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Piemonte - Places to visit - Turin (Torino)

Turin in Piemonte

Lying largely on the left bank of the Po River, 239 m. above sea level, at the confluence of the Sangone, Dora Baltea and Stura di Lanzo, is the great industrial, commercial and cultural centre round which much of the region's economy revolves.

Originally the centre of the Galli Taurini, Turin was a Roman municipality named after Augusta Taurinorum (as is seen from its chess-board layout), and later capital of a Lombard duchy and a Frankish county.

Passing to the Savoys in 1280, after many vicissitudes, in 1713 it became the capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia and then, until 1865, of the new Kingdom of Italy. The city has a wealth of monuments and historical buildings. Among the best known are the medieval Palazzo Madama, a castle in the 13th and 14th centuries, with a 1721 faade.

During the Baroque period the city gained numerous fine buildings, as urban reorganization planned by famous architects proceeded. Palazzo Reale, Castello del Valentino, Villa Reale at Stupinigi, the Superga basilica, the Gran Madre and Consolata churches and Piazza San Carlo were designed and built then. In the 18th century the tall bold Mole, symbol of the city, was created by Antonelli.

The economy is stronghly influenced by the presence of Fiat, the largest car manufacturers in Italy. In recent decades, Turin and its conurbations have been a pole of attraction for immigrants from the south of Italy.

The presence of Fiat which, directly or indirectly, provides employment for tens of thousands of people means that half of the manufacturing companies in Piedmont are concentrated in the Province of Turin. Population growth has soared (slowing only in recent years) creating numerous social and infrastructural problems.

Besides the engineering, steel and rubber sectors, there are prosperous food (confectionery), textiles, garment, electronics, printing and publishing industries.

Events: International Car show (biennial), Specialist exhibitions at Torino Esposizioni (The Turin Fair building), Carnival with the Gianduja and Giacometta masques, September music festival, Festival del Cinema Sportivo (December), St. John's Day (June), the Opera season at the Teatro Regio.

Turin in Piemonte

Famous People: Giovanni Agnelli (industrialist, 1866-1945), Cesare Balbo (politician, 1788-1853), Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour (politician, 1810-1861), Massimo D'Azeglio (politician, 1798-1866), Piero Gobetti (politician, 1901-1926), Carlo Levi (writer, 1902-1975), Bernardo Vittone (architect, 1705-1770), Vittorio Emanuele II (King of Italy, 1820-1878).

Cultural Institutions: Turin University, the Polytechnic, numerous museums (Egyptian, Renaissance, the Car Museum, Cinema) and art galleries (Sabauda, Modern Art), the Galileo Ferraris National Institute of Electronics, the Giovanni Agnelli Foundation, the National Institute of Urban Studies, the Experimental Institute of Plant Nutrition, the Observatory of Animal Genetics, various theatres and libraries, Rai Symphony Orchestra.

In the Province: Ivrea (various industries, including Olivetti), Chivasso (car industry), Moncalieri, Susa (Roman ruins).

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