Touristic and Information Packet on
Websites with useful and entertaining information about Torino:
http://www.extratorino.it/ (select English version)
Since the beginning of the 1990s, Turin has taken on new roles and is no longer synonymous to only heavy industry and four wheels. Biotechnology, ICT, aerospace and design are all new words in Turin’s vocabulary. Not only these things, but also sports, culture and environment are have made their way in. Innovation and the quality of life are key parts of the new Turin. Starting over from zero to remake its image? Not at all. The city learned how to find the resources for renewal within its own history and roots by rediscovering the its particular approach to industrial development and innovation. These are things which have made Turin the heart of Italian production since the mid 1800’s.
It is in Turin that Italian radio broadcasting, television, the first telephone company and the cinema all started. This is a clear sign of the presence of a tradition of widely diffused aptitude for entrepreneurship, especially in the high tech sector.
In last the ten years 67% of the patents in technology and telecommunications fields granted from the European Patent Office to residents in Italy were given to companies from Turin. In the European ranking for number of patents accepted in the telecommunications field from 1992-2001 (EPO data), Piedmont is in the twenty-first place, with 127 patents (of these, 17.5% in the wireless technology area). The number of publications on this subject also confirm the extremely high level of scientific production: 281 publications between 1992 and 2001, which makes Turin the fifteenth in Europe. Taking into account all types of patents in 2001 Piedmont had 14% of the national total of patents and 0.16% on the world-wide level; among the most substantial areas are: mechanics (59% of patents), aerospace (22.9%), ICT (12.4%) and biotech (4.7%). It is not just a coincidence that since 2002, WIPO chose Turin as headquarters for its annual intellectual property masters course.
The public research centres that deserve to be mentioned are: the Galileo Ferraris National Institute of Electronics (radio electric meteorology), the CNR Institute of Electronics and Information and Telecommunications Engineering (IEIIT-CNR), the Consortium for Information Systems (CSI), the Department of Electronics and the Department of Computer Science at the Polytechnic in Turin, the Department of Computer Science at the University of Studies, Turin.
The private research centers include: TiLab (Telecom Italy), RAI’s Research Centre, Vodafone Omnitel’s Research Centre and Motorola’s Research Centre. Turin maintains a prominent role also in the manufacturing industry, with institutes such the Fiat Research Centre, Pininfarina’s new research center, the laboratories at Alenia at the Polytechnic University.
There are more than 200 companies in Piedmont that work in life sciences and over 60% them are located in Turin.
Information and communication technology is another key sector for the Turin’s productive machine; this area figured out how to create an industry-specific district, which is one of the things that come easiest. Today they are the 7 thousand enterprises that of it make part, with a total force assigned job of 54 thousand.
Between 1998 and 2002 around 50 companies chose Turin as their headquarters, thus opening up new establishments all around the city. A large number of these companies are foreign. This is a result of the intense activity of the ITP Agency – Investimenti a Torino e in Piemonte) the opportunity for development in the capital of Piedmont. Only 20% of the new companies are Italian, 28% French, 22% American, 12% German, and 7% from the UK. Other companies come from varied countries such as Sweden, Austria and China.
The dedication to education in Turin is reflected by the presence of a large United Nations school for staff experts. Since 1998, the world-wide Organization for Work (OIL) has had its training center right on the banks of the Po; every year young officials and managers come to Turin to follow these prestigious courses.
Motorola’s dedication to the technology center that was added to Turin in 1998. It is the biggest of the various centers that are scattered around Europe.
In 2001 a pact formed between Turin's local government and companies, establishing the following goals for the ICT field: to double the number of researchers and ensure the start of fifty new companies by 2012.
Mirror of a diversified and competitive economy whose strengths are in research and technology. As the capital city of one of Europe's most economically vibrant Regions, Turin boasts a productive system that has an extremely strong relationship with the world market.
Characterised by a highly technical content and technological innovation, the Turin industrial companies operate in many various areas: car manifacturing, robotics and industrial automation, design, textiles, agroindustrial, banking and insurance, information technologies and telecommunications, publishing and printing. The industrial fabric of the city is not only made up of mechanical engeneering giants, but also includes a vast range of small and medium-sized firms producing a variety of goods for the home market and for export.
Set at the geographical and economic crossroad of two strategically significant continental axes, Turin now possesses the air, rail and road links needed to place it at the heart of Europe. Today, the city not only wants to be an "old industrial town", but, above all, wants to concentrate its innovative powers on the advanced services sector, on global networks and on highly technological research and development: infact, about 20% of the total Italian business expenditure in these sector is located in the Turin area
The current watchword is therefore "productive diversification", also made possible by a continuing development of research activities in the various sectors. It is an effort that involves a large number of very diverse institutions in both the public and the private sectors, of medium and large dimensions: from Cselt to the FIAT Research Centre, from the RAI Research Centre to the Istituto Galileo Ferraris, the University and the Polytechnic.
In particular, in the motor car industry, besides the Fiat Group- Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, founded by Giovanni Agnelli in 1899, the most important industrial group in Italy - Turin hosts a number of companies operating in the components and car design sectors like SKF, Dayco, Bertone, Italdesign-Giugiaro and Pininfarina.
The city has also an important presence in the agroindustrial area: the Lavazza, an international leader in the coffee sector, is from Turin, a reality that perfectly combines technological development and production with tradition. Today Lavazza Ltd., who employs over 1,600 people, boasts 45% of the Italian market and exports nearly 30% of its annual output, with sales revenues of some billion 1,200 lire.
The city and the surrounding area is home to some of the best known producers of sparkling wines and spirits, such as Cinzano, Martini & Rossi, Gancia or the confectionery industry with firms like Ferrero, Caffarel and Peyrano. Their high quality products and professional expertise help to mantain the prestige of the Turin tradition.
The textile industry, identified on a regional scale by companies that produce world-renowned yarns and fabrics of superlative quality, is represented in Turin by the GFT group, manifacturer of, among other, such famous names as Valentino, Cerruti and Ungaro. Set up in 1930 by the Rivetti and Levy families, GFT has become, in over 60 years, a huge industrial empire that in 1996 employed 6,000 people, over 3,300 in Italy, working in 14 factories around the world, and has sales revenues of 1,650 billion lire, and produced 15 million garments.
Also in the banking and insurance sectors there is a very strong presence: the Istituto Bancario San Paolo has its headquarters in Turin that, with over 22,000 employees, 1,200 branches and 1,400 cash points, is the most important bank in Italy. It is a position the bank has achieved after more than 430 years of service to the growth of the nation's economy, participating in the reconstruction of the Nation after World War II, supporting the economic boom of the Sixties, and contributing to the national and international growth of the market and Italian companies. Also operating in he Piedmontese capital, since 1827, is the CRT Bank, the second largest savings bank in Italy, that has 380 branches spread over eight regions: a bank built for the people, mindful to the needs of the small saver and families.
To compete the picture, the most important co-operative bank in Europe, the Banca Popolare di Novara , and three of the nation's oldest established insurance companies, Sai, Toro and Reale Mutua Assicurazioni, are all based in Turin. SAI, Italy's third largest insurance group with over 3.8 million clients, and 1,580 billion lire of net capital of the Parent Company alone, has been in the insurance business for over 70 years.
Toro Assicurazioni, with over 160 years of history, was founded in 1833 by some of the Royal Decree of King Carlo Alberto. It is the sixth largest insurance group in Italy for the amount of sales revenues, and one of the first as regards its economic results (over 1,700 billion lire of premiums in 1966) and financial soundness.
Reale Mutua was founded in 1828 and is currently the nation's biggest mutual insurance company with over 1 million clients insured and more than 2 million policies, and has a significant presence in the international market (Spain and France).
Turin is equally well represented in more innovative fields like information technologies and telecommunications. Turin is indeed an important centre, being home to the headquarters of Stet-Telecom Italia, the sixth largest telecommunications company in the world.
The city is also authoritatively represented in a wide variety of other sectors like Einaudi, Utet, Sei, Allemandi and Bollati Boringhieri (publishing), Armando Testa and BGS (advertising), Robe di Kappa, Superga, Invicta (sportswear), De Fonseca (footwear) and Borbonese (leather goods and clothes accessories).
Turin today is a dynamic reality engaged in a modernization process unrivalled in Italy: A place where economic growth is matched by urban redevelopment and revitalized image.
From the city of motor car to a center of advanced technology and integrated productive systems, following an original redevelopment project. Although it is internationally renowned as an industrial city and a capital of the motor car this, for Turin, is now a stereotype, an incomplete picture. Today, its image is different, more diverse: the city is oriented towards the new high-tech Europe, that of advanced research.
Turin has changed, and is still changing, taking on a new economical and productive appearance based upon a modern culture of innovation. Today, Piedmont, and in particular its capital, possess all the technical and scientific capabilities and the leading edge know-how needed to become a centre of technological excellence. In concert with he productive evolution, Turin is today a dynamic reality committed to an integrated modernization process, unique in Italy: its economic development corresponds to its urban renewal. A vast series of projects have been planned and put into action, with the aim of integrating the city's rich historical heritage, which has never really been appreciated or publicized, with the renewed needs of more modern and efficient system of public services.
Easily accessed from outside, the Turin territory is currently putting into action new large urban projects: renewal of the infrastructure and new construction works; redevelopment of the city's historical centre; revitalization of the suburbs; doubling of the green belt and improvement of the city's attractive waterways.
In particular, four projects are worthy examples: the former Lingotto car factory has been converted to a complex with modern services, cultural venues and a hotel; the old steel and iron industrial area is being transformed into Europe's first environmental technological park (Environment Park) occupying an area of 100 hectars: the Turin Polytechnic is being doubled in size to cover 13 hectares, and has benefited from a major injection of funds into its research and training activities; finally, the cityìs railway system is being redeveloped and improved with important "passante" (railway link) works (three lines of 15 km placed underground), thus making a radical transformation in the system for the access into the city, and the mobility around it.
Recognising the central role of telecommunications in modern economic development, Turin is becoming Italy's first fully "cabled" city. Work on the city's ISDN network (Integrated Services Digital Network) began in 1994, and today a complete fiber optic communication network is available to its companies, institutions, business, public service departments and private citizens. This is the new image of Turin and its region, both with their sights set firmly on the competitive Europe of the future, with a multidisciplinary approach and integrated productive system.
I'm always surprised when first-time or infrequent visitors to Italy tell me that they plan to spend a few days in Milan. Their idea, I think, is that Milan will offer the epitome of style, which along with art and food is one of the three pillars of Italian culture. This reminds me of the 1946 George Price cartoon of an aging flapper racing toward a news vendor and crying, "Vogue! And hurry!" True, Milan is the center of the country's fashion and media industries. But that doesn't mean the visitor can plug into them simply by walking down the streets or going into the right bars. Trendsetters generally keep behind closed doors, and the customers in the famed boutiques of Via Monte Napoleone are seldom Italian. Gray, vast, and monolithic, Milan is a city very hard to like -- and nearly impossible to love.
Those hankering for northern elegance should know that Turin is no more than an hour and a half from both Milan's city center and its airport, Malpensa, which was recently designated one of Italy's principal international gateways (despite the fact that connections to and from Milan remain inconvenient). Every street in Turin offers at least one stylish shop and an unexpected Baroque or Art Nouveau vista; the museums are excellent and varied; shops, thanks to industrial money, have been able to maintain their ornate turn-of-the-century façades and interiors; the cafés are the most spectacular in a country blessed with a café on every block; the wine and cheese, from the surrounding hills and mountains of Piedmont, are among Italy's best (and often unavailable beyond the region's borders); and the pastry and chocolates are easily the country's most refined. Price's panicky flapper might not find the very latest frock. But in the luxurious, tasteful shops of Turin she would find clothes that designers actually wear.
I go to Turin as often as possible, and can't imagine tiring of it. Like Naples, my other favorite Italian city, Turin has lately been making itself dramatically more accessible, inviting, and navigable for tourists. The periodic viewings of the Shroud both jam the city (the two-month-long showing last spring, the first in twenty years, drew more than a million people) and set deadlines for renovation. The Royal Palace was repainted and cars were banned from much of the main piazza in time for last spring's onslaught, and the showing next year, in honor of the millennial, is likely to bring more renovation.
Yet even as it spruces up, Turin retains the intimacy and bustle of a pre-war city. On recent visits, when I would find that some Italian magazine had just highlighted the many improvements and called for yet more, I encountered very few tourists but many friendly natives. Turin has long been an insiders' secret. That may soon change.
WHEN people think of Turin, they usually think of cars: the t in the acronym "Fiat" is for "Torino." The Agnelli family, which controls the company, is Italy's modern-day royalty: Fiat owns the local newspaper and has a controlling interest in Corriere della Sera, the leading national daily; the family owns Juventus, a soccer team that is something of a national religion. Fiat's huge postwar expansion and its housing of southern-Italian emigrants in faceless suburbs enlarged the city, which in the seventies had to cope with the effects of helter-skelter growth and North-South culture clashes.
Turin is no Motor City, though. Fiat's presence is all but invisible in the center. Not even the Museum of the Automobile, one of the world's great collections of antique cars, housed in a big, airy 1960 International Style building facing the Po, is run by Fiat. Instead -- and this is perhaps the greatest surprise to the visitor -- the architecture of the city center is Baroque, and the prevailing feeling is not of heavy industry but of intellectual aristocracy. "I can't get over what a beautiful city this is," I heard again and again when I recently led colleagues on an informal tour.
Blood royalty, rather than industrial royalty, built the city. Turin was the seat of the House of Savoy, whose kings reigned, at least nominally, until 1946. One of them, the reform-minded Carlo Alberto, helped to stoke the revolutionary fervor that led to Italy's unification, in 1861, with Turin as the capital. (The capital was moved to Florence in 1865 and to Rome five years later.) The first Italian Parliament met in Turin's most beautiful building -- the Palazzo Carignano, built in the late seventeenth century and the birthplace of Carlo Alberto.
Sightseeing should begin at the palazzo, which is within steps of the city's main museums and just blocks away from the best shops and nicest cafés. The palazzo is a Baroque marvel of undulating lines and red-brick ornament, including, unexpectedly, motifs taken from Native American feather headdresses (to commemorate Piedmontese participation in a French victory over the tribes of Quebec). Today it houses an absorbing museum of the unification of Italy -- helpfully, many of the placards are in English -- with excellent summaries of the country's wartime history. History comes alive across the way at the Ristorante del Cambio, an elaborately decorated restaurant where Count Camillo di Cavour, the architect of unification, held court and kept an eye on who was going in and out of Parliament. Perhaps he ate bollito misto, fragrant boiled meats sliced on a rolling silver cart, which is still the house specialty.
Once your eye is accustomed to seeing humble brick as a sinuous medium, you will note the similarly bold building catercorner from the palazzo, which houses Turin's two must-see museums -- the Egyptian Museum and the Galleria Sabauda. The Sabauda boasts canvases by Italian and Flemish masters, including Fra Angelico, Mantegna, Bellini, and Van Eyck. Aside from the Shroud, the Egyptian Museum is Turin's chief tourist draw: any native will tell you, with somewhat hyperbolic enthusiasm, that after Cairo, Turin has the finest Egyptian collection in existence. Fascinating and rare as the painted sarcophagi and mummies and little kitchen tools may be, however, both labels and lighting are sparse except in one freshly installed basement gallery. (A plan under discussion would expand the Egyptian Museum into the space now occupied by the picture gallery upstairs; the paintings would move to the Royal Palace once its own restoration is completed.)
A walk in any direction from the Palazzo Carignano will reveal tree-lined avenues and boulevards, tranquil Baroque squares, arcaded streets (Turin has eleven miles of arcades), and Art Nouveau buildings that seem, like much of the city, to be more French than Italian: Piedmont was a French département for more than a decade under Napoleon. You might happen onto an eccentric museum, such as the Marionette Museum, or the long-shuttered Museum of Cinema -- Turin was as important to the birth of Italian filmmaking as to the Italian automobile industry. The film museum is scheduled to re-open by the end of the year, in the very tall, very ugly Mole Antonelliana.
Or you can keep your eye on shops: shops specializing in such old-fashioned items as fountain pens, metal and rubber stamps, tea by way of Paris (two sisters have opened an enchanting new boutique at Via della Rocca, 2), jewelry from the twenties through the seventies (Lorenzo and Paola Monticone run an extremely chic little shop at Via della Rocca, 4), Art Nouveau antiques (the sumptuous and very expensive Tina Biazzi gallery, at Via Maria Vittoria, 19), and British and British-influenced men's clothes (Jack Emerson, a big warehouselike shop where old-money Turin goes to watch its pennies, on the second floor of a modern building across from the Cambio restaurant). Each Saturday is the Balôn, a large flea market near the city's marvelous cast-iron-and-glass food markets; on the second Sunday of every month an expanded version, the Gran Balôn, draws dealers and customers from all over the region.
Piazza San Carlo, a few blocks from the Palazzo Carignano, is usually called the drawing room of Turin, since so many Turinese pass through it several times a day. I like looking at the 1940s façade of the Lux Cinema, in a shopping gallery off the piazza, and I always stop at the Libreria Druetto, my favorite of the city's many bookstores, which has a good selection of guides and art books and a generous English-language section. Like many shops in Turin, it feels like a club. I was made a member on my first visit, when Elisabeth zu Stolberg, the tall, blonde, professorial co-owner, tested my rusty German on learning my surname. Each time I greet her, she makes me stumble through a few German pleasantries before she suggests which new books might be of interest.
A city stroll might continue down Via Roma, the arcaded main street for shopping and promenading, which was rebuilt by the Fascists in the 1930s, to Piazza Castello, the historic heart of Turin. At its center is the Palazzo Madama, a stark medieval castle on one side (hence the piazza's name) and a Baroque glass-fronted palace on the other. The piazza provides an introduction to the work of the two Turinese architects to watch for: Guarino Guarini, the designer of the Palazzo Carignano, and Filippo Juvarra, the designer of the windowed façade of the Palazzo Madama. Of the two, Guarini, a mathematician who flourished in the mid-1600s, was the more flamboyantly original: his work keeps the viewer off balance, wondering where light is entering and whether a dome could possibly be as tall as it seems. The plain Baroque façade of the San Lorenzo church, at one side of the vast piazza, gives no hint of Guarini's startling octagonal interior and dome behind it. Juvarra, who assumed the reins as royal architect fifty years later, took a more classical, monumental approach.
The contrast between the two architects is probably best shown by Guarini's surpassingly strange vertiginous, black-marble-lined Chapel of the Shroud, in the cathedral behind the piazza. You can't be disoriented by the chapel for a while: it burned two years ago in a fire that left the Shroud undamaged. Theoretically the chapel will reopen in time for next year's showing; the dates, and much else, should be available on the Turin tourist bureau's Web site, at www.turismotorino.org.
MY passion for Turin may be largely explained by the constant opportunities to drink first-rate coffee (Italy's largest coffee roaster, Lavazza, is headquartered in the city) accompanied by first-rate sandwiches, pastry, and chocolate. Turin's most gorgeous cafés hide behind the arcades of Piazza Castello. Baratti & Milano joins two distinct architectural styles, somewhat like the Palazzo Madama; one is frothy Parisian Art Nouveau, and the other is the severe and fine-patterned Art Nouveau common in Jugendstil Vienna. Along the same arcade is the perfectly preserved Caffè Mulassano, with a small, cube-shaped interior from the early 1900s whose every surface is ornamented with colored marble or carved wood.
Turin's most charming café is Al Bicerin, a ten-minute walk from Piazza Castello and an essential stop for its definitive version of the eponymous drink, a mixture of chocolate, espresso, and creamy, very lightly foamed milk served in a low glass. The café has been in the hands of women since it opened, in the late eighteenth century (its simple, honey-colored wood interior dates back to the 1830s), and for many years was one of the few places women could appear alone in public; here they dunked long, wide ladyfingers into a bicerin to break the fast after mass at the Church of the Consolata, across the way. The cookies are still excellent. Today the café has become a hangout for the city's youth, who crowd out the door on Sunday afternoons.
The chicest café, appropriately, is on Via Roma: Zucca, whose interior is plain by comparison with Turin's Art Nouveau jewels but whose clientele more than makes up for it. The crowd is especially dense and well dressed at the aperitif hour, from roughly 6:30 to 8:30. Turinese cafés offer plate upon plate of savory tidbits with aperitifs, and the sandwiches at Zucca are the best in a city known for elegant sandwiches: don't miss the split focaccia slathered with fresh cream cheese and white-truffle paste. But then, I think everything is better at Zucca.
Many of the city's superb food shops have wood-and-etched-glass façades that look utterly Parisian, such as Steffanone, a premier gourmet shop, just off Piazza San Carlo; Paissa, which seems right out of the past century and sells wine and dry goods at branches in Piazza San Carlo and Piazza Vittorio Veneto; and the beautiful cheese, pasta, and grissini (breadsticks, a city specialty) shops along Via San Tommaso, around the corner from the frescoed Art Nouveau arcades of Via Pietro Micca. The souvenir to bring home is a bag of gianduiotti, little ingots of chocolate and hazelnuts, which should be strong, not too sweet, and slightly gritty. The classic place to buy gianduiotti is Peyrano, long the city's reigning chocolatier, which roasts its own cocoa beans over olive wood; lately Peyrano has been getting some stiff competition from the artisan Guido Gobino, who roasts the famous local hazelnuts especially dark before grinding them into a paste. Pastry shops of note include Ghigo, in the arcaded Via Po, which bakes the city's best-loved panettone; I always take home a cellophane-wrapped package of soft, buttery ladyfingers (and often some homemade gianduiotti, too) from the Gertosio on Via Lagrange, the street that is considered Turin's gourmet row.
The choice of full-fledged restaurants isn't nearly as interesting or tempting as the choice of cafés, perhaps because people snack so frequently or perhaps because Turinese prefer to eat dinner at home. Piedmont is legendary for its rich and endless meals. Mercifully, few restaurants in Turin serve old-fashioned Piedmont haute cuisine: for that you must venture into the countryside, or go to nearby Alba, the truffle capital. I frequent the Montecarlo, a handsome, brightly lit, clubby place whose owner, Sante Prevarin, will devise a menu of typical but not excessive dishes, best built around the impeccable fish. Any meal should begin with tiny meat- or spinach-filled agnolotti made of fantastically delicate (because yolk-rich) pasta rolled by hand. Prevarin will bring out a selection of cheeses he claims are impossible to find elsewhere (ask for the herb-coated Maccagno, which he says "puts the hills into your mouth"), and for dessert there are addictive raisin- and pinenut-studded cookies rolled in, of all things, corn flakes.
Turin's hotels are functional, as befits a businesslike city, but several have something approaching charm. The Turin Palace, across from the Moorish train station, was once the luxurious empress of the city's hotels. It now has a 1960s feel despite its century-long history, and is still known for its service and well-heeled guests. I rely on the plush, snug Sitea, a central four-star businessman's hotel where the Juventus team stays, drawing crowds to cheer the athletes as they board big buses for matches. Nearby is the three-star Victoria, a charming small hotel set back from the street; friends have been very happy there, and also at the three-star Boston (whose location, in an elegant residential neighborhood behind the train station, is relatively inconvenient). I was impressed by a quick tour of the three-star Roma, in the piazza just across from the station. The rooms are large and, thanks to double-glazed windows, quiet, and the prices are very reasonable.
EVEN if you don't rent a car to explore the Piedmont in search of white truffles and Barolo, I recommend two minor excursions to see two Savoy residences; each is just a twenty- or thirty-minute taxi ride from the center. Castello di Rivoli is a severe, dramatically sited eighteenth-century brick castle in grand, sober Baroque, designed by Juvarra and renovated from 1979 to 1984 to house a decent collection of contemporary art. It's worth going for the ingeniously rebuilt interior and the commanding view of the city. Stupinigi is a sort of dream: a hunting lodge built not long after Versailles, on a much smaller scale but nonetheless grand. In the unique plan devised by Juvarra, diagonal arms radiate outward from a spectacular central ballroom, whose painted walls, huge glass chandelier, and gilded crossbeams have been perfectly restored. But the royal suites around the ballroom have mostly not. You can thus see furniture and wall fabrics as they were, and they are all the more riveting for being slightly in tatters. The sometimes threadbare but always sumptuous rooms reminded me of Deborah Turbeville's desolate, disturbing pictures of Versailles. Here you can imagine aristocratic eighteenth-century life, private and public, being conducted, and even imagine yourself part of it. Though Turin is nearly as firmly planted in the present as Milan, every aspect of it is tinged by the past. Perhaps that is what makes it uniquely civilized.
The Mole Antonelliana, a historic building that marks Turin’s cityscape
Also home of the Cinema Museum
©2003, Laura Alessi
just outside Torino in the Italian Alps:
location of next winter Olympics
©2003, Laura Alessi
The Politecnico di Torino
Night falls on Turin
©2003 Città di Torino, Fototeca Wed del Comune di Torino
Castello del Valentino
©2003 Città di Torino, Fototeca Wed del Comune di Torino
©2003 Città di Torino, Fototeca Wed del Comune di Torino
TORINO AT A GLANCE
Although it is internationally renowned as an industrial city and is easily associated with
the automotive industry, this is an incomplete picture of the city Turin has become in the
recent years. Today, Turin’s image is that of a city oriented towards the new high-tech
Europe, that of advanced research.
The dedication to education in Turin is reflected by the ever increasing number of
students who come here to study not only from all over Italy, but also internationally. In
addition, there has been recent addition of new schools, training centers, and programs
such as the large United Nations school for staff experts. Since 1998, the world-wide
Organization for Work (OIL) has had its training center right on the banks of the Po
River; every year young officials and managers come to Turin to follow these prestigious
courses. Another noteworthy program is the annual Post-Graduate Specialization
Course on Intellectual Property, which is organized jointly by the University of Turin
and the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Worldwide Academy.
The technological portfolio of the city is extremely diversified, but Turin is on the
leading edge of the automotive and telecommunication industry. The two major
corporate research laboratories, the FIAT Research Centre and Telcom Italia’s TiLAB
are located here. In the last decade, 67% of the patents in technology and
telecommunications fields granted from the European Patent Office to residents in Italy
were given to companies from Turin. Another interesting fact is that in the past five
years, around 50 companies chose Turin as their headquarters, among which 80% are
foreign. In 2001 a pact formed between Turin's local government and companies,
establishing the following goals for the ICT field: to double the number of researchers
and ensure the start of fifty new companies by 2012.
Turin is city a that can be compared to a mosaic – it is made up of many different pieces,
each of which add something special to the spirit and culture of the city. Now that we
have explored the intellectual component which drives the city, it is also necessary to
spend a little time mentioning some of the other things that make Turin the great city it
is. Food is one of the highlights of Turin’s culture, and is known not only for its special
truffles and meat, but also for its extraordinary chocolates and wines.
There are 46 museums in Turin: from the Egyptian Museum, which is the second most
important after the one in Cairo, to the National Museum of Cinema, located inside the
Mole Antonelliana, the symbol monument of the city. Few people know that the
Biblioteca Reale has Leonardo da Vinci’s self-portrait - one of the most famous drawings
in the world. In order to best enjoy all these treasures, the city of Turin has created a
special museum card which allows people to visit more than 120 collections in Turin and
in the region, paying one small fee for this special two day pass.
Turin is easy to reach by plane, car and train. There are two international airports, both
of which are reachable in less than an hour from the city center. The Sandro Pertini
Airport, is just ten miles outside the city, and Malpensa is about 60 miles away. There
are hourly buses which run from both airports to the city center daily. For those arriving
by train, Turin is very well serviced through national and international high-speed trains.
The Italian highways - especially those in northern Italy - are among the most developed
and well kept in Europe, thus providing for safe and fluid driving conditions. Turin is
very well connected to all Italian cities and also to the French, Austrian and Swiss
highways. Turin offers a very efficient public transportation network. A subway system is
currently being constructed and the first line will be opened in 2004.
Turin offers an impressive variety of conference venues. After thoroughly weighing the
options, we selected the Giovanni Agnelli Foundation, as it is most central and just the
right size and environment for such an event ( See Program Facility for full description).
Other conference centers available in Turin include: Lingotto, Torino Incontra, the
Unione Industriale and the Politecnico’s Aula Magna. The Lingotto Conference Center:
a large modern structure with 13 halls, having a seat capacity varying from 2,090 to 30
seats. The Torino Incontra Conference Center: carved out of the carefully remodeled
interior of the Chamber of Commerce building in the city center. It consists of five main
halls (seating 47, 57, 99, 161 and 341 people) and a multipurpose area of about 1300
sqm column-free space where it is possible to seat up to 880 persons. The Unione
Industriale Conference Center: a venue with 4 conference rooms with capacity from 80
to 432 seats and a very large garden which can be used as catering area. Politecnico of
Torino: it offers a large Aula Magna with 600 seats and many other classrooms with
capacity from 200 to 30 seats.
The following are presently available in Turin: 1,973 rooms in 4-star hotels, 3,695 in 3-
star hotels, 555 in 2-star hotels and 800 in 1-star hotels. The hotel capacity is being
increased by 2000-2500 rooms to accommodate the guests for the 2006 Olympic Games.
What better way to share the treasures from Turin’s past with visitors than having a great
meal in one of it’s beautifully kept historical buildings? Since Turin has such a rich
history ( it was, in fact, the first capital of Italy), there are a great number of possibilities
for the gala dinner. One option is the Palazzo Carignano, which is where the first Italian
Parliament was held. There are also several royal residences both in Turin and just
outside the city limits that represent an extraordinary heritage left by the Savoy Royal
Family. It is also possible to organize the dinner in one of the old royal palaces, such as
the Stupinigi Hunting Lodge, just 10 km from the city center.