Explore the secrets of Mole Antonelliana, the symbol of Turin.

The Mole Antonelliana

Head to the centre of Turin and the spire of the Mole Antonelliana will constantly draw your eye. Her domed roof and temple steeple wink at you between the buildings on the sky line. Catch her dancing behind the home of the Turin Shroud, the Dome of San Giovanni, or walk through Piazzo Castello, beside the famous Palazzo Madama, where she offers a flirtatious glimpse amongst the Roman history. At night here you can find street sellers giving you the opportunity to take home your very own Mole Antonelliana keyring or snowglobe, for Torino loves her as much as it loves Fiat cars and Bulls.

Built between 1863 and 1889 by Alessandro Antonelli, from whom this symbol of Turin takes her name, Antonelli designed her structure as a fusion of neoclassical culture and Baroque tradition without using a metal frame. Ultimately completed by his Son Costanzo, a year after Antonelli`s death in 1888, the 167 metre high structure needed a complete restoration in the 1930s encasing it in concrete. Why did this experienced architect design such an unstable structure? Some say it was due to austerity after a disagreement with the Jewish community cut off his funding, others prefer to think that this new way of building would entice the occult, either way the building commands an air of mystery it retains still, despite its restorations.

These days she is the home for the National Museum of Cinema and offers one of the most unique views of the City, as you can take the lift to 88 floors above street level for an impressive 360 degree panorama. In terms of a museum experience the offering you will find here in the Mole Antonelliana is like no other. Set designer Francois Confino who organised the original set in 2000 and the re-design in 2006 said,

One can’t imagine a cinema museum as just a museum of objects and films because the essence of Cinema is film.

For curators of history there is an in-depth display including the archaeological beginnings of cinematography but for movie lovers there is no better place than to watch Scarface laid down on a plush velvet bed, to crash through a door like Roadrunner, or visit a Storm Trooper’s helmet from a collection of Star Wars memorabilia.

Road Runner and Star Wars

Still there is lots to learn here, and when you grasp the origins of cinema it is easier to cultivate an understanding of the creation of cinematic genres such as 3D or horror. The museum offers a history class like no other, experience this in real time by taking part in special exhibitions that will lead you back in time. Here you can see ghosts come towards you, hear the whoosh of a candle as it is blown out and your imagination will fill in the rest.

For those wanting a more relaxing experience, lie back in the comfortable chaise-longues which fill the floor underneath the Dome of the Mole Antonelliana. Once you look upwards you will find yourself delighted by the projections which dance around the ceiling in an incredible display that will keep you mesmirised for hours.

Inside the Dome at the Mole Antonelliana

To take advantage of all the National Museum of Cinema has to offer it is recommended you allow two hours for your visit, though you could easily lose yourself for longer.

If you want to see even more historic places, please check out my highlight video below.

Or click here for more information on the National Museum of Cinema.

Tel: +39 011 8138511

Address: 20 Montebello Street, Turin