Regarded as the “Cradle of Italian Liberty,’ picturesque Turin sits in the shadow of the Alps and stretches westward from the banks of the Po River, which, on its long march to the Adriatic, feeds farms and manufacturing along the way. Part of Italy’s Piedmont region, it has been an important commercial center since before the Romans, with major corporate citizens like Fiat and Alfa Romeo calling it home. Resplendent with Baroque architecture, there seems to be around every corner some ornate cathedral, museum, or a huge piazza filled with shops and restaurants. Bring your appetite to Turin–where café society got its start—and savor the special pastries, coffees, and cuisine that are hallmarks of this beautiful city. This charming town on the Po is also home to the renowned and mysterious Shroud of Turin.
Location: Alps to the north and the hills of Monferrato to the east.
Tucked against the left bank of the Po River, Turin lies in the shadow of the Alps to the north and west, and the hills of Monferrato to the east. Located about two hours from the coastal city of Genoa (on the Ligurian Sea), Turin experiences moderately cold, dry winters and mild summers. Sites like the Piazza Castello and the magnificent baroque Turin Cathedral evoke this city’s historical role as a commercial, religious, and political center. Come to Turin by plane, train, and automobile. Get around the city via bus and tram, or borrow one of the city’s bikes.
Business: Home of great wines and iconic automobiles
Though steeped in Italy’s history, Turin is at the forefront of automobile and aerospace research and manufacture. Fiat calls the city home, as do more upscale carmakers like, among others, Maserati and Alfa Romeo. Martini and Rossi, Cinzano, and Gancia bottle their spirits here. The banking and insurance industries have a healthy presence, as do textile companies like the GFT group. With 240,000 international arrivals each year, tourism also plays a major role in Turin’s economy.
Culture: A unique language and a history descended from the Romans.
Present day Torinese, as they are called, are descended from a Celtic tribe called Taurini. The region has its own language–Piedmontese–originating from the mountainous area (“foot of the mountain”) in which the city is located. From its beginnings as a Roman camp, the city’s history has been shaped by such varied influences as the Lombards, Charlemagne, the Dukes of Savoy, and Napoleon until, with his demise, it became the capital of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia. Home to many seminal historic figures, Turin is often referred to as the “Cradle of Italian Liberty.”
Activities: Indulge yourself in the original café society
When in Turin, get ready to eat and drink! One of the first cities with a café society, it’s home to some numerous eateries offering sumptuous pastries, hot drinks, hot meals, and 106 wines produced in Piedmont. A major commercial center over the centuries, it has a number of piazzas you can explore, like the Piazza Castello and Palazzo Reale where you can stroll among fountains and snap pictures of the magnificent baroque architecture. Visit the shops in the warren of back streets known as Il Quadrilatero, or judge for yourself the authenticity of the famed Shroud of Turin.