(Torino) Featured Hotels
(Piedmont) Self-Catering Accommodation
Love Touring Italy - Turin, Piedmont
Torino (Ref: 45925)
Apartment in TORINO (TURIN), Italy
homely Turin apartment, located in a central position, in an elegant building
dating back to the start of the century. The apartment boasts a spacious
living room with French windows leading on to a small balcony....
map of Turin, Italy
Love Touring Italy - Turin, Piedmont by Levi Reiss
Featured Hotels / Piemonte
If you are looking for a
European tourist destination, consider the Piedmont region of northern
Italy. Depending on your interests, this beautiful area might be an ideal
vacation spot. You can get classic Italian food, and wash it down with
fine local wine. There are even some parts of Piedmont that haven't yet
been discovered by tourists. This article presents Turin, the capital and
largest city of the Piedmont. A companion article presents the rest of
the Piedmont region.
means foot of the mountains, and that describes the area perfectly. Turin,
in the center of Piedmont, is pretty well surrounded by hills and by mountains
such as the Alps. While the setting is beautiful, don't expect a Mediterranean
climate such as found in most of Italy. The Piedmont climate is continental,
with cold winters and hot summers, especially in the plains.
|While Turin's population
is slightly over nine hundred thousand, the population of its metropolitan
area is well over two million. About one half of the Piedmont residents
live in the greater Turin area. In a sense the 2006 Winter Olympics have
put Turin on the tourist map and played a major role in its continuing
development. As you will see, Turin, center of Italy's automobile manufacturing,
is not just an industrial city.
This city was once a walled
Roman military camp. Like so much of Italy, Turin and the entire Piedmont
region was occupied again and again. What is unusual, however, is that
the French House of Savoy ruled Piedmont for about five hundred years.
They even returned to power after Napoleon's defeat. Not surprisingly a
lot of French influence remains.
Piedmont played a major role
in the Risorgimento (Italian Unity Movement). Turin was the first capital
of the United Kingdom of Italy between 1861 and 1865 ruled by Victor Emmanuel
II, a Savoyard.
We commence our virtual tour
of Turin right downtown. The Duomo di San Giovanni (St. John's Cathedral)
dates back to the Fifteenth Century. The Cappella della Sacra Sindone (Chapel
of the Holy Shroud) once contained the famous Shroud of Turin, brought
to Turin in the Sixteenth Century by a member of the Savoy royal family.
In 1997 a fire damaged the chapel, which remains closed until further notice.
You can see a copy of this shroud near the Duomo's altar. But the Shroud
itself is next scheduled for public display in 2025.
|Other downtown churches
worth seeing include the Seventeenth Century San Lorenzo (St. Lawrence)
and the twin baroque San Carlo and Santa Cristina Churches. Cross the Po
River to see the Nineteenth Century Chiesa della Gran Madre di Dio (Church
of the Great Mother of God) said to be constructed over the Holy Grail
and the Sixteenth Century Chiesa della Santa Maria del Monte (Church of
St. Maria of the Mountain). Next door is a small but interesting museum
devoted to mountains and mountain climbing, Museo Nazionale della Montagna
(National Mountain Museum).
Make sure to visit the Museo
Egizio (Egyptian Museum) considered to be one of the best in the world.
For example, it contains hundreds of mummies and a burial chamber that's
so complete it includes drafting tools, a cosmetic case, and a contemporary
board game. In fact Jean-Francois Champollion, the first person to decipher
Egyptian hieroglyphics, wrote "The road to Memphis and Thebes passes through
Turin". GAM, the Galleria Civic d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (Civic Modern
and Contemporary Art Gallery) on the edge of downtown is devoted to Italian
contemporary art covering much more than the last one hundred years.
It is fitting that Italy's
Detroit should host the Museo dell'Automobile (Automobile Museum). When
they say antique cars, they mean antique cars, dating back to 1896. And
what cars, the collection includes the first FIAT model, Bugattis, Ferraris,
and actress Gloria Swanson's Isotta Franchini from the movie Sunset Boulevard.
|The Borgo Medioevale (Medieval
Village), built on the banks of the Po River more than one hundred years
ago, represents a Fifteenth Century Piedmont village. Most buildings in
the Borgo are copies of medieval buildings that actually exist in the Piedmont.
You'll love the Rocca Medioevale (Medieval Castle) in the middle of the
Talking about castles, you
won't want to miss the Palazzo Madama (Madame's Palace) situated in the
Piazza Castello (Castle Plaza). This building, named for the Savoy Queen
Maria Christina, once housed the Italian Senate. Do not confuse it with
a building of the same name in Rome that houses the present Italian Senate.
Like so many other Italian buildings the Turin Palazzo Madama houses temporary
nearby Seventeenth Century Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) situated on an
ancient Roman city gate had been the Savoy royal residence until 1865.
You can visit some of the royal apartments and admire the tapestries, furniture,
and royal gardens. A few blocks away is the birthplace of the first king
of united Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II. Don't expect an Italian style log
cabin; he was born in the majestic Palazzo Carignano that served as the
seat of united Italy's first parliament from 1860 to 1865. This Palazzo
is home to the Museo del Risorgimento (National Museum of the Italian Renaissance)
devoted to the national unity movement.
While there are many, many
other places of interest in Turin, we conclude by examining what is probably
Turin's best-known landmark, the Mole Antonelliana, the official emblem
of the 2006 Winter Olympics. This building, once the world's tallest brick
structure, was originally supposed to be a synagogue but never served as
such. It houses the Museo Nazionale del Cinema (National Cinema Museum)
with a film library containing seven thousand films.
|What about food? The Piedmont
region is well known for all kinds of food, often with a French style.
Don't forget that it was ruled by the French House of Savoy for over five
hundred years. Turin claims to have invented solid chocolate. Once upon
a time, if you wanted a chocolate fix, you needed a cup or a glass. Of
course, you still can get great chocolate drinks in Turin. For example,
the house specialty of the world famous Al Bicerin is a hot drink brimming
with chocolate, coffee, and cream. They even sell chocolate-flavored pasta.
La Dolce Vita. Grissini (Bread Sticks) were also invented in Turin. Turin's
real thing is quite different from the store-bought version thousands of
Let's suggest a sample menu,
one of many. Start with Risotto al Barbaresco (Risotto cooked in Barbaresco
wine). Then try Vitello Tonnato (Veal in Tuna Sauce).
For dessert indulge yourself
with Grandiuto (Chocolate with Cocoa, Hazelnuts, and Sugar). Be sure to
increase your dining pleasure by including local wines with your meal.
We'll conclude by taking
a brief look at Piedmont wine. Well over half the region's wine production
is either DOC or DOCG wines. DOC stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata,
which may be translated as Denomination of Controlled Origin, presumably
a high-quality wine. At last count there were 44 such wines coming from
Piedmont. Add a G for Guarantita and there are seven such Piedmont wines,
including Barolo, felt by many to be Italy's finest red wine, and Barbaresco.
But Piedmont also produces many fine DOC or unclassified wines.
Featured Hotels / Piemonte
About the Author - Once upon
a time Levi Reiss wrote ten computer and Internet books either alone or
with a co-author. And yet, he really prefers drinking fine Italian or other
wine, with the right food and friends. He knows about dieting but now eats
and drinks what he wants, in moderation. He teaches computers at an Ontario
French-language community college. His new wine, diet, health, and nutrition
links to his other sites.