REGIONAL CAPITAL: Torino
PROVINCIAL CAPITALS: Alessandria, Asti, Biella, Cuneo, Novara, Vercelli, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola
OTHER INTERESTING PLACES: Alba, Susa, Ivrea
The region’s position against the French and Swiss Alps has helped forge an identity for Piemonte that is quite separate from tht of the rest of Italy. The house of the Savoy (originally a feudal family from south-east France) which ruled Piemonte in the early 11th century, created one of the Europe’s grand cities in Torino. The area’s main attraction is the Grande Traversata delle Alpi, a walk of more than 200km through the Alps.
PLACES TO SEE:
Torino: Piazza Castello and its Palazzo Madama; Chiesa di San Lorenzo; Palazzo Reale and Giardino Reale; Armeria Reale; Teatro Regio; the Duomo di San Giovanni that houses the Shroud of Turin; Palazzo Carignano; Palazzo Cavour; Palazzo dell’Accademia delle Scienze; Museo Egizio; Galleria Sabauda; Museo della Sindone; Museo dell’Automobile; Palazzo Bricherasio; Mole Antonelliana; Museo Nazionale del Cinema; Castello del Valentino; Basilica di Superga; the Palazzina di Caccia dello Stupinigi.
Susa:Roman ruins: the aqueduct, the amphitheatre, Arco di Augusto.
Sestriere: one of Europe’s most fashionable ski resorts!
Asti: go wine-tasting! In town there are numerous places to sample the Asti wine.
The most famous dish is the bagna caoda, meat dipped in oil, anchovies and garlic; there also are excellent white truffles and porcini (boletus) mushrooms; risotto alla piemontese is rice with butter and cheese; zuppa canavesana is a turnip soup; try the delicious panna cotta, a kind of crème caramel and gianduiotti, chocolates filled with helzenut cream or grappini, filled with grappa.
The town of Ivrea explodes out of its year-round torpor in early February to celebrate the Battaglia delle Arance (Battle of the Oranges ). When Napoleon occupied this part of Italy at the beginning of the 19th century, his administration ordered everyone to wear red revolutionary bonnets. They also put a stop to the fatal nature of the brawling ordering that from then on the re-enactment of the famous uprising was to be carried out with oranges. And so today, for ten consecutive days, teams of “revolutionaries” wait at 4 different piazzas far roaming carts laden with helmeted “soldiers” and they pound each others with tonnes of oranges. Anyone on the ground caught not wearing some kind of red headgear is considered fair game for a massive orange assault by “rebel” sqads.
Piedmont, Italy - map