Elaine Schoch is a recovering corporate climber. She began writing Carpe Travel after leaving the corporate world to try to gain a better work life balance. Her writings at Carpe Travel focus on balancing life and work with her passions – traveling (with kids) and discovering new wines from regions around the world. She’s married to “The Husband” and has two little Princesses. You’d think her traveling days would have slowed down with two kids in tow, on the contrary, Elaine is determined to show them the world. The Princesses have already become two very well travelled little people who have been earning miles and status before the ripe age of three-years-old. You can find Elaine’s travel tales, musings and tips on Carpe Travel. Or follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
14 Fun Facts to Know about Turin
How much do you know about Turin? Not, where to eat or things to do Turin, but the real history of the city? I will admit I knew almost nothing, besides the fact it had the nearest airport in Piedmont that could get me home. With only a day in Turin, I simply didn't have enough time to soak in the richness of its art, history and yes, amazing foods. The history buff in me, however, had plenty of time to soak in several fun facts to share…so now without further adieu here is your travel history lesson on a city you think you may know or are getting ready to know.
1. Turin’s rich culture and history dates back to more than 2,000 years. It’s been home to ancient tribes, to the Roman’s who helped make Turin a prosperous colony. The Roman’s were responsible for building the traditional street grid (and brick roads), then lining them with monuments and ornate buildings. Many of these ancient structures have since been destroyed but there are remains here and there. The Roman Theatre - Augusta Taurinorum – is a great one to visit.
2. The Bicerin is the traditional hot drink, native to Turin. It is made up of carefully poured layers of espresso, drinking chocolate and whole milk. It was at Caffé Al Bicerin in piazza della Consolata where the drink was first invented in the late 18th century, and became popular with the aristocracy. You can still enjoy one there today!
3. And since we’re drinking here, Vermouth was also originated in Turin. All the more reason to enjoy an aperitivo in Turin!
4. The Shroud of Turin – believed to be the burial shroud of Christ – is kept within the simple, 16th century Renaissance Cathedral of Turin in Piazza San Giovanni.
5. Turin is Italy’s fourth-largest city with a population of 2.2 million in the metropolitan area.
6. Why would Turin have a museum that is home to the most important – and largest – Egyptian collection in the world? Long history lesson made short, there were prominent Italians interested in Egyptian artifacts who built the collection and in the 1900’s Italy launched multiple archaeological excavations along the Nile, building the collection out further. The museum is home to several important Egyptian artifacts including 98 statues, prehistoric tombs, and a collection of papyri considered as the most important set of Egyptian written documents in the world. (It’s a must if you’re looking for thing to do in Turin.)
7. Students of art history take note and get ready for some eye candy. Turin is well known for its Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neo-classical, AND Art Nouveau architecture. Simply take a walk down the streets and you’ll find yourself immersed in architectural art.
8. With the headquarters of automobile manufacturers FIAT, Lancia and Alfa Romeo it’s no wonder Turin is known as "the Automobile Capital of Italy".
9. Turin's several monuments and sights have made the city one of the world's top 250 tourist destinations, and one of the 10 most visited cities in Italy. (Italy is the fifth most visited country in the world.)
10. Turin, like the rest of Piedmont, was annexed by the French Empire in 1802 and remained as such until the fall of Napoleon in 1814. The Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia was then restored with Turin as its capital.
11. In Piazza San Carlo, Turin’s most famous piazza, you will find almost twin façades churches – Santa Cristina (St Christine) and San Carlo (St Charles Borromeo). They were built in 1689 under the wishes of Marie Christine of France and given to the Augustinian friars and Carmelite nuns; one for the girls and one for the boys. Today, the two buildings serve as main places of worship and an amazing art and architectural history lesson for art lovers.
12. If you get to Piazza San Carlo – which you must – take a walk around the piazza and look for a golden bull. Oh, and make sure to look down since it’s in the pavement. The golden bull is the symbol of the city of Turin and according legend, if you walk on it, you will receive good luck.
13. The National Museum of the Italian Risorgimento (Museo Nazionale del Risorgimento Italiano) had been The Palace of the Savoy and the birthplace to the first Italian king when the provinces of Italy joined together to form a unified country. It later became the site the first government met when Turin became Italy’s FIRST capital. The capital was later moved to Rome.
14. The Po River is Italy’s longest river and a main water source for feeding vineyards, crops, rice fields and fisheries. In Turin, the river makes for a beautiful setting for a walk or bike ride along its banks. It’s also home to Turin’s largest parks, the Parco del Valentino. The park preserves a genuine 16th century castle and a reconstructed 15th century medieval hamlet.
Any other fun facts people should know before they visit Turin? Let us know in the comments.
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