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Map of Farm houses in Piedmont


Information on Piedmont


4.302.565 abitanti




In the north with the Valley D' Aosta and Switzerland, in the east with Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy, in the south with Liguria, in the west with France.


Although Piedmont is noted all over Europe for its industries, agriculture is also important to the economy of the country. In this region ricegrowing is of the highest importance (Vercelli is the city famous for rice), but wheat, corn, pepper and soya cultivation is also on a high level. However we must point out that the mountainous areas too add to the economy with cattle rearing and wood processing which is well developed because of the great number of forests in the region. The hilly areas provide orchards and vinegrowing; especially for famous wines like Moscato, Barolo, Barbera and Nebbiolo. Asti is the city centre for wine.


Piedmont, which means "land at the foot of the mountains" is the westernmost region in Italy, is surrounded in the north and west by the Alps and by the Appenines in the south, while in the east it is bounded by the Plain of the river Po, the only flat area in this region of Italy. The Piedmont Alps consist of the Marittime Alps, the Cozie Alps, the Pennine Alps and the Lepontine Alps; these include the important mountain passes of the Simplon at 2.055 m, the Great Saint Bernard at 2.467 m and the Lesser Saint Bernard at 2.188 m. We only have to point out these mountain peaks to confirm that one third of the entire area of Piedmont is above the 1.000 metres level and reaches its highest altitude at Monvisio at 3.841 m. The river Po has its source in the northern flank of this mountain and is the longest river in Italy (652 kms); its Piedmont Tributaries are the Dora Riparia, the Dora Baltea, the Sesia, the Tanaro and the Scrivia. Coming from the mountains, these rivers form many lakes, the best known of which are Lake Maggiore (althrough only the western stretch belongs to Piedmont), Lake Viverone and Lake of Orta. There are also several hills and those which are most relevant are the Po Hills, Montferrat, the Langhe and the Canavese. Below the altitude of 1.000 metres this region offers the wonderful and natural spectacle of superb trees; birch, beech, oak and other deciduons trees. Lastely, the winters are cold and long, summers are hot and airless and in the autumn there is a lot of fog down on the Plain. Topography: Mountain 43,3% Hilly 30,3% Lowland 26,4%


Towards the end of the last century, industy in Piedmont developed at a remarkable rate because of the many rivers and waterfalls which provide a plantiful hydro-electrical energy. Metal mechanics and car industries began to grow alongside the wool and cotton mills. Before the First World War, the car industry found its "Jevel in the Crown" in the FIAT factories where the 40,000 workers employed there (in about 1920) corresponded to 60% of all the metal mechanic industries in Piedmont. This famous factory managed to survive the difficult years of the "depression" whereas the hydroelectric and textile industries did not. At the end of the Second World War, the region experienced another splendid period of growth due to the emigration of people from the south of Italy in search of fortune. These days, along with the colossal FIAT and Olivetti works, there are important industries of metalmechanics, electronics, chemicals, wool processing (Biella), sweet confectionary (Ferrero family business), wine and liquor. However, althruogh the region' s industrial development has been flourishing for some time, only in recent years has there been an equally encouraging growth in commerce.


The capital of Piedmont is Turin (Torino), a city with an enviable position; in the west it has the imposing Alpine mountain range as a background, in the east several hills and in the south the river Po. This metropolis, which has about one million inhabitants, is not only famous throughout Europe because it is the home of the FIAT car industry, but also because it boasts the tallest builbing in Italy; this is the Mole Antonelliana at 167,5 m which gets its name from the architect who designed it in 1863, Alessandro Antonelli. An interesting feature is the city' s long straight roads crossing each other at right angles; a legacy from the ancient Roman camp built at the order of Augustus. Turin has many grandiose squares, beautiful avenues and magnificent buildings; these are the Palazzo Madama, the Stupinigi Castle, the Cahtedral and most of all, the Egyptian Museum which, next to the Cairo Museum, is the most important in the world. Alessandria, which takes the name from Pope Alexander III, is situated in an angle bordered by Piedmont, Liguria,Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy and lies between the two rivers Bormida and Tanaro. Asti, famous for viniculture, stands on Monferrato (Moutferrat) and has lovely avenues, ancient walls and lordly palace buildings. Cuneo, a city standing on a plateau formed centuries ago by the flooding of the rivers Stura and Gesso, is at the highest altitude in Piedmont (534 m). Important for ricegrowing, Vercelli lies at 130 m on the right bank of the river Sesia. The church of Sant' Andrea (St. Andrew) is the city's most notable building because it is the only one in Italy to be built in a transitional style of Roman Gothic, called Cistercian Architecture. As for Novara, it is situated on the right bank of the river Ticino and between the rivers Agogna and Terdoppio. It is an important financial city and centre for metallurgy, textiles and especially for food products. The most important buildings are the Baptistery, the church of San Gaudenzio and the Rognoni Palace. The newest and latest Piedmont cities are Biella and Verbania. Biella is the most important centre for wool in the whole of Italy and although it cannot boast of a particular great architecture it does have some interesting buildings like the Baptistery, the Duomo and the Gromo Palace. Verbania offers us the Bishop' s Palace, the Briona Tower and the Silva Palace. Touristic resorts: Sestriere, Souze d' Oulx and Gressoney are important centres for lovers of winter sports and Turin is a beautiful, historical and artistic city.


The region' s most important names are Camillo Benso Count Cavour, Silvio Pellico, Amedeo Avogadro, Carlo Carra', Luigi Einaudi and Vittorio Alfieri. The very famous Camillo Benso was born at Turin in 1810, became the first Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Piedmont in 1852 and was the rapresentative for the Liberal and Renovator Party; one could say that he was the instigator of the Unification of Italy. He died in 1861. "My Prisons" is an account, written by Silvio Pellico (1789-1854), of his imprisoment by the Austrians in Spielberg Fortress and demonstrates the auhtor' s ability to describe a painful personal experience. He was a member of the Carbonaria on the Carbonari, a secret political association formed in the Kingdom of Naples early in the 19th century with the design of introducing a Republican government. Amadeo Avogadro was born at Turin in 1776 and was the author of the atomic and molecular theory, this was based on the fact that the equal volumes of different gases have the same number of molecules. He died in Turin in 1856. Carlo Carrà (1881-1966) was a famous nineteenth century Italian painter who became interested in Futurism and Metaphysical painting along with De Chirico. Luigi Einaudi was born in 1874 in the Province of Cuneo; from 1948 to 1955 he was governor of the Bank of Italy and President of the Italian Republic; he died in 1961. Vittorio Alfieri (1749-1803) was a great dramatist who learnt his "trade" at the Accademy of Nobles (Accademia dei Nobili) in Turin. His most famous plays were "Mirra" (Myrrh), "Oreste" and "La Congiura dei Pazzi" (the Conspiracy of Madmen) and drafted his celebrated autobiography.


La storia della regione comincia nel II secolo a.C. con la conquista da parte dei romani del territorio piemontese. Quando nel 476 d.C. questa dominazione ebbe fine, il Piemonte passò sotto il Regno di Odoacre, poi sotto quello di Teodorico e, infine, in mano a quello longobardo. Quest'ultimo, a sua volta, finì con l'arrivo di Carlo Magno, il quale divise la regione nelle tre Marche di Ivrea, del Monferrato e di Torino; la Marca d'Ivrea, però, si unì a quella torinese alla fine del X secolo per mano di Olderico Manfredi. Da questo momento e per molti secoli successivi questi territori passarono sotto il controllo dei Savoia; solo nel 1748, con la Pace di Aquisgrana, si può parlare dell'unificazione della regione, il cui confine è stabilito dal fiume Ticino. Da Torino, verso la metà del XIX secolo, furono chiamati tutti gli italiani a partecipare alla prima guerra d'Indipendenza. Di questo periodo è famosa la figura di Pietro Micca, che sacrificò la propria vita per salvare Torino dall'invasione straniera. In conclusione, c'è da ricordare che il 17 marzo 1861, nell'aula del Parlamento di Torino, fu proclamato il Regno d'Italia.

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