Italy History Guide: History of Turin

Are you going on holiday to Turin in Italy? Would you like to know about the history of Turin? Our guide gives you a brief overview of historical facts pertaining to Turin.

Turin in Italy

Turin is an industrial city located in the north of Italy with a population of approximately 1 million. The city is famous primarily for its car manufacturing industry as well as several world-famous brands of chocolate that are produced in Turin. The geography of Turin is quite flat as it lies in the plains just south of the Italian Alps between the Rivers Dura and Po. Although Turin has a long history that pre-dates Christianity, visitors to Turin today will encounter mainly baroque architecture in the city.

Early History of Turin

The first known human settlements in Turin are believed to have been established around 200BC by tribes of Celtic origins. These early settlers remained in Turin and its surrounding areas for about two hundred years until the expansion of the Roman Empire northwards forced these Celtic tribes to move further north into Western Europe. Turin became a Roman settlement at some point during the 1st century. Turin remained a Roman controlled settlement for several hundred years until the eventual collapse of the Western Roman Empire precipitated largely by the invasion of the Visigoths who, in addition to the Franks, took control of Turin at various points in its history.

Renaissance History of Turin

The history of Turin during the time of the renaissance is similar to that of most other Italian cities in the north of Italy. Developments in art and architecture took place as each city state vied for prestige through the building and decorating of elaborate buildings. Turin was ruled by the Savoy family from the 16th century, who were nobles that originally hailed from France but had moved to Turin.

19th Century History of Turin

Like most of mainland Europe, the history of Turin during the 18th and 19th centuries was rather unstable and often violent. Towards the end of the 18th Century the French army occupied Turin under the leadership of Napoleon, although this occupation was short lived as it ended when the French Empire collapsed. The Austrians in turn invaded and ruled Turin until 1861. Turin was among the first Italian cities to partake in the unification of Italy and was briefly designated as the capital of Italy for a short period.

Modern History of Turin

Turin was one of the first cities in Italy to develop during the industrial revolution and maintained its position at the forefront of Italian industry throughout the 20th century. The existence of the giant Fiat motor car factories in Turin brought about thousands of jobs and led to mass migration of Italian labourers from the South of the country. Today, Turin is considered to be Italy’s second city after Milan in terms of finance and industry.