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I Love Touring Italy - Turin, Piedmont

Casa Torino (Ref: 45925)
Self catering Apartment in TORINO (TURIN), Italy
Charming and 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....   Sleeps 2..
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I Love Touring Italy - Turin, Piedmont   by Levi Reiss

Turin Featured Hotels  /  Piemonte (Piedmont) Self-Catering

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.

Piedmont 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. 

Sign and Tower from Street, Turin, Piedmont, Italy
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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.
Savoy Duke Emanuele Filiberto, and Church of San Carlo, Piazza San Carlo, Turin, Piemonte, Italy
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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 site.

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 art exhibitions.

Church Tower or Steeple, Turin (Torino), Piemonte (Piedmont), Italy
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The 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.
Sign and Tower from Street, Turin, Piedmont, Italy
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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 miles away.

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.

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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 website links to his other sites.


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Art Boston Hotel Turin
Perfectly located in the city of Turin, this modern and contemporary hotel is an ideal place to stay for all type of travellers.  Located in Turin, the Art Boston Hotel is 800 metres from the Porta Nuova Railway Station and Valentino Park, while the Caselle International Airport is 30 minutes away.  The hotel comprises 87 rooms that are elegantly decorated and equipped with modern facilities.  You can begin your day with a delicious buffet breakfast served in the breakfast room. The onsite restaurant offers an exquisite regional cuisine and a range of selected wines.
Best Western Piemontese Hotel Turin
Piemontese Hotel Turin was built at the end of the eighteen hundred's in the liberty style; this is a superior category three star hotel, located in a quiet street in the historical centre of the city and just 200 metres from the beautiful Parco Valentino and the main shopping area of Via Roma. Built at the end of the eighteen hundred's in liberty style, this hotel is the ideal solution for those visiting Turin either for business or pleasure.  Located in a quiet street in the historical city centre, Piemontese Hotel just 200 metres from the beautiful Parco Valentino and the main shopping area of Via Roma.  This property offers guestrooms that are equipped with all the essential amenities to ensure you a comfortable stay.  Guests can enjoy a delicious meal and later on, enjoy a gratifying drink at the bar with friends.
Diplomatic Hotel Turin
Set out in Turin's business world, the Diplomatic Hotel with its first class services, functionality and the courtesy as well as professionalism of its staff attracts business and leisure travellers for a tranquil stay.  Situated in a convenient position in the heart of Turin, the Diplomatic Hotel is at a walkable distance from the Porta Susa Railways Station and air terminal.  The elegantly furnished accommodation units are well-refined and equipped with all modern comfort that a discerning guest would expect from a hotel of this category.  A rich buffet breakfast, serves at the onsite restaurant welcomes you to a new day. Guests can also savour fine local and national cuisine in the discreet and comfortable environment of the Crimea Restaurant. The pleasant atmosphere of the American Bar makes it an ideal place for a relaxing drink.
Golden Palace Turin
Offering comfortable accommodation and convenient facilities, the Golden Palace Turin provides you with all of the quality amenities to make your stay a memorable one.  The Golden Palace is situated in the heart of Downtown Turin, on the axis extended from Piazza Solferino to Piazza San Carlo.  The hotel has cosy guestrooms that are well furnished and equipped with a host of contemporary amenities.  The Winner Restaurant offers a relaxing and very pleasant garden for breakfast and lunch during the warm months. The bar is a perfect place to unwind after a tiring day along with a fine drink.  During leisure, you can simply laze around the swimming pool or relax at the sauna.
Urbani Hotel Turin
Offering every comfort and qualitative service, Urbani Hotel renders you a nice stay in the pleasant city of Turin, for your tourism or business transactions.  Situated in the heart of Turin, Urbani Hotel is in front of Porta Nuova Railway Station and offers a chance to easily reach and visit Turin's historical centre and its beauties.  The hotel offers 44 twin rooms, which are furnished in a traditional style and come with a host of modern amenities that will make your stay more enjoyable.  The hotel offers international style buffet breakfast, fit for both Italian and foreign clientele.  During leisure, you can have a refreshing dip in the pool, energise your body in the gymnasium or browse the net.
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