|Torino/Turin (Italian: Torino; Piedmontese: Turin pronunce T[y]r-ìn) is a major industrial city as well as a business and cultural center in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the west bank of the Po River. The population of the city of Turin is 908,000 (2004 census); its metropolitan area totals about 1.7 million inhabitants. The province is one of the largest in Italy, with 6,830 km (2,637 sq. mi), and one of the most populous, with 2,236,941 inhabitants at the 2004 census. Turin is well-known as the home of the Shroud of Turin, headquarters of Fiat automobile manufacturer and host of the 2006 Winter Olympics. It was the first capital of Italy.
The name of Turin comes from Tau, a Celtic word that means mountains. Its Italian name, Torino, translates as "little bull"; hence the coat of arms and the symbol of the city. The area was settled by the Taurini in pre-Roman times.
In the 1st century BC (probably 28 BC), the Romans created a military camp (Castra Taurinorum), later dedicated to Augustus (Augusta Taurinorum). The typical Roman street grid can still be seen in the modern city. Turin reached about 5,000 inhabitants at the time, all living inside the high walls.
After the fall of the Roman empire the city was conquered by the Lombards, then the Franks; in 942 the Contea di Torino ("Countship of Turin", also known as March), was founded, since 1050 held by the family of the (then) Counts of Savoy. While the dignity of count was held by the Bishop as conte di Turino, 1092-1130 and 1136 - 1191, it was ruled as a prince-bishopric by the Bishops. It was a lordship 1230 - 1235 under the Marchese di Monferrato, styled Signore di Torino ('Lord')
At the end of the 13th century, when it was annexed to the Duchy of Savoy, the city already had 20,000 inhabitants. Many of the gardens and palaces were built in the 15th century when the city was redesigned. The University was also founded during this period.
Emanuele Filiberto (Iron Head) made Turin the capital of the Duchy of Savoy in 1563. Piazza San Carlo, via Po and the Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale) were built in this period.
In 1706 the French besieged the city for 117 days without conquering it (Battle of Turin). After the subsequent Treaty of Utrecht, the Kingdom of Sardinia was annexed to the Duchy of Savoy and the architect Filippo Juvarra began a major redesign of the city. Now the capital of a European kingdom, Turin had about 90,000 inhabitants at the time.
In the 19th century, after brief occupation by Napoleon, the city began to actively pursue the unification of Italy. In 1871, the Fréjus Tunnel was opened, making Turin an important communication node. The city now had 250,000 inhabitants. The Museo Egizio, the Mole Antonelliana, the Gran Madre church and Vittorio Veneto square were built in this period.
In 1861, Turin became the capital of the newly proclaimed United Italy. In 1865 the capital was moved to Florence. (Since 1870 the capital has been Rome.) Turin reacted to the loss of importance by beginning a rapid industrialisation: in 1899 FIAT was founded and Lancia in 1906. The Universal Exposition held in Turin in 1902 is often considered the pinnacle of Art Nouveau design, and the city hosted the Exposition again in 1911. By this time, Turin had grown to 430,000 inhabitants.
After World War I conflicts between workers and industrialists began. The first strikes took place and in 1920 the Lingotto factory was occupied.
After World War II Turin was rapidly rebuilt and its industries greatly developed, which caused waves of immigration, largely from the southern regions of Italy. The population reached 1 million in 1960 and peaked at 1.5 million in 1975. In the 1980s the first industrial crisis hit the city and its population began to decline (and continues to, while the metropolitan area grows). The 2005 population is 908,000.
Turin has a truly continental climate, with nothing to share with the rest of Italy which is famous for its comfortable Mediterranean climate. Winters are cold and dry, summers are cool in the hills and quite hot in the plains. During the winter and autumn months banks of fog, which are sometimes very thick, form in the plains.
The city and its suburban areas have seen an increase in immigration from Europe and other continents. The city has large group of immigrants such as Romanians, Moroccans, Peruvians, Albanians, Tunisians, Senegalese and Libyans.
Turin is also well known for its aerospace industry ( Alenia ). The Multi-Purpose Logistics Modules for the International Space Station were produced in Turin. The future European launcher projects beyond Ariane 5 will also be managed from Turin, by the new NGL company, a subsidiary of EADS (70%) and Finmeccanica (30%).
Turin is also the birthplace of some of the country's main companies, such as Telecom Italia (telecommunications), (Rai (television), and cinema. Most of these industries have since moved their headquarters to other parts of Italy, but Turin still retains the National Museum of Cinema (in the Mole Antonelliana building).
One is the 'Spina' ('spine') which includes the doubling of a major railroad crossing the town. The railroad previously ran in a trench, which will now be covered by a major boulevard. The town rail station on this line will become the main station of Turin ('Porta Susa').
The other major project is the construction of a subway line based on the VAL system, known as Metrotorino. This project is expected to continue for years and to cover a larger part of the town, but its first phase was finished in time for the Olympic Games (inaugurated on 4 February 2006 and opened to the public the day after). This first leg of the subway system links the nearby town of Collegno with the Porta Susa station in Turin's town centre; the next leg extending the service to the 'Porta Nuova' railway station is expected by June 2007. This underground transportation project has historical importance for Turin, as the town has dreamed of an underground line for decades, the first project dating as far back as the twenties. In fact, the main street in the town centre ('Via Roma') runs atop a tunnel built during the fascist era (when 'Via Roma' was built). The tunnel was supposed to host the underground line but is now used as an underground car park. A project to build an underground system was ready in the seventies, with government funding for it and for similar projects in Milan and Rome; whilst the other two cities went ahead with the projects, Turin local government led by mayor Diego Novelli shelved the proposal as it believed it to be too costly and unnecessary, but that only meant more funding for Rome and Milan.