Our beloved region of Piedmont is located in Italy’s northwest, at the foot of Alps, with France (to the west) and Switzerland (north) on its borders. It’s bordered on the east by Lombardy, the Italian region where the city of Milan is the capital.
Its name literally means at the foot of the Alps (piede means foot in Italian and monte, in this instance, means mountain).
The capital of Piedmont is the city of Turin.
Many of you know Turin because it’s where FIAT and the Italian automobile industry is located.
But Turin has also been a cultural epicenter for centuries, stretching back to the times of the Romans who built a settlement there on the banks of the Po River, Italy’s largest and most important river.
One of Europe’s most beautiful 19th-century cities, Turin was also Italy’s first capital when the Italian constitutional and parliamentarian monarchy was founded in 1861. Italy’s first Prime Minister, Camillo Cavour, was born there. He was one of the primary forces behind Italy’s unification (before 1861, Italy, or better yet, the Italian peninsula, was made up of a series of historic “city states” and was often subjected to foreign rule). He only served a short time as Prime Minister before he died. But he lived to see Turin as the capital of the newly born state. The capital was later moved to Rome, 10 years after his death in 1871.
In the 20th century, Turin became the center of Italian industry and most notably the heart of the Italian automobile trade. FIAT, Italy’s historic automobile producer, was founded there in 1899. Over the course of first half of the 1900s, it would become the biggest auto maker in all of Europe.
Piedmont and its capital Turin are also beacons of Italian culture. Over the centuries, Piedmont has been home to some of the world’s greatest poets, writers, artists, musicians, journalists, philosophers, politicians, and other cultural icons.
Stay tuned for more on Piedmont and its many famous daughters and sons in