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Things to do in Torino

    Cathedral & the Holy Shroud Cathedral Turin & Holy Shroud Torino, Italy
    The Turin Cathedral is the main Roman Catholic church of the city of Turin, Italy, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, the church was built between 1491 and 1498 and sits next to the campanile built in 1470. Campanile means bell tower in Italian. The chapel of the Holy Shroud was constructed onto the church in 1668 to 1694 and houses the world famous Shroud of Turin. The church is sitting on the spot that once held the theater of the ancient Roman city, and the original Christian sacred house had three churches that were dedicated to the Holy Savior, Saint Mary of Domino and St. John the Baptist. Some believe that the consecration was completed by Agilulf, the Lombard King of Northern Italy from 591 to 613. In 662 AD, Garibald, the Duke of Torino was murdered in the church by a follower of Godeport, who thought that Garibald had taken a part in. Between 1490 and 1492, the three churches were destroyed and a new cathedral dedicated to St. John the Baptist started in 1491 under the designer Amedeo de Francisco de Settignano, who was also called Meo del Caprino, completing it in just seven years. The bell tower remained and is still there today, a stark difference to the church. Filippo Juvarra modified the church during the 17th century and Pope Leo X made it a metropolitan see in 1515. In 1649, a decision was made to increase the size of the cathedral to make it more elaborate for the shroud when Bernardino Quadri came to the site from Rome at the court of Duke Charles Emmanuel II of Savoy. Quadri's design changes had been based on a previous design by Carlo di Castellamonte, which called for an oval chapel to be constructed behind the choir area. Guarino Guarini was commissioned to finish the project in 1667. In 1694, the dome was finally finished by Marie Jeanne of Savoy, Charles II's widow, after languishing along for 28 years. The cathedral is the burial site of Piergiorgio Frassati, Turin native and athlete, who had helped the poor during his short time here, from 1901 to 1925, and was called the saint for the youth of the Third Millennium and beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1990. When the chapel of the holy shroud that sat behind the cathedral was being rejuvenated in 2009, the shroud was moved into a small chapel inside the cathedral. The shroud of Turin is a linen cloth that bears the image of a man who looks like he suffered physical trauma in a manner that was considered to be consistent with crucifixion. It is located in the royal chapel of the cathedral, with the origin still uncertain. It has also been the cause of a great debate between theologians, researchers, historians and scientists, with some believing that it is the actual cloth that had been placed on the body of Jesus Christ when he was buried in the sepulcher, and the face is the Holy Face of Jesus. Some believe that it was made in the Middle Ages, with the Roman Catholic church not formally saying one way or the other. However, Pope Pius XII, in 1958, approved of the image in association with the Roman Catholic devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus. The image on the shroud can be seen much clearer when looked at in a negative, first observed in May, 1898, on the reverse photographic plate of an amateur photographer named Secondo Pia. He was quite fortunate to be able to photograph it while it was being displayed in the cathedral. Then in 1978, a detailed examination was done by a team of American scientists called STURP, and found no evidence of forgery, stating that the creation of the image would remain a mystery forever. A radiocarbonHoly Shroud of Turin, Italy dating test was done on a small sample of the shroud in 1988 at the University of Arizona, the University of Oxford and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, all three concluding that the shroud had been created during the Middle Ages, about AD 1260 and 1390. There have been two peer-reviewed articles printed that believe the samples used for the testing were not representative of the entire shroud. There have been many books written that give various ideas and arguments for the authenticity and plausible methods of the shroud, but so far no one is really sure, and is still one of the most studied relics in human history and certainly the most controversial.

    Egyptian Museum
    Egyptian Museum Torino, ItalyThe Museo Egizio or Egyptian Museum is found in Turin, Italy, focusing on Egyptian anthropology and archaeology, containing the world's biggest and most complete collection of
    Egyptian antiquities that exist outside of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, welcoming 554,911 people there in 2006. The first artifact that came to Turin which was associated with Egypt, was the Mensa Isiaca in 1630, which was an altar table copied after the Egyptian style, that Dulu Jones suggested might have been made for a Roman temple to Isis. The unique and strange relic intrigued King Carlo Emmanuele III to commission botanist Vitaliano Donati to visit Egypt in 1753 and try to procure some items from its history. He came back with 300 items that had been recovered from Coptos and Karnak, and these became the heart of the Turin collection. King Carlo Felice was able to acquire the Drovetti Collection in 1824 that contained 5,268 relics that included mummies, stelae, 170 papyri, 100 statues and many other pieces that the French general consul had accumulated during his stay in Egypt. That year, Jean-Francois Champollion would use the papyri to test his hopeful break through in deciphering the hieroglyphic writing and the amount of time that he spent in Turin studying the texts created a legend that involved the mysterious disappearance of the Papiro Regio, that would be discovered much later, but with some parts missing. They tried using a parapsychologist to find them in 1950, but he was unable. Piedmontese Giuseppe Sossio's collection of more than 1200 relics was added in 1833, and then complemented and completed with the marvelous findings of Egyptologist Ernesto Sciaparelli, when he went to Egypt to excavate during the years of 1900 and 1920. The last significant acquisition was the small tempe of Ellesiya, that the Egyptian government gave to Italy for its help during the Nubian monument salvage campaign that happened during the 1960s.

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Local Restaurants in Torino

    Appetizers; fried courgette blossom stuffed with mozzarella & ricotta in light pesto; vegetable strudel with lemon caramel; caramelized octopus with potatoes & eggplant with capers & pepper; thin sliced veal marinated on little green salad; marinated rabbit in Piedmontese style; smoked chicken salad with spinach & cherry tomatoes; marinated salmon carpaccio with raspberry vinegar; squids sautéed with lemon & sage; panzanella Tuscan bread salad with avocado & prawns. First Course; gnocchi with curry with shrimps & pine nuts; fresch spaghetti with olives, fresh tomato & mozzarella; aubergines lasagna with mozzarella & basil; risotto with courgette blossom & basil cream; fresh penne with white grouper & lemon; fish soup with croutons; matialgliati with clams & pesto; smoked mozzarella ravioli sautéed with tomato & basil. Main Courses; breaded tuna with ginger & veggies; salmon escalope with fennel puree and lemon; brains & fried courgettes; pork fillet on braised cabbage & Greek yogurt sauce; duck breast with honey & chili; fassone veal fillet with foie gras & vin santo sauce; roasted veal loin with juniper; rabbit leg stuffed with arneis wine; small marinated Milanese with warm courgette blossom; mixed grilled veggies.

    The Grande Carte
    Appetizers; marinated salmon with dill, crab meat & broccoli; fillets of monkfish & salt cod with lentil in extra old vinegar; loin of deer smoked with juniper, Valerian salad & raspberry vinegar; culaccua cold cut with pear & cheese salad; row & cooked goose. Home made pasta, rice & soups; pumpkin soup with row ham & scallops; home ricotta dumplings with tuna, rabbit & olives; home made traditional agnolotti; maccheroni pasta with bra sausage & red wine sauce; creamy risotto with artichokes & parmesan cheese. Fish & Meat Main Courses; grilled fillet of sea bass; sautéed fillets of sole with mushrooms, potatoes & black truffle; veal entrecote with mustard sauce & Armagnac; roasted lamb chops with stewed artichokes & mint; braised beef with potato pudding flavored with truffle & glazed onions; roasted beef fillet with barbaresco wine sauce & foie gras. 

Salmon Carpaccio Arcadia Turin, Italy


Duck Breast Arcadia Turin, Italy



 Roasted Lamb Chops Grande Carte Turin, Italy

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    Santuario Basilica La Consolata  Santuario Basilica La Consolata Turin, Italy
    The Consolata Shrine, official name is the Church of St. Mary of Consolation, is a Catholic church sitting in the city of Turin, Italy and believed to be one of the most significant shrines of the city and diocese, as well as the masterpiece of Baroque in Piedmont. Many great architects were involved in its construction, including Carlo Ceppi, Guarino Guarini and Filippo Juvarra and it one of the most loved churches in the state of Piedmont and dedicated to Mary, also called the comforter. On the entrance there is inscribed a Latin line saying, "consolatrix afflictorum" which means comforter of the afflicted, which many believe should make the church's name "the Sanctuary of the Comforter" instead of consolata which would mean that those who came here were the ones comforting Mary instead of the other way around. It must be something in the translation. The old city of Augusta Taurinorum contained four towers located on the four corners of the city's Roman walls, and the remnant of one tower can still be seen behind the sanctuary today. The devotion began when an icon of Mary was found and is still preserved inside the sanctuary. The legend behind this, since there aren't any real documents to substantiate this, says that the icon had been there since the 4th century in an earlier church that was dedicated to St. Andrew and was lost; but a blind man from Briancon received his sight back so that he could find it and return it, in 1104, some 7 centuries later. The history of the church is told in two documents that are still found in the church and these are the Chronicon Novalicense and Chronic Fruttania, with the first one written in the 11th century and the second from the 13th century. Once the statue had been recovered and the miracle told, the church of St. Andrew was rejuvenated and the icon returned to its former place. This present church is merely an extension onto that prior church, with Madama Reale Maria Giovanna Battista of Savoy-Nemours commissioning Guarino Guarini creating the new nave for St. Andrew's and today is the elliptical body or heart of the sanctuary. The renovations were completed in 1703, under the leadership of Antonio Bertola, and three years later, the basilica became the most important force for faith and religion in the city when it was besieged by the French in 1706. Because of its geographical location during that siege, the sanctuary was heavily bombed but it would still stay intact, and on the outer side wall, there is a plaque attesting to the heavy bombing and miraculous results that left the church intact and in great shape considering the pounding it took. Philip Juvarra would then renovate the interior in 1729, and then Carlo Ceppi completed the works that had continued until the mid 19th century.

    Armeria Reale
    Armeria Reale Turin, ItalyThe Armeria Reale of Royal Armoury that is found in Turin, Italy is one of the finest and best collections of weapons in the world today, opening in 1837 under Carlo Alberto, in the Palazzo Real. The collection was started in 1833, just after the Royal Picture Gallery was opened, that is now called the Savoy Gallery by Carlo Alberto. The building had been the gallery of paintings and other relics, but after the new gallery was opened and the old one emptied out of paintings, Alberto started filling it with weapons that had been collected by Savoy's King. The king had decided he wanted to showcase the huge collection of weapons that had been collected and preserved by the kings of Savoy, so he commanded Roberto d'Azeglio, the former director of the Royal Picture Gallery, to work with Vittorio Seissel d'Aix, to move the paintings to the new gallery and help with the conversion of the gallery into a weapons museum. But when Vittorio had other ideas as to what should happen, Roberto gave up and went back to taking care of the picture gallery in its new location. The armory collection includes the weapons and armor previously collected by Carlo Emmanuel I, which had a big part of it destroyed in two different fires during the mid17th century; but there were still many excellent examples of swords, firearms and armor, along with many very valuable medieval weapons that had belonged to the Savoy kings during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Included in some of the most significant items belonging to the collections is the jousting armor of Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, the armor of Otto Heinrich of Bavaria and the horse armor of Carlo Emanuele I. There is a beautiful collection of colorful flags of the Savoy and Italian armies containing about 250 and the eastern section is filled with weapons and armor as well. Inside the museum, parts of the staircase, along the walled area is Alfieri's mural painting done in 1740, and in the rotunda there are more paintings done in 1842, and inside the Galleria Beaumont, there is a beautiful mural that tells the Stories of Aeneas done in 1733 and the Medal painted in 1839.

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    Royal PalaceRoyal Palace Turin, Italy
    The Royal Palace of Turin or the Palazzo Real is located in Turin, Italy and has been the royal palace of the House of Savoy, then modernized by the French born Madama Reale Christine Marie of France during the 17th century. It was designed by Filippo Juvarra and includes the Palazzo Chiablese, which was a wing on the royal palace that had been the home of the Duke of Chablais and then the Dukes of Genoa. During the reign of Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy from 1528 to 1580, the site had been part of the old Bishop's palace in the middle of the new capital of Savoy, Turin. With this viewpoint, the duke could see who entered the city from both of its gates, the Palatine and Pretoria. The old palace of Turin was finally abandoned after having been the residence of the French viceroys of Savoy who had been appointed by Francis I of France after he had captured the city in 1536. Opposite of this palace was the palazzo vecchio or the palazzo di San Giovanni which would eventually become part of the grander and greater Ducal Palace. Therefore, the old bishop's palace would become the new seat of power and largely expanded by Emmanuel Philibert, to house his continuously growing menagerie of marbles, furniture, animals and art. Philibert passed on in 1589 and the Savoy throne went to his son called Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy, and in combined celebration of the marriages of his two daughters, Princess Margaret and Princess Isabella in 1608, he commissioned the construction of a ring of porches that would be topped with an open gallery. In 1619, his son, Victor Amadeus I, made an important marriage with the French princess Christine Marie of France, taking place in Paris at the Louvre. By 1630, Victor had succeeded to the Duchy of Savoy and became the Duke after having spent most of his youth at the court of his grandfather, Philip II of Spain. But it would be Christine Marie who set the mood for Victor's reign by having the court moved from the ducal palace in Turin to the Castello del Valentino that at that time sat on the outskirts of the growing city. The couple had two sons, Francis Hyacinth, Duke of Savoy and his successor Charles Emmanuel II, Duke of Savoy. Christine became the regent when Victor passed on in 1637 of her two sons who had become the Dukes of Savoy. Unfortunately, Francis passed away just a year after his father, so Charles Emmanuel II became the new Duke. Christine, now the Dowager Duchess then moved into the Palazzo Madama, Turin and passed away in 1663. Charles would marry twice, the first, his cousin, Francoise Madeleine d'Orleans, marrying in March of 1663, just before Christine died, and Francoise passed away in 1664, without leaving any children, but did have a magnificent suite of rooms in the palace decorated just for her and her tastes; she was only 15 and Charles was 30. The next marriage was to another Marie Jeanne of Savoy, who would mother the next duke, Victor Amadeus II, and became the regent of Savoy in 1675 when Charles passed away at 41 years old. Marie would eventually move into the Palazzo Madama until she passed on in 1724. There were many more historical moments like these as history progressed until 1946, when the Italian government would claim the palace as a museum of the life and works of the House of Savoy. The chapel of the Holy Shroud was constructed onto the west wing of the palace, as well as joining the apse of the cathedral of St. John the Baptist to preserve the famous Shroud of Turin that hade belonged to the family from 1453 until 1946.

    Museo Regionale de Scienze Naturali
    Natural History Museum Turin, ItalyThe Turin Museum of Natural History started in 1978 to hold the natural history collections of the University of Turin and can be seen in the old 17th century building that used to be the hospital of San Giovannia Battista. It contains geology, botany, entomology, zoology, minerals, paleontology and zoology departments as well as a specialist library and exhibition hall. The museum has been collecting and preserving those collections from the Piedmont region north of Turin, Italy as well as going on local, national and international expeditions to discover and increase their knowledge of the world around them and bring it back to the museum to share with the community their findings. There are numerous changing exhibitions held here each year, as well as traveling exhibits that they also engage in so that each department has various displays that will complement their own collections or at least enhance them. Their department of zoology began in 1739 in hopes of becoming a leading center for scientific research, public exhibits and university teaching. Some of the more well known people that have been involved in its history include Franco Andrea Bonelli, a well known ornithologist, Guiseppe Gene who was involved in the significant studies done on the fauna of Sardinia, Filippo De Filippi, who founded the comparative anatomy and Michele Lessona that continued to work on the ideas of Darwin in the country that had been started by De Filippi. It has a marvelous collection from around the world, and continues to grow, bringing in new exhibitions and reorganizing old ones to more reflect the changes in the collections and the ideas that have been helped by the newest technology.

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    San Lorenzo ChurchSan Lorenzo Church Turin, Italy
    The Church of San Lorenzo can be found in Turin, Italy and was started by Guarino Guarini in 1668 for the Theatine order that he belonged to. The battle of Saint Queintin had just been won by the Savoy in 1557, on the Feast day of St. Lawrence and to commemorate that, Emanuele Filiberto instructed the church of the Holy Mary and Crib, that had been the Madonna of the Snows church, to be rejuvenated and rededicated to St. Lawrence. This task had been given to Guarino since he was one of the best mathematicians in the region and his abilities as an architect proceeded him. He would finish the renovations by 1680 and celebrate the inaugural mass. The facade of the church blends in perfectly with the other buildings surrounding it in the square, only the cupola sat high atop it helps one to distinguish it from the others. The main entry is through the Oratory of Our Lady of Sorrows that was renovated in 1846 and had been the former nave to the old church. The dome has eight convex sides that open into concave chapels with lateral altars and above that are four pendentives, that hold a gallery of eight oval shaped windows between eight pillars that now form the base of the ribs of the vaulted dome. The ribs that cross form an eight shaped star and the lantern dome rises from the octagon formed. This magnificent effect has allowed the light to filter into the church illuminating the entire floor area and making all the decorations more alive and beautiful. The incredible configuration of light, mass and space is a great feat of engineering and one that has survived the centuries to be enjoyed by the masses today. The splendid decorated polychrome marble altars also were the designs of Guarino thanks to the rich patrons that supported his work and the church. This church had been the original home to the Shroud of Turin after it came here from Chambery in 1578. Guarino's design used numerous structural and decorative mechanisms and tools of the baroque period that were created to visually overwhelm the visitor, as well as remind them and all of the supremacy of the Church. It is a masterpiece of design, form and beauty that has been enjoyed by visitors for many centuries and is well worth any visit today.

    Museo Nazionale del Risorgimento
    National Museum of the Italian Risorgimento Turin, ItalyThe National Museum of the Italian Risorgimento has become one of the most significant historical museums in the nation, standing proudly in Turin, Italy, inside the historic Palazzo Carigano and dedicated to the historic period of the Risorgimento, the political unification of Italy during the 19th century. The idea to form a museum happened in 1878, just a few years after the unification of Italy, but wasn't opened until 1908 and was located in the Mole until 1938 when it was moved to the Palazzo Carignano, the prestigious baroque structure of Guarino Guarini. It had been the home of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of Piedmont since 1848 and then in 1861 became the temporary quarters of the first parliament of the new Italian nation. There are extensive displays of artworks, weapons, manuscripts, flags, uniforms and documents spread out over 26 galleries covering more space than the actual period of the Risorgimento itself that only lasted until the end of the second World War. There is a specialized library, document archives and print cabinet. The exhibits begin during the 18th century, when Italy became a kingdom and showcase the first half century of that rule with all of its social conflicts and colonial conquests. In 1975, another gallery was installed to show the dedication of the people that fought continuously against fascism. Other exhibits include the chamber of deputies as it looked when it was in session, the furniture of the Ministerial Camillo Cavour and a replica of the room where King Carlo Alberto of Savoy died in Oporto in 1849. There are many outstanding exhibits that tell the story of the interesting progression of the nation from small outlying districts ruled by dukes to the next phase of a kingdom and finally the nasty fascists that overtook the country and ran it into the ground in WWII.

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    Civic Museum of Ancient Art in Palazzo MadamaPalazzo Madama Turin, Italy
    The Palazzo Madama is the museum of ancient art in Turin, Italy that showcases the incredible history of the city, from its origins as an entry gate into an ancient Roman town, then fortress in the Middle Ages, a castle in the 15th century and finally into a palace that become Palazzo Madama, only to be changed again by the will of King Carlo Alberto to be the seat of the Royal Art Gallery; and since 1934 it has hosted the civic museum. The baroque facade was completed by Filippo Juvarra in the 18th century to tie in all the various architectural elements that compose this marvelous structure that has so much history besides the magnificent relics and artworks housed in it. The palace was named after Madama Real, Marie Christine of France, and it contains the remnants of a medieval castle, the Roman gate and many renaissance additions and expansions. Juvarra would also incorporate a huge marble staircase into the interior which has been used for the expansive Museo Civico de Arte Antica. These collections concentrate on the medieval and renaissance periods that are an excellent contrast to the stone walls of the interior. One of the biggest collections of ceramics in the nation are housed here, as well as outstanding canvases, especially Antonello da Messina' Portrait of a Man.  The collections contain an outstanding range of paintings from the 15th to the 20th centuries with the masters of that era, drawings from the 17th to the 20th century, sculptures from the 12th to the 16th century, illuminated codes from the 12th to the 16th century, archaeology, stamps, ethnography from the 11th to the 20th century, ivories and ceramics from the 15th to the 20th century, furniture from the 17th to 20th century and jewelry and glasswork from the 11th to the 16th century, further divided into periods of time, creatively arranged and organized showing the care and preservation that has gone into these magnificent pieces. It is truly a majestic collection, created from the people that lived the events often depicted and shown. One of the finest art museums in the country and perhaps Europe and well worth visiting. Turin has grown into one of the most interesting and appealing cities in the world and should be a marvelous place to visit, relax and learn about the incredible history that happened there.

    Stupinigi Palace
    Stupinigi Palace Turin, ItalyThe Palazzina di caccia of Stupinigi or the hunting residence, was literally translated into the little palace of Stupinigi is one of the main houses used by the Royal House of Savoy in northern Italy and is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, located about 7 miles southwest of Turin, Italy. The estate was constructed in the early 18th century as a hunting lodge for the royal family in Stupinigi, which is a suburb of Nichelino. The original castle that existed there had been owned by the Acaja line of the House of Savoy, Lords of Piedmont, until 1418 and later sold to marquis Rolando Pallavicino in 1493. Emmanuel Philibert would then get it in 1563, after the ducal capital had been moved from Chambery to Turin. The new palace was then designed by architect Filippo Juvarra, who was instructed to create the magnificent hunting lodge for Vittorio Amedeo II, who was then the King of Sardinia, with the construction beginning in 1729, and after two years of building had progressed so far that the first formal hunt would be tried. Juvarra would then commission a number of outstanding decorators, quite a few from Venice, to create the splendid decor of the palace's interior. When Carlo Emanuele III and Vittorio Amedeo III were leading the ducal, the palace and formal gardens were expanded and enlarged, first by Juvarra's assistant, Giovanni Tommaso Prunotto; but eventually by many north Italian architects, like Ignacio Bertola, Ignacio Birago di Borgaro, Benedetto Alfieri and Ludovico Bo. When completed, the spectacular palace had 137 rooms, 17 galleries and covered almost 100,000 square feet of space, exquisitely decorated with the most stylish elements of the period. Polissena of Hesse-Rotenburg, the wife of Emanuele III would add her tastes to the mix which greatly enhanced the interiors of the immense palace. The initial purpose of the hunting lodge can be seen by the bronze stag that stands at the apex of the stepped roof of the palace's central dome, as well as the hounds' heads that decorated the vases along the roofline. The palace would become the preferred estate house for dynastic weddings and celebrations by the House of Savoy family, and in 1773, Maria Teresa, the Princess of Savoy would marry Charles Philippe, the count of Artois, brother of the future Charles X of France and Louis XVI. The elaborate palace currently houses the museum of arts and furnishings, with many pieces already originally located in the house and others that were brought here from the previous Savoy residences of Venaria Reale and Moncalieri. The palace contains the most significant collection of Piedmontese furniture, with numerous works by Turin's most famous cabinet makers; Luigi Prinotti, Giuseppe Maria Bonzanigo and Pietro Piffetti. Many of the hunting figure sculptures were created by Giovanni Battista Bernero and the galleries are often the sight of outstanding temporary exhibitions. In 1563, the hunting park that had been located in another part of the House of Savoy was given to Emmanuel Philibert, when he decided to move the capital of the ducal from Chambery to Turin. In 1992, the thick woodlands and marvelous agricultural lands that encompass the estate have been preserved by creating the Parco naturale di Stupinigi that included many communal areas in Orbassano, Nichelino and Candiolo. It is a huge area and contains some of the area's original lowland forest, that are viewed and enjoyed by the visitor since many are of rare plants that can't be found or seen anywhere else. These creatures includes; white storks, tree squirrels, foxes, weasels, beech martens, European hares, hazel dormouses and others.

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