Postcards from Italy

Turin’s Historic Lingotto Automobile Factory

Travelers flock to Italy to see this country’s excellent Etruscan and Roman archaeological sites—many dating from over two thousand years ago—but few consider visiting the fascinating and elegant industrial archaeology left over from Italy’s economic boom in the early 20th century.

Taken with KitCam. (Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

The best example is the Lingotto building in Turin. This immense structure, finished in 1923, was originally a FIAT automobile factory, revolutionary in design for the vertical assembly line that rose up the building’s five stories. Raw materials would be unloaded onto the ground floor and finished cars would emerge from the top floor, where there was also a rooftop test track.

(Photo by IIVQ / Tijmen Stam via Wikimedia Commons)

Of all the fascinating industrial archaeology in Italy, Turin’s Lingotto factory is one the most elegant. Click to tweet

Fiat_Lingotto_veduta-1928(Photo by Dgtmedia - Simone via Wikimedia Commons)

Though the largest factory of its kind and an architectural innovation when it opened, by the 1970s the Lingotto factory was outmoded and finally shuttered in 1982.

Taken with KitCam. (Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

Architect Renzo Piano was commissioned to revamp the complex, and in 1989 it reopened as newly designed public space including concert halls and a theater, a convention and shopping center, a hotel, and part of the Polytechnic University of Turin.

Taken with KitCam. by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

Of the original building, the internal spiral roadway which was once used to move cars through the vertical assembly line and the rooftop track remain. Nearby, visitors can also stop by Turin’s EATALY –located across the street in the renovated Carpano factory--and the Italian National Car Museum, around the corner.

Italian Icons - Fiat 500 and Busatti Linens(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

Turin is home to one of the world’s only rooftop test and race tracks at the Lingotto automobile factory. Click to tweet

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Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist: Italy