The Grand Torino Rooftop Racetrack

Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
April 14 2014 10:26 AM

The Italian Job's Grand Torino Rooftop Racetrack

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world's hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook, Tumblr, or follow us on Twitter @atlasobscura.

During one of the many action scenes in The Italian Job — the Michael Caine original, not the Mark Wahlberg remake — the Mini Coopers race around a rooftop track in Turin. It's one of cinema's most civilized car chase scenes, as evinced by the thoroughly British line, "Try putting your foot down, Tony, they're really getting rather close."

Here's the scene:

Advertisement

The track featured is a real race track, built on the roof of a Fiat factory that opened in Turin's Ligotto district in 1923. The factory's assembly line began at the ground floor and ended on the top level, where cars were taken for a test run around the track. Spiraling ramps inside the building allowed the cars to be driven back down and into showrooms.

The factory closed in 1982, after which Fiat held a competition for its redevelopment. Architect Renzo Piano, whose work includes the New York Times building, and London's "vertical city," the Shard, secured the commission. His workshop transformed the old factory into a public space complete with shopping center, theater, hotel, convention center, and art gallery. A helipad and bubble-shaped, blue glass meeting room were added to the roof to cater for business travelers with big expense accounts.

You can still visit the rooftop test track, but the days of Fiat cars looping around the course are gone. If you can't shake the urge to race around a circle, head downstairs to the speed skating rink, which was built for the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics.  

Other lofty diversions:


View NH Lingotto in a larger map

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.