There’s a whiff of Paris in Turin’s elegant tree-lined boulevards and echoes of Vienna in its stately art nouveau cafes, but make no mistake – this elegant, Alp-fringed city is utterly self-possessed. The innovative Torinese gave the world its first saleable hard chocolate, perpetuated one of its greatest mysteries (the Holy Shroud), popularised a best-selling car (the Fiat) and inspired the black-and-white stripes of one of the planet’s most iconic football teams (Juventus).
Turin also gave the world Italy as we now know it: Piedmont, with its wily Torinese president, the Count of Cavour, was the engine room of the Risorgimento (literally ‘the Resurgence’, referring to Italian unification). Turin also briefly served as Italy’s first capital and donated its monarchy – the venerable, possibly past it, House of Savoy – to the newly unified Italian nation in 1861.
The 2006 Winter Olympics shook the city from a deep post-industrial malaise, and sparked an urban revival, with a cultural knock-on effect that has seen a contemporary art, architecture and design scene blossom in the city.