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Major Cities of Italy

 

EurFirst Trip to Turin, Italy

Revised July 8, 2008

Until it hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics, Turin was often overlooked by tourists. But even before its Olympic debut, the city contributed much to Italy in terms of income and spirit. Turin is home to FIAT (Fabrica Italiana Automobili Torino), the city's most important employer and one of Italy's major manufacturers, shipping the spritely cars that it produces around the world. As the gateway to the Piemonte, the city boasts great food and wine and opportunities for travel through some of Italy's most beautiful wine regions. For others, Turin is a place to organize trips into Italy's first national park, the spectacular Gran Paradiso and the scenic beauty of Canavase and the Valley of Lanzo

The main attractions in the city are the:

  • Duomo of Turin,
  • the Porta Palatina,
  • Valentino and the other city parks
  • the museums of contemporary art,
  • the Mole Antonelliana, and
  • the Museo dell'Automobile.

The Shroud of Turin in the Duomo

The simple exterior of the Duomo of Turin conceals its importance in Roman Catholic history. Attached to the cathedral is the Cappella della Sacra Sindone which holds the Shroud of Turin, the wrapping in which Christ is believed to have been buried and upon which an imprint of Christ's body appears. When it was carbon dated in 1988 it was determined to be less than 900 years old. Still, the original shroud is stored in a silver container on the altar to protect and only a replica is on display.

The Porta Palatina

The Porta Palatina is a the city's best Roman ruin, a first century AD building with a statue of Caesar Augustus in front. The piazza at the Palatina has been restyled by the famed Spanish designer, Beth Gali with the dramatic use of furniture and lighting to create a new space where tourists and locals can enjoy summer evenings. The exhibit will be open through October 2008.

Mole Antoneiliana

Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the 19th-century citizens of Turin adorned their city's skyline with a striking landmark that rose high above the rest of the buildings. The Mole Antonelliana was, for a brief period, the tallest building in the world, with a unique spire that reached a height of 167 meters (548 feet). It is now an exhibit hall and a great place to view the city of Turin and the beauty of the Alps in the distance.

The Museo dell'Automobile

The museo dell'Automobile is a tribute the century-old Italian automobile industry that developed in Turin. It houses a lot of great Italian cars like Maseratis, Ferraris, and Fiats. There are Bugattis and Lancias, the first car driven in Italy and the first Fiat. In the museum's library, you can learn more about the design and development of Italian cars.

Gran Paradiso and the Italian Alps

Turin is not far from the tallest mountains in western Europe, Monte Bianco (Mount Blanc) at 4810 meters (15,780 feet; taller than Mt. Whitney) and Monte Cervino (the Matterhorn that is replicated as the bobsled ride at Disneyland) at 4,478 meters (14,691 feet). On both mountains, you can ride cable cars to enjoy the incredible views and, even on a warm summer day, you can ski. In 1922, the Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso was created from the hunting estate of the ruling family of the area, the Savoys. It preserves a part of the wilderness mountain area that typifies the Italian Alps.

Aosta

And within a day's drive from Turin, you can tour the town of Aosta which the Romans captured in 25 BC. The Roman ruins in Aosta are more interesting than those found in Turin, and if you head to Aosta by car, you enjoy one of the most scenic rides in Italy.

Bologna

Many think of the nearby city of Bologna as the epicurean center of Italy. From the rich farmland, many of Italy's best foods are produced. The restaurants as the center of the town create savory meals using the local fare.

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