The Province of Turin lies on the border with France and Val d'Aosta, extending to Pinerolo, the picturesque Val di Susa, the Canavese and the hills to the east and south of the City of Turin.
The area is characterized by its varied landscapes: magnificent alpine resorts, vast pasturelands, woods and large stretches of vineyards.
The Province is also home to a number of reserves, including the Sacro Monte Natural Reserve in Belmonte, and the wonderful Gran Paradiso National Park, the undisputed realm of ibex, chamois, marmots, rare birds and other animals.
In this spectacular natural landscape, cultural and historical finds abound.
The entire territory is permeated with signs of the long reign of Savoy: think elaborate Savoy residences surrounded by grand parks (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Yet the most visible evidence of the Savoys' power is on view in Turin, an eclectic city that is a sort of open-air museum combining Baroque palaces, monuments from its glorious past and contemporary architecture. It is truly a dynamic scene that allows various styles to exist in complete harmony.
Not only, but countless other treasures await those who would admire them, from imposing mountain fortresses like Forte Fenestrelle and Forte Exilles, to the abbeys lining the ancient Via Francigena or standing in the quiet solitude the countryside - the Sacra di San Michele, one of the most impressive monuments in Piedmont, comes to mind.
The area’s historic town centers are custodians of ancient traditions: Ivrea, with its remarkable artistic heritage; Susa, Chivasso, Chieri; and the hamlet of Mélezet, preserving precious 15th-Century artworks.
Finally, the local cuisine is without equals: delicious dishes, traditional recipes, excellent wines and the famous gianduja chocolate offer flavors to suit every palate.
Turin Province surprises without limits, and shines bright with the glow of its epic history, its fascinating culture, and its magnificent natural landscape.
Exploration of the Provincial terrain should begin, naturally, in Turin, a unique city were modernity exists alongside tradition, entertainment alongside productivity, and history alongside the present.
Look for the historic cafes and elegant shops in Piazza San Carlo and Via Roma; the Egyptian Museum with its precious relics left behind by the ancient people of the Nile; the Automobile Museum, a symbol of modernity; and the National Museum of Cinema, housed inside the 18th-Century Mole Antonelliana, the emblem of Turin.
Unique examples of religious architecture abound, such as the Renaissance Duomo, dating back to the Renaissance; and the Sindone Chapel, one of the most important creations of the Baroque and a highly-revered religious site.
The magnificent public buildings include Palazzo Carignano, Palazzo Madama and Palazzo Reale, as well as the prestigious Savoy residences.
Turin is the guardian of treasures that include the priceless artworks of the Pinacoteca Agnelli, housed in the Lingotto building; the artworks of the Galleria Sabauda; and the unique weapons collections of the Armeria Reale.
The imposing Porta Palatina is one of the few relics from the Roman era, while the Parco del Valentino encloses the evocative replications of the old Medieval Borgo, built for a a world expo at the end of the 18th Century.
In the hills surrounding Turin, we find the Basilica di Superga, an important shrine to the Virgin Mary that also bears the tombs of the House of Savoy.
Among the important religious artworks tucked away in the magnificent countryside are the Romanesque Sacra di San Michele, the impressive Medieval Abbey of Novalesa, the Gothic-Romanesque complex of Sant’Antonio di Ranverso and the Abbey of Santa Fede di Cavagnolo, a Romanesque jewel in Monferrato.
The Sacro Monte di Belmonte, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, is a complex with outstanding natural, artistic and religious value. Also constituting a UNESCO World Heritage Site are the Savoy residences, locatedthroughout the Province. They can make up part of a unique tour of art, history and culture that incorporates the royal palaces of Turin: Villa della Regina, Borgo Castello in La Mandria Park, the Royal Palace of Venaria, the Royal Castle of Moncalieri, the Rivoli and Agliè Castles, and the Palazzina di Caccia (Hunting Lodge) di Stupinigi.
The spectacular Val di Susa should not be missed; a snow-covered stretch in the Alps boasting the enchanting hubs of Avigliana and Susa, it has been traversed by various peoples through the ages. Other atmospheric towns are Chieri, Pinerolo, Moncalieri, while the glorious past of the territory is reflected in the various mountain refuges of the Canavese area, and in the Red-Towered Castle of Ivrea.
Winter sports play an important role in this magnificent corner of the Alps and in the touristic resorts that were renovated for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. From Cesana Torinese to Sestriere, from San Sicario to Sauze d’Oulx, and from Bardonecchia to Torre Pellice, hundreds of miles of slopes attract lovers of skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating, climbing and trekking.
Golfers, too, will appreciate the diverse greens set amidst stunning landscapes.
The hills to the south of Turin are the perfect location for walking, cycling and horseback riding, offering enchanting views and expanses of vineyards, while rivers make for idea canoeing and rafting experiences.
Many special events are staged in the Province throughout the year, including cultural exhibitions: think the Salone Internazionale del Libro (International Book Fair) in Turin, and the Feast Days of the Saints, e.g. of San Giovanni (St. John) in Turin, with its historical processions for chocolate makers and enthusiasts: CioccolaTò brings together all the Italian chocolate maestros in the city of Turin while the Bal dâ Sabbie in Fenestrelle, a folkloristic event, celebrates mountain-dwelling traditions, and the historic Carnival of Ivrea shows off its famous Battle of the Oranges.
Turin is also a shopping capital, with elegant boutiques under the arcades of Via Roma and inside sumptuous Baroque buildings.
The entire Province of Turin is characterized by strong culinary traditions that govern each course, from starters to desserts. Turin is the home of grissini (bread sticks), vermouth and gianduja chocolates.
Typical dishes are agnolotti del plin, small squares of pasta filled with meat and vegetables and topped with gravy and sage; soups like the tofeja; the rabbit dish coniglio alla canavesana; gigot, meat cooked in a bronze pot; and, of course, bagna caoda,a warm dip served with fresh vegetables.
Other local favorites include cheeses, pinerolese mushrooms, and chestnuts from the Val di Susa.
The tour of gastronomic delights concludes with a wide range of desserts: the famous baci di dama, nocciolini of Chivasso, biscotti della duchessa, the crispy torcetti di Agliè, Andrate e Lanzo, melia pastries, biscuits made with corn flour, amaretti of Castellamonte and, of course, gianduja chocolate, well-known and appreciated around the world.
The bicerin is a delicious drink native Turin made with coffee, chocolate and cream; it pairs perfectly with the bonet, an amaretti and chocolate dessert.
Finally, this area boasts excellent wines, in particular, strong reds: Barbera, Barolo, Nebbiolo and Freisa di Chieri.