A vital artery pulsing elegantly through Turin’s historic city centre, a luxury shopping precinct, Via Roma links the city’s main train terminus Porta Nuova with the UNESCO world heritage site la Zona di Comando around Piazza Castello.
Running north to south and parallel to to the Roman ortogonia grid-style town plan laid out c. 28 BC, this ancient settlement was known as Julia Augusta Tauriniryn. Today via Roma is one of Turin’s most important thoroughfares.
The street has evolved massively since it’s conception, it was the brainchild of Duke Charles Emmanuel I, beautifully realised by 16th century architect Ascanio Vittozzi. In 1672 Charles Emmanuel II took measures to protect the Via Nuova or Contrada Nuova as it was initially known, banning any constructions above the fourth floor cornice level. Early in the 19th century the street was extended, with all building works granted tax exemption by Charles Felix of Sardinia. The street was renamed and dedicated to the city of Rome on the 29th of March 1871, and a vast remodelling was undertaken. The street bustled with traffic, trams and pedestrians, it traverses three major squares: Piazza Carlo Felice, Piazza C.L.N and Piazza San Carlo and hosts two churches: the church of San Cristina and the one of San Carlo Borromeo. Early 20th century excavation works under Via Roma included plans to create a Metro station, however this work was not completed and the cavernous subterranean spaces created were given over to underground parking.
This classy arcaded street features columns, colonnades, galleries, serilanas, paved decadently in Italian marble. It is Turin’s most exclusive commercial zone. Major fashion houses such as Gucci (Via Roma 122), Hermès (Via Roma 124), Louis Vuitton (Via Roma 320), Michael Kors (Via Roma 322) and COS (Via Roma 325) have their stores here. The southern end of the street hosts a number of foreign consulates. The city's famous Cinema Lux is sited here too, at one point there were six cinemas on this street alone.
Remodelling of the southern end of the street leading to the historic Station Porta Nuova was undertaken in a more austere Rationalist style of architecture primarily by Marcello Piacentini. Standout buildings in this style are the landmark Hotel’s Nazionale (Piazza C.L.N) and Principi di Piemonte (just off Via Roma at Via Gobetti 15). The Hotel Principi di Piemonte is a luxury five star hotel with an excellent restaurant (‘Casa Savoia’) serving up mediterranean cuisine with finesse in a splendidly decadent dining room, it features in the 2016 Michelin Guide. Also not to be missed tucked away on an upper floor of the Galleria San Federico (Via Roma northern side of Piazza San Marco, near Cinema Lux) is the Fiorfood Coop an intimate and formal restaurant (E45 for a seven course tasting menu), it’s run in collaboration with the Michelin starred La Credenza, situated outside of Turin city centre in the San Maurizio Canavese district.
Via Roma, Turin
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