via Porta Palatina, and the east-west axis, “decumanus maximus”, the modern via Garibaldi**. Redisigned by Juvarra, this is nowadays the longest pedestrian street in Torino and a busy shopping district. Even in the past it was an important commercial artery, as the profusion of craftsmen and small shops in the nearby via Barbaroux, via dei Mercanti and via Stampatori show. Via Garibaldi links two important squares, piazza Castello*** and Piazza Statuto*, the elegant and austere square, the name of which reminds of the Statuto Albertino released by King Carlo Alberto in 1848.

Traces of the squared city of the Roman settlement can be found in the remains of a theatre and the walls of the Porte Palatine**, one of the four original entrance doors of the Roman city, near Piazza S. Giovanni. Next to the archeological park, this square is dominated by the elegant marble facade of the cathedral, a Renaissance building connected to the Royal Palace by the Chapel of the Holy Shroud. The square and the area around it house a stratification of historic signs, from Baroque decoration to the Medieval windows and arches of the houses which frame largo IV Marzo. One of the most important remains of medieval ages is the Gothic Chiesa di San Domenico*. Another perfectly preserved example of medieval art in Torino is the bell tower of the baroque church Sant’Andrea, better known as Santuario della Consolata. A labyrinth of streets fans out from piazza Emanuele Filiberto, in back of Porta Palazzo** market square, the Europe’s largest open-air market. In the bottom right-hand corner of the square the old covered market known as Tettoia dell’Orologio (Roofed-market of the Clock) stands in marked contrast to the futuristic building to the left. On the opposite side of the square the indoor gallery Umberto I looks onto the market, with its elegant boutiques and nice cafes. Until recently considered dangerous and disputable, the area has been upgraded, transformed into the headquarters of young creativity and one of the most effervescent gathering places in town: a variety of restaurants, nightspots, boutiques, wine cellars and cocktail bars lead from one street to the next.
It is suggested to visit in this area the MAO** (Museum of Oriental Art), located in Via S. Domenico 11. The museum is devoted to the most important cultural and artistic traditions of the Asiatic continent and collect about 2200 artworks from different Asian countries.