History of Turin

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Little is known about Turin before the Roman domination. It is probable that the Taurini, a people of Celtic or Ligurian origin, lived here. The city was destroyed by Hannibal in 221 BC during his descent from the Alps towards Rome. Julius Caesar gave the inhabitants of Taurinum Roman citizenship and changed the name of the city to Julia and then it was renamed Augusta Taurinorum by Augustus. The city was plundered by the Lombards and it became one of their thirty dukedoms. The task of protecting the transalpine routes and suppressing possible revolts by neighbouring peoples was taken over from the duke by the Count of the Carolingians. The area then passed into the hands of the Arduini who, under Berengario II, set up the realm of Italy. The most important Marquis was Olderico whose death led to the succession of the Counts of Savoy. Nonetheless, Turin was not immediately handed over to the House of Savoy, although they had the title of Marquis they had to share power with the bishop for a long time. After mixed fortunes, Amedeo III took control of the city, which then passed into the hands of Angioini and on to Guglielmo XII, Marquis of Monferrato who lost it to Tommaso III. From then on the House of Savoy continued to rule until the sixteenth century. The city was then entrusted to the French king Francesco I, whose successor returned it to Emanuele Filiberto. The French were frequently involved in disputes over the successors and alternately backed the success of one pretender or other. From 1800 to 1814 Turin was the capital of the French department of the Po, and in 1815 the House of Savoy was restored. Ever since then the history of Turin has merged with the State of Savoy and, subsequently that of Italy.

In 1848 Piedmont was at the centre of the first Italian war of independence. The Piedmontesi defeated the Austrians at Pastrengo and then, thanks to the endurance of Tuscan volunteers at Curtatone and Montanara, they managed to overcome them at Goito. On the 30th October, Carlo Alberto was crowned King of Italy. However, the war rapidly turned against the Piedmontesi who were forced to surrender to the Austrians and give up Tuscany. After the annexation of Lombardy, Tuscany, Emilia and Romagna, and the Papal State, the international policies of Cavour and the exploits of Garibaldi, who conquered the Kingdom of the Due Sicilie in February 1861, Vittorio Emanuele II was proclaimed King of Italy on the 18th February. The capital was originally in Turin but was moved to Rome on the 27th March. The Albertine Statute celebrated fifty years in 1898.

Over time Turin became more and more industrialised and it was therefore heavily bombed during the Second World War by the Allies and later subjected to terrible destruction by the retreating Germans. In the 1950's Fiat played an essential role in the re-development of the city, and, after a period of recession in the 1980's, it gained importance in the 1990's as one of the most developed technological regions. Thanks to Turin's new image, the city will host the winter Olympics in 2006.