The former capital of the Italian kingdom and current capital of Piedmont region, Turin is a beautiful city in northern Italy.
Turin is a 2000-year-old aristocratic lady. Its origins are linked to the first settlements of Celtic tribes around the 3rd century BC. In 58 BC, Julius Ceasar set up a military settlement, Julia Taurinorum, where the Po and Dora Riparia rivers join, but the official foundation of the city is to be placed in 28 BC when Emperor Octavianus Augustus founded the second outpost and named it Augusta Taurinorum.
From the 4th and 5th centuries, Turin has been under Barbarians’ attack, in 569 the Longobards made the city capital of a dukedom, and in 773 Charlemagne made it the centre of a Frankish countship. In the 10th century, Turin was incorporated in the Marca Arduinica, a vassal territory of the Italic Kingdom and the Sacred Roman Empire created after the fall of the Anscarids rule. In the 11th century, Adelaide di Susa from the Marca Arduinica rulers married Oddone of Savoy, officially kicking off the influence of the Savoy clan over the territory.
Turin as a crucial European hub
For some 1000 years, the Savoys ruled Turin. Widely connected to the other royal families through strategic marriages, they contributed in making it one of the crucial European hubs as well as a magnificent and lively city. In the 16th century, Turin became the capital of the Savoy Kingdom and in the immediate years the citadel and the battlements were built, the city center was given its distinctive Baroque style, austere and elegant. Architects, artists, and writers started pouring and Turin royal court quickly became a center for the arts with names such as Torquato Tasso, Gianbattista Marino, and Filippo Juvarra.
In 1706, Turin lived 117 days under the siege of the French Army, but the citadel fought back and the was freed also thanks to the fierce sacrifice of men like Pietro Micca who died in the explosion he himself set off to prevent the French troops from moving forward from the tunnels surrounding the city.
1713 saw Turin become the capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia and more palaces were built and renovated to make it look grand enough for the newly acquired status of imperial capital. Napoleon occupied the city in June 1800 demolishing the bastions and the gates and replacing them with the boulevards Paris-style. French became the official language and a guillotine was erected in Piazza Carlo Emanuele. Turin lived French-style until 1814 when the Vienna Congress approved the return of the Savoy with Vittorio Emanuele I as the king.
After strong support to the battles of the Italian Risorgimento, in 1861, Turin became the first capital of unified Italy and Vittorio Emanuele II was declared the last king of the Sardo-Piedmont Kingdom and the first king of Italy. Only four years later, however, and despite fierce protests in Turin, the title of capital of the new nation was given to Florence.
Turin never gave up on its cultural and economic importance. In the late 19th century essential factories such as FIAT and Officine Savigliano were born and at the beginning of the 20th century, Turin was one of the world’s industrial capitals.
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