Turin is sometimes called the “cradle of Italian liberty”, for being the birthplace and home of notable politicians and people who contributed to the RISORGIMENTO.
Turin is located in Northwest Italy. It is surrounded on the northern and western front by a ‘high hill’, that is the natural prosecution of the hills of Monferrato. Four major rivers pass through the city : the Po and 3 of its tributaries, the Dora Riparia (once known as Duria Minor by the Roamns from the Celtic noun ‘Duria’ meaning ‘water’ ), the Sutra di Lanzo and the Sangone.
Turin is located in the border of humid sub-tropical climate and oceanic climate zones. This is in contrast to the Mediterranean climate, characteristic of the coast of Italy. Winters are moderately cold, but dry, summers are mid in the hills and quite hot in the plains. Rain falls mostly in the spring and autumn, during the hottest months, otherwise, rains are less frequent but heavier (thunderstorms are frequent). During the winter and autumn months, ‘banks of fog’, which are sometimes very thick, form in the plains, but rarely on the city, because of its location at the end of the Susa Valley. Its position on the east side of the Alps makes the weather drier than on the west side, because of the “Fohn Wind Effect”. The highest temperature ever recorded was 37.1 degrees C and the lowest was -21.8 degrees C.
Turin is an important business and cultural centre. The city has a rich culture and history, and is known for its art galleries, restaurants, churches, palaces, gardens, theatres, libraries, museums and pizzas. Turin is well known for its Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neo-Classical and Art Nouveau architecture.
The city currently hosts some of Italy’s best Universities, colleges, Lycea, and gymnasia, such as the 6th-century-old University of Turin and the Turin Polytechnic. Prestigious and important museums, such as the Museo Egizio and the Mole Antonelliana are also found in the city. Turin’s several monuments and sights make Turin a “tourist magnet” and on of the World’s250 tourist destinations and the 10th most visited city in Italy.
The city used to be a major European political centre, being Italy’s capital city, in 1861, and being home to the House of Savoy. Italy’s Royal Family. Even though much of its political significance and importance had been lost by World War –2, it became a major European cross-road for industry, commerce and trade, an currently, is one of Italy’s main industrial centres, being part of the famous “Industrial Triangle”, along with Milan and Genoa. Turin is ranked 3rd in Italy, after Milan and Rome for economic strength. With a GDP of $58 billion, Turin is the world’s 78th richest city by purchasing power, and, as of 2010, has been ranked by GaWC as Gamme-world city. Turin is also home to much of the Italian automotive industry —— Fiat, Lancer and Alfa Romeo.
Turin is the home of the Shroud of Turin, the football teams —– Juventus Football Club and Torino Football Club, and host of the 2006 Winter Olympics, and, in the same year, the 37th Chess Olympiad. Several International Space Station Modules, such as Harmony and Columbus were also manufactured in Turin. It is often referred to as the ‘Capital of the Alps’. Other popular epithets are the ‘Automobile Capital’ of Italy, and the ‘Detroit of Italy’, as it is the home of the Fiat, in Italy. It is also dubbed ‘La Capitale Sabuda’.
The ‘Via Roma’ runs between Piazza Carlo and Piazza Castello squares. The Via Roma is the street featuring the most fashionable boutiques of the city. On the northern edge of Via Roma stands Piazza Castello, regarded as the heart of the city and hosts some significant buildings, such as Palazzo Reale (former Savoy Royal House), the Palazzo Madama (which previously hosted the Savoy Senate), the BaroqueTeatro Regio di Torino (re-built in modern style, in the 1960s, after being destroyed by fire) and the Biblioteca Reale (Royal library, which hosts the Leonardo da Vinci self-portrait).
As for the southern part of the street, Via Roma ends in Piazza Carlo Felice and in its Giardino Sambuy, a wide fenced garden right in the middle of the square. Across from Piazza Carlo Felice stands the monumental façade of Porta Nuova Railway Station, built between 1861-1868. The Piazza Vittorio Veneto, is the largest Baroque Square in Europe and, today, the heart of Turin’s night life.
Parallel to Via Roma, there are 2 popular pedestrian streets, namely Via Lagrange and Via Carlo Alberto. The Via Lagrange hosts the Egyptian Museum of Turin, home to what is regarded as one of the largest collection of Egyptian antiquities outside of Egypt.
Not far stands the symbol of Turin, namely the Mole Antonelliana. It houses the National Museum of Cinema and it is believed to be the ‘tallest museum’ in the world (167m). The building is depicted on the Italian 2-cent coin.
Behind the Piazza Costello, stands the Turin Cathedral dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, and is a major church of the city. Annexed to the Cathedral is the Chapel of the Holy Shroud, the current resting place for the Shroud of Turin. Next to the Turin Cathedral, stands the Porte Palatine,a structure that served as one of the four Roman City gates along the city walls of Turin. The Palatine Towers are among the best preserved Roman remains in northern Italy.