Turin, the city of the Alps
The first capital of Italy, is a ‘drawing room city' of elegant porticoes surrounded by green hills and, further afield, by majestic mountains. This is Turin, a city renowned for its history, culture and natural beauties.
Turin was a Roman colony, the first capital of Italy and an industrial city. From its origins to the present time, Turin has had several different incarnations, each of which has left profound traces in its architecture and urban layout. Extending over a surface area of less than 150 square kilometers, crossed by the Po, the longest river in Italy, Turin is characterized by a checkerboard- like grid of streets that makes getting your bearings easy.
One of the city's most distinctive architectural features is its 18km of porticoes – mostly located in the city centre – which house shops and cafes. Its porticoes, originally designed to offer shade in the summer and shelter from the rain, snow, and sometimes the wind in winter, and its elegant squares have given Turin the nickname of a ‘ drawing room' city.
With the exception of a few streets in the centre, which are off- limits to traffic (including the Quadrilatero Romano and its shopping streets), the remainder of the city is open to traffic and most landmark attractions are easily accessible by car. However, beware of access regulation ‘ZTL Centrale', which is active Mon- Fri, 7.30am-10.30am and prohibits the circulation of private vehicles and parking in the centre of the city. This restriction does not, however, apply to taxis or chauffer driven hired cars. As an alternative, you can use public transport to get around the city. These include buses, trams and the subway (metropolitana). The ‘metropolitana', a fully automated subway system, extends for 13.2km and only includes one line that connects the commune of Collegno to the Torino Porta Nuova railway station (the city's main railway hub) and the Torino Porta Susa station, before reaching the Lingotto Fiere terminus.
Turin boasts an enviable geographic position. It is surrounded by green hills that stand 715 metres above sea level, and which, in addition to their natural beauty, also offer numerous cultural and historical attractions. They can be reached in just a few minutes by public transport, the Sassi-Superga tram or car. Turin is also an ideal base to reach several of Europe's most renowned ski resorts. It is therefore not surprising that the city is described as the ‘ Capital of the Alps'.