Piemonte

http://www.touritalynow.com/italy_information/italy_information_regions/images/italia_regions_piemonte.jpg Major Cities:

Torino (Turin)
Asti
Alba

An area with about 4.4 million residents, the beautiful Piedmont Region of Italy sits at the foot of the Alps, sharing a border with France and Switzerland. Occupying about 10,000 square miles, Piedmont is the second largest of the 20 administrative regions of Italy and her people have always been a hearty bunch, sustaining life in an area that is largely mountainous. Early inhabitants include Celtic-Ligurian tribes, and later, Burgundians, Goths, Lombards, Byzantines, and Franks.

The Piedmont Region of today largely makes its living off the land. This is indeed an agricultural region that is known for its rice, maize, and, of course, a variety of grapes used in wine making. In fact, it is considered one of the premiere grape growing regions of Italy and is home to many notable vineyards. It’s best known wine is Barolo, and guests can enjoy it with other Piedmont Region specialties, including stuffed pastas and white truffles.

One of the most stunning sites in Piedmont is Italy’s oldest national park, Parco Nazionale di Gran Paradiso. Also the most well known national park in the country, it sits in Graian Alps and offers stunning views, dense European beach forests, alpine pastures rich in flowers, dozens of species of animals and more than a hundred kinds of birds. It’s a stop worth making if you’re touring the Piedmont Region of Italy. As a matter of fact, there are more than 50 national or regional parks in this portion of Italy, and most provide a good respite during a busy day, with views that are certainly worth photographing.

Piedmont’s capital city is also of note. Turin, known in Italian as Torino, was most recently in the spotlight as the gracious host of the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. But it is probably best known as the resting place of the famed Shroud of Turin, a linen cloth bearing an eerily clear image of a man resembling Jesus Christ, appearing to have physical trauma that resembles that which would be associated with a crucifixion. The cloth attracts millions of believers each year and is kept in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, a 15th century house of worship. Turin is also home to Fiat motor works.

Those embarking on a tour of Italy and the Piedmont Region in particular should also include a stop in the town of Alba, famous for its truffle, wine, and peach production and a delicious place to enjoy a meal or two. Alba is a charming city with sights that include the 13th century Palazzo Comunale, a collection of 14th and 15th century towers, the magnificent Romanesque Alba Cathedral, the gothic-designed Church of San Domenico, and a notable municipal museum of archaeology.

www.regione.piemonte.it