Turin is a city and an important business and cultural centre in northern Italy.
It is the capital city of Piedmont region and of the Metropolitan City of Turin.
The city is located mainly on the western bank of the Po River, in front of Susa Valley, and is surrounded by the western Alpine arch and Superga Hill.
The city covers a total area of 130 square kilometers (50 square miles).
The average altitude is 239 meters (784 feet) above sea level.
The original settlement of Taurisia, founded by the Taurini, was partly destroyed by the Carthaginian invader Hannibal in 218 BC.
It later became a Roman military colony, known successively as Julia Taurinorum and Augusta Taurinorum, rebuilt by the emperor Augustus in the form of an enclosed rectangle divided into 72 blocks (insulae). The remains of the walls and the Palatine Gate and the Palatine Towers are still visible.
Dominated by barbarians after the decline of Rome in the 4th century, the city became part of the Lombard kingdom and then of the Frankish empire.
It was linked to Savoy in 1046 by the marriage of Countess Adelaide to Count Odo of Savoy, and it recognized the supremacy of Savoy in 1280 after an intervening period of semi-independence and conflict.
From 1563, it was the capital of the Duchy of Savoy, then of the Kingdom of Sardinia ruled by the House of Savoy.
Turin is sometimes called “the cradle of Italian liberty” for having been the birthplace and home of notable individuals who contributed to the Risorgimento, such as Cavour.
It was besieged in 1640 and 1706 (during the War of the Spanish Succession) by the French, who were defeated by Eugene of Savoy in 1706, and it was occupied again by the French during the Napoleonic Wars.
It served as the first capital of a united Italy from 1861 to 1865.
Turin sustained heavy air-raid damage during World War II.
In the postwar years, Turin was rapidly rebuilt.
Turin became a major European crossroad for industry, commerce and trade, and is part of the famous “industrial triangle” along with Milan and Genoa.
The highly successful 2006 Winter Olympics were a turning point for the city. The Olympics not only ushered in a building boom, including a brand-new metro system, but transformed Turin from a staid industrial centre into a vibrant metropolis.
Turin was European Capital of Design in 2008, hosting conferences and exhibitions, and the national focus of celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the Risorgimento in 2011.
The Mole Antonelliana is a major landmark building in Turin, Italy, named after its architect, Alessandro Antonelli. A mole in Italian is a building of monumental proportions. Construction began in 1863, soon after Italian unification, and was completed in 1889, after the architect’s death. Originally conceived of as a synagogue, it now houses the Museo Nazionale del Cinema, and is believed to be the tallest museum in the world. A representation of the building is featured on the obverse of the Italian 2 cent euro coin.
The National Museum of Cinema is an Italian motion picture museum, fitted out inside the Mole Antonelliana tower. The museum’s permanent exhibition is a visual journey across the history of the moving image from the archeology of cinema to television. The exhibition is divided into various sections and presents rare posters and other artifacts, films, scene objects and sets.
The Museo Egizio is an archaeological museum in Turin, specialising in Egyptian archaeology and anthropology. Opened in 1824 and housed in the austere Palazzo dell’Accademia delle Scienze, this Turin institution houses the most important collection of Egyptian treasures outside Cairo. Among its many highlights are a statue of Ramses II (one of the world’s most important pieces of Egyptian art) and a vast papyrus collection.
Turin Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Turin. Dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, it is the seat of the Archbishops of Turin. It was built during 1491–98 and is adjacent to an earlier campanile built in 1470. Designed by Guarino Guarini, the Chapel of the Holy Shroud (the current location of the Shroud of Turin) was added to the structure in 1668–94.
The Basilica of Superga is a church in the vicinity of Turin. It was built from 1717 to 1731 for Victor Amadeus II of Savoy, designed by Filippo Juvarra, at the top of the hill of Superga. This fulfilled a vow the duke (and future King of Sardinia) had made during the Battle of Turin, after defeating the besieging French army in the War of the Spanish Succession.
The Royal Palace of Turin is a historic palace of the House of Savoy in the city of Turin. It was originally built in the 16th century and was later modernized by Christine Marie of France (1606–63) in the 17th century, with designs by the Baroque architect Filippo Juvarra. The palace also includes the Palazzo Chiablese and the Chapel of the Holy Shroud, the latter of which was built to house the famous Shroud of Turin. In 1946, the building became the property of the state and was turned into a museum. In 1997, it was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list along with 13 other residences of the House of Savoy.
The large Palazzo Madama is the centerpiece of Piazza Castello, standing alone in its center. At its core is a 13th-century castle built on the remains of the Roman east gate. The castle was enlarged in the 15th century and embellished by Filippo Juvarra in 1718 with the handsome west front — a fine example of Piedmontese Baroque architecture — and the magnificent double staircase.
Piazza San Carlo is one of the main city squares in Turin. It was laid out in the 16th and 17th century and is an example of Baroque style. The square has become a normal stage of different historical and social events, including election rallies, concerts, events, live TV (like the 2006 Winter Olympics and Juventus matches).
Parco del Valentino also known as Valentino Park is a popular public park in Turin. It covers an area of 500,000 square meters (5.4 million square feet). The Parco del Valentino was opened by the city of Turin in 1856, and was Italy’s first public garden.
Turin is also home to much of the Italian automotive industry, with the headquarters of Fiat, Lancia and Alfa Romeo.
The city has a rich sporting heritage as the home to two historically significant football teams: Juventus F.C. (founded in 1897) and Torino F.C. (founded in 1906).
Local cuisine features a particular type of pizza, so-called pizza al padellino or pizza al tegamino, which is basically a small-sized, thick-crust and deep-dish pizza typically served in several Turin pizza places.
The city is also known for the so-called bicerin, a traditional hot drink made of espresso, drinking chocolate and whole milk served layered in a small rounded glass.