Turin is a city and an important business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region and was the first capital city of Italy. The city is located mainly on the western bank of the Po River, in front of Susa Valley and surrounded by the western Alpine arch and by the Superga Hill. The population of the city proper is 892,649 (August 2015) while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat to be 1.7 million inhabitants. The Turin metropolitan area is estimated by the OECD to have a population of 2.2 million.
In 1997 a part of the historical center of Torino was inscribed in the World Heritage List under the name Residences of the Royal House of Savoy.
The city has a rich culture and history, and is known for its numerous art galleries, restaurants, churches, palaces, opera houses, piazzas, parks, gardens, theatres, libraries, museums and other venues. Turin is well known for its Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neo-classical, and Art Nouveau architecture.
Many of Turin's public squares, castles, gardens and elegant palazzi such as Palazzo Madama, were built between the 16th and 18th centuries. This was after the capital of the Duchy of Savoy (later Kingdom of Sardinia) was moved to Turin from Chambery (now in France) as part of the urban expansion.
The city used to be a major European political center. Turin was Italy's first capital city in 1861 and home to the House of Savoy, Italy's royal family. From 1563, it was the capital of the Duchy of Savoy, then of the Kingdom of Sardinia ruled by the Royal House of Savoy and finally the first capital of the unified Italy. Turin is sometimes called "the cradle of Italian liberty" for having been the birthplace and home of notable politicians and people who contributed to the Risorgimento, such as Cavour.
The city currently hosts some of Italy's best universities, colleges, academies, lycea and gymnasia, such as the University of Turin, founded in the 15th century, and the Turin Polytechnic. In addition, the city is home to museums such as the Museo Egizio and the Mole Antonelliana . Turin's attractions make it one of the world's top 250 tourist destinations and the tenth most visited city in Italy in 2008.
Even though much of its political significance and importance had been lost by World War II, Turin became a major European crossroad for industry, commerce and trade, and is part of the famous "industrial triangle" along with Milan and Genoa. Turin is ranked third 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. As of 2010, the city has been ranked by GaWC as a Gamma World city. Turin is also home to much of the Italian automotive industry.
Turin is well known as the home of the Shroud of Turin, the football teams Juventus F.C. and Torino F.C., the headquarters of automobile manufacturers FIAT, Lancia and Alfa Romeo, and as host of the 2006 Winter Olympics.
Turin is located in northwest Italy. It is surrounded on the western and northern front by the Alps and on the eastern front by a high hill that is the natural continuation of the hills of Monferrato. Four major rivers pass through the city: the Po and three of its tributaries, the Dora Riparia (once known as Duria Minor by the Romans, from the Celtic noun duria meaning "water"), the Stura di Lanzo and the Sangone.
In 2009, the city proper had a population of about 910,000, which is a significant increase on the 2001 census figure. This result is due to a growing immigration from Southern Italy and abroad. Approximately 13.5 per cent (122.946) of the population is composed of foreigners, the largest numbers coming from Romania (51,017), Morocco (22,511), Albania (9,165), China (5,483), and Moldova (3,417). Like many Northern Italian cities, there is a large proportion of pensioners in comparison to youth. Around 18 per cent of the population is under 20 years of age, while 22 per cent is over 65. The population of the Turin urban area totals 1.7 million inhabitants, ranking fourth in Italy, while the Turin metropolitan area has a population of 2.2 million inhabitants. The median age is 43.7.
Turin is a major automotive and aerospace centre, home of Fiat (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino; Turin Italian Automobiles Factory), part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group, the sixth largest automotive company in the world. In 2008 the city generated a GDP of $68 billion, ranking as the world's 78th richest city by purchasing power, and 16th in Europe, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. The city has been ranked in 2010 by Globalization and World Cities Research Network as a Gamma level city.
Other companies operating in Turin are Maserati, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Iveco, Pininfarina, Bertone, Sparco, Italdesign Giugiaro, General Motors, New Holland, Comau, Magneti Marelli, Graziano Oerlikon, Ghia, Fioravanti (automotive), Rai (national broadcasting company), Intesa Sanpaolo (bank), Reale Mutua, Kappa (fashion), Lavazza (coffee), Martini & Rossi (beverage), Ferrero SpA (food).
The city is also well known for its aerospace industry Alenia Aeronautica, Thales Alenia Space and Avio. The International Space Station modules Harmony, Columbus, Tranquility, as well as the Cupola and all MPLMs were produced in Turin. The future European launcher projects beyond Ariane 5 will also be managed from Turin by the new NGL company, a subsidiary of EADS (70%) and Aircraft Division of Leonardo-Finmeccanica (30%).
Turin, as the former capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia and the Kingdom of Italy, is home of the Savoy Residences. In addition to the 17th-century Royal Palace, built for Madama Reale Christine Marie of France (the official residence of the Savoys until 1865) there are many palaces, residences and castles in the city centre and in the surrounding towns. Turin is home to Palazzo Chiablese, the Royal Armoury, the Royal Library, Palazzo Madama, Palazzo Carignano, Villa della Regina, and the Valentino Castle. The complex of the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy in Turin and in the nearby cities of Rivoli, Moncalieri, Venaria Reale, Agliè, Racconigi, Stupinigi, Pollenzo and Govone was declared a World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1997. In recent years, Turin has become an increasingly popular tourist destination, ranking 203rd in the world and 10th in Italy in 2008, with about 240,000 international arrivals.
The Egyptian Museum of Turin specialises in archaeology and anthropology, in particular the Art of Ancient Egypt. It is home to what is regarded as one of the largest collections of Egyptian antiquities outside of Egypt. In 2006 it received more than 500,000 visitors. The Museum of Oriental Art houses one of the most important Asian art collections in Italy.
Other museums include the Puppet Museum, the Museo Nazionale dell'Automobile, the Museum of Human Anatomy Luigi Rolando, and the Museo Nazionale della Montagna (National Museum of the Mountains).
The city is home to the well-known Shroud of Turin: a linen cloth bearing the image of a man who appears to have suffered physical trauma in a manner consistent with crucifixion. It is kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in the city centre. The origins of the shroud and its image are still the subject of intense debate among scientists, theologians, historians and researchers. It is popularly believed to be a depiction of Jesus Christ, however this matter is still controversial, as there seems to be a sufficient amount of historical and scientific evidence supporting the idea that it is, or is not, the Holy Face of Jesus. Nonetheless, it is a symbol of religious devotion and is one of the city's main symbols and tourist attractions.
After it had been little more than a town for a long time, in 1559 the Duke Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy made Turin the capital of his domains. The Duke had ambition to transform the city into a major artistic and cultural capital, and in the following centuries numerous artists were to work at the Savoy court, especially architects and planners like Carlo di Castellamonte and his son Amedeo, Guarino Guarini and, in the 18th century, Filippo Juvarra and Benedetto Alfieri.
As for the painting and the visual arts, Turin became a point of reference, especially in the 20th century. In the 1920s, the painter Felice Casorati inspired a number of students called The group of six of Turin and these included Carlo Levi, Henry Paolucci, Gigi Chessa, Francis Menzio, Nicola Galante and Jessie Boswell. Artists born in Turin include the sculptor Umberto Mastroianni and the architect Carlo Mollino. Between the 1960s and the 1970s, the international centre of Turin (Arte Povera), the presence in the city of artists like Alighiero Boetti, Mario Merz, Giuseppe Penone, Piero Gilardi and Michelangelo Pistoletto. In those years there was a strong artistic influence of designer Armando Testa. Artists currently operating in the city include Ugo Nespolo and Carol Rama.