If you are looking for a different kind of experience for your visit to the city of Turin, this blog post is for you. Not many people know that in Turin there is a neighbourhood that is a collection of open-air contemporary art and walking through its streets you can admire works as if you were in an art gallery.
It’s called Borgo Campidoglio and is a semi-central district (west of the San Donato district) developed in the mid-1800s as a working-class neighbourhood. The name Campidoglio derives from its location: these were the fields of the Doglio family, just outside the city. A fair compromise for the families who came to Turin to work in the small factories located in the San Donato area (we talked about them here) and along the Dora river.
Here the original neighbourhood construction still exists, made up of low buildings with courtyards. The streets of the village are cobbled and narrow (almost all are one-way because a car barely passes), there are trattorias and taverns, craft shops and art workshops. Walking through the streets you can still breathe the peace and tranquillity of village life.
Museum of Urban Art (MAU)
Like all the non-central districts that grew up around the nineteenth-century factories, even this village suffered the loss of its attractiveness with the closure of the production plants and a requalification project was necessary. Thus, in 1995 the Museum of Urban Art (MAU) was born, the first museum of contemporary art outdoors in an urban centre of Italy.
The museum unfolds through the streets of the village with more than 170 works created on the walls of the houses, in the windows and in display cases to which were added works commissioned by private individuals or by neighbourhood associations. The open-air gallery of Borgo Campidoglio is, of course, free to visit. Certainly, a treasure for all lovers of beauty, that of having the opportunity to admire large-scale murals by different artists, with different styles. An attraction that makes a neighbourhood that already has its own peculiarity, absolutely unique.
Moncenisio Square & The Authors’ Benches
Walking through the streets, allow yourself to be led by the murals and you will arrive in Piazza Moncenisio (Moncenisio Square), where the Museum of Urban Art offers yet another wonderful discovery: The Authors’ Benches. This small square, which houses a playground for the little ones, is surrounded by painted benches reproducing the styles and quotations of works by maestros of art. So you can choose whether to sit on the bench decorated with the colourful geometries of Piet Mondrian or with the stylized people of Keith Haring, or the one with the tribute to Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Fortunato Depero, Joan Mirò, and so on…
A visit to Borgo Campidoglio is a journey into a suspended time: an almost surreal atmosphere where the bustle of the city and its traffic are quickly forgotten, and you dive into a world of art and colours. A little rejuvenating excursion to learn about the town within the city and complete another side of the multi-faceted Turin.
Museum of Urban Art
Where to Stay – Hotels in Turin
Whenever we travel in Italy, we always try to stay at an NH Hotel. They are simply the best! The rooms are comfortable and well-appointed. The staff are always very friendly and helpful. And they have the most delicious breakfast! In Turin, we are fortunate to have several NH Hotels but there are definitely two centrally located that we can highly recommend: the NH Collection Torino Piazza Carlina and the NH Torino Santo Stefano. Both are beautiful hotels in the city centre, walking distance from all the main tourist attractions.
If you are looking for something a little more economical, we can also highly recommend the Le Petit Hotel, a sweet little hotel in the heart of Turin, just next to Piazza Solferino and walking distance to all the main attractions and museums.