Turin (Italian: Torino) is a metropolis in the north-east of Italy and the capital of the region of Piedmont. With a population of about 900,000 people and an area of 130 km², it is the fourth biggest city in Italy after Rome, Naples and Milan. Turin is located at a height of about 240 metres, is crossed by the Po and borders on the Alps on the west and north as well as on Montferrato in the south. The climate in Turin is humid and warm to temperate with long warm summers and cool, partly foggy winters.
The name "Turin" is of Celtic origin and is derived from the Celtic word "Tau" ("mountains"). In the third century BC, before the Roman settlement Augusta Taurinorum, the Celtic tribe of the Taurini populated the city's present-day territory. At the end of the 13th century, Turin was conquered by the Savoys, who shaped the city regarding economy, art and culture. Some of the metropolis' most important buildings date back to their time of rule. The residences of the dukes of Savoy such as the Palazzo Reale and the Palazzo Madama at the Piazza Castello are part of the World Cultural Heritage of the UNESCO. The city's university was also founded during the rule of the House of Savoy (1404). In the 20th century, the world-famous car company Fiat, which was founded in Turin in 1899, had both economic and social influence. You can learn more about this and see the company's first models in the national Automobile Museum (Museo Nazionale dell'Automobile). One of the landmarks of the university and cultural city is the Mole Antonelliana. The building, which was supposed to be a synagogue and was completed in 1880, accommodates a Film Museum now. Using a levitating lift made of glass, travellers are able to reach the viewing platform at a height of 85 metres, which offers a breathtaking view of the city and the peaks of the Alps. Other worthwhile museums and buildings are the Museo Egizio, which is the second biggest Egyptian museum on earth, Turin Cathedral (Duomo di San Giovanni Battista), which accommodates the Shroud of Turin (considered to be the cloth in which Jesus was buried), and the pilgrimage church on the Superga hill.
Turin is an important city of culture and art, which is apparant from the events which take place throughout the year, for example. Musical events, countless theatre performances and exhibitions characterise the city's cultural life. Popular examples are the Settembre Musica ("musical September"), Salone del Libro ("book fair") and the Torino Film Festival Festival del Cinema Giovani. In addition, the opera house Teatro Regio and the Teatro Stabile perform classic and modern plays throughout the year. As many other big cities, Turin is a great destination for going shopping. The city's shopping miles are the Via Romana, the Via Po and the Via Garibaldi. Turin's cuisine is influenced by the French cuisine (like Piedmont) and is most of all known for its wines and sweets. The chocolate production, which created the chocolate Gianduiotto (made of cocoa and hazelnuts) and the chocolate coffee drink Bicerin, is characteristic of the city. Since 2003, Turin has been hosting the Festival Cioccolatò, which is all about chocolate.
Besides sightseeing and cultural events, Turin's surroundings offer a great number of active leisure activities. While visitors can do winter sports in the nearby Alps in winter, hikers and climbers get their money's worth in summer. Another leisure activity you can enjoy in summer and spring isn a wine tour on the plantations near the city. In addition, there are several golf clubs in and around the city, so that Turin is a great destination for golfers.
The summers in Turin are long and pleasantly warm, which makes them the ideal season for city trips. However, spring and autumn are also a good time for visiting Piedmont's capital. Winter, on the other hand, is the ideal time for exploring the peaks of the Alps in addition to the city's attractions.