Its positin against the French and Swiss Alps has helped forge in Piemonte (Pied-mont) an identy quite separate from the rest of Italy. The region's neat and tidy northernmost reaches could easily be Swiss, while Torino's grand squares, arcades and sophisticated cafč life owe more to French influence than anything "typically Italian".
The House of Savoy, which ruled Piemonte during the early 11th century, created one of Europe's grand cities in Torino. Much of Italy's industrial boom this century has its roots in the region, particulrary in the around Torino, where Fiat started making cars. Piemonte cuisine is heavily influenced by French cooking and uses marinated meats and vegetables.
The crips climate is no hindrance to wine- making, and you can find some good reds, notably those from the vineyards of Barolo and Barbera, and sparkling wines from Asti.Centrally located, Torino is an ideal base for exploring the region. The area's main attraction is the Grande Traversata delle Alpi (GTA), a walk of more than 200km through the Alps from the Ligurian border to lago Maggiore in the north-east of the region.
TorinoA gracious city of wide boulevards, elegant arcades and grand public buildings, Torino is built beside a pretty stretch of the Po river. Although much of the industrial and suburban sprawl, especially west and south of the city centre, is predictably awful, the city is blessed with a green belt in the hills east of the river, with views to the snow-covered Alps west and north.
Surface (Kmq): 25.399
City: Torino (TO); Alessandria (AL); Asti (AT); Biella (BI); Cuneo (CN); Novara (NO); Verbano-Cusio-Ossola (VB); Vercelli (VC).