Turin (Torino), a city of about 1 million inhabitants in northwestern Italy, is the capital of the province of the same name and of the Piedmont (Piedmont) region.
Turin was founded by the Romans; their presence is still remembered by the Porta Palatina from the 1st century. The city is perhaps best known for the headquarters of the Fiat factories, founded by the Agnelli family in 1899. (The letters FIAT stand for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino.) Many people mistakenly think that Turin is an industrial city that is not very interesting . Nothing could be further from the truth!
Turin was the seat of the House of Savoy, the rulers of Sardinia and Piedmont who would supply the Italian kings after the unification of Italy in 1861. Their palace, the Palazzo Reale, houses the Armeria Reale, one of the world's largest weapon collections, and the Galleria Sabauda houses a large collection of paintings brought together by the Savoys.
In the Cathedral of Turin (in the Capella della Sacra Sindone designed by Guarino Guarini) is the famous Shroud: a cloth with the imprint of a man.
According to tradition, the body of Christ was wrapped in this cloth after the crucifixion; the face on the shroud is said to be an imprint of the face of Jesus. Although according to scientific research (with the so-called carbon dating method) the shroud only dates back to the 12th century, the cloth is revered by many believers. The Vatican considers the shroud authentic.
During the Second World War, the shroud was stored in a monastery in the south of Italy. It was feared that Hitler – who showed a suspicious interest in the relic during a visit in 1938 – might want to steal it. In 1943, German soldiers actually searched the monastery in question, but left the praying monks around the altar alone. That is where the shroud was hidden.
To sports enthusiasts, Turin is best known as the home of Juventus, one of Italy's most successful football clubs. (The club is owned by the Agnelli family.) In early 2006, the Winter Olympics were held in Turin.