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Piedmont

Piedmont

Overview
Piedmont is one of the 20 regions of Italy
Regions of Italy
The regions of Italy are the first-level administrative divisions of the state, constituting its first NUTS administrative level. There are twenty regions, of which five are constitutionally given a broader amount of autonomy granted by special statutes....

. It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres and a population of about 4.4 million. The capital of Piedmont is Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

. The main local language is Piedmontese
Piedmontese language
Piedmontese is a Romance language spoken by over 2 million people in Piedmont, northwest Italy. It is geographically and linguistically included in the Northern Italian group . It is part of the wider western group of Romance languages, including French, Occitan, and Catalan.Many European and...

. Occitan is also spoken by a minority in the Occitan Valleys
Occitan Valleys
The Occitan Valleys are the part of Occitania which is situated within the borders of Italy.It is a mountainous territory, situated in the southern Alps: most of its valleys are oriented eastward and descend toward the plains of Piedmont.The population is estimated at inhabitants.Main towns are...

 situated in the Provinces of Cuneo
Cuneo
Cuneo is a city and comune in Piedmont, Northern Italy, the capital of the province of Cuneo, the third largest of Italy’s provinces by area...

 and Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

. Franco-Provençal
Franco-Provençal language
Franco-Provençal , Arpitan, or Romand is a Romance language with several distinct dialects that form a linguistic sub-group separate from Langue d'Oïl and Langue d'Oc. The name Franco-Provençal was given to the language by G.I...

 is also spoken by another minority in the alpine heights of the Province of Turin
Province of Turin
The Province of Turin is a province in the Piedmont region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Turin.It has an area of 6,830 km², and a total population of 2,277,686 . There are 315 comuni in the province – the most of any province in Italy...

.
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Encyclopedia
Piedmont is one of the 20 regions of Italy
Regions of Italy
The regions of Italy are the first-level administrative divisions of the state, constituting its first NUTS administrative level. There are twenty regions, of which five are constitutionally given a broader amount of autonomy granted by special statutes....

. It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres and a population of about 4.4 million. The capital of Piedmont is Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

. The main local language is Piedmontese
Piedmontese language
Piedmontese is a Romance language spoken by over 2 million people in Piedmont, northwest Italy. It is geographically and linguistically included in the Northern Italian group . It is part of the wider western group of Romance languages, including French, Occitan, and Catalan.Many European and...

. Occitan is also spoken by a minority in the Occitan Valleys
Occitan Valleys
The Occitan Valleys are the part of Occitania which is situated within the borders of Italy.It is a mountainous territory, situated in the southern Alps: most of its valleys are oriented eastward and descend toward the plains of Piedmont.The population is estimated at inhabitants.Main towns are...

 situated in the Provinces of Cuneo
Cuneo
Cuneo is a city and comune in Piedmont, Northern Italy, the capital of the province of Cuneo, the third largest of Italy’s provinces by area...

 and Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

. Franco-Provençal
Franco-Provençal language
Franco-Provençal , Arpitan, or Romand is a Romance language with several distinct dialects that form a linguistic sub-group separate from Langue d'Oïl and Langue d'Oc. The name Franco-Provençal was given to the language by G.I...

 is also spoken by another minority in the alpine heights of the Province of Turin
Province of Turin
The Province of Turin is a province in the Piedmont region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Turin.It has an area of 6,830 km², and a total population of 2,277,686 . There are 315 comuni in the province – the most of any province in Italy...

. The name Piedmont comes from medieval Latin Pedemontium or Pedemontis, i. e. "ad pedem montium", meaning "at the foot of the mountains" (attested in documents of the end of the 13th century).

Geography


Piedmont is surrounded on three sides by the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

, including Monviso
Monte Viso
Monte Viso or Monviso , is a mountain in the Cottian Alps in Italy close to the French border. Monte Viso is well known for its pyramid-like shape, and because it is higher than all its neighbouring peaks by about 500 m it can be seen from some distance, from the Piedmontese plateau and the...

, where the Po
Po River
The Po |Ligurian]]: Bodincus or Bodencus) is a river that flows either or – considering the length of the Maira, a right bank tributary – eastward across northern Italy, from a spring seeping from a stony hillside at Pian del Re, a flat place at the head of the Val Po under the northwest face...

 rises, and Monte Rosa
Monte Rosa
The Monte Rosa Massif is a mountain massif located in the eastern part of the Pennine Alps. It is located between Switzerland and Italy...

. It borders with France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 and the Italian regions of Lombardy
Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

, Liguria
Liguria
Liguria is a coastal region of north-western Italy, the third smallest of the Italian regions. Its capital is Genoa. It is a popular region with tourists for its beautiful beaches, picturesque little towns, and good food.-Geography:...

, Aosta Valley and for a very small fragment with Emilia Romagna.
The geography of Piedmont is 43.3% mountainous, along with extensive areas of hills (30.3%) and plains (26.4%).
Piedmont is the second largest of Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

's 20 regions, after Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

. It is broadly contiguous with the upper part of the drainage basin of the river Po
Po River
The Po |Ligurian]]: Bodincus or Bodencus) is a river that flows either or – considering the length of the Maira, a right bank tributary – eastward across northern Italy, from a spring seeping from a stony hillside at Pian del Re, a flat place at the head of the Val Po under the northwest face...

, which rises from the slopes of Monviso in the west of the region and it's Italy’s largest river. The Po collects all the waters provided within the semicircle of mountains (Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

 and Apennines) which surround the region on three sides.
From the highest peaks the land slopes down to hilly areas, (not always, though; sometimes there is a brusque transition from the mountains to the plains) and then to the upper, and then the lower the great Padan Plain. The boundary between the first and the second is characterised by risorgive springs, typical of the Padan Plain which supply fresh water both to the rivers and to a dense network of irrigation canals.
The countryside is very varied: one passes from the rugged peaks of the massifs of Monte Rosa and of Gran Paradiso, to the damp rice paddies of Vercelli and Novara, from the gentle hillsides of the Langhe
Langhe
The Langhe is a hilly area to the south and east of the river Tanaro in the province of Cuneo in Piedmont, northern Italy....

 and of Montferrat
Montferrat
Montferrat is part of the region of Piedmont in Northern Italy. It comprises roughly the modern provinces of Alessandria and Asti. Montferrat is one of the most important wine districts of Italy...

 to the plains.
The percentage of the territory which is a protected area
Protected area
Protected areas are locations which receive protection because of their recognised natural, ecological and/or cultural values. There are several kinds of protected areas, which vary by level of protection depending on the enabling laws of each country or the regulations of the international...

 is 7.6%. There are 56 different national or regional parks. One such park is the Gran Paradiso National Park
Gran Paradiso National Park
Gran Paradiso National Park is an Italian national park in the Graian Alps, between the Aosta Valley and Piedmont regions. The park is named after Gran Paradiso mountain, which is located in the park...

.

History



Piedmont was inhabited in early historic times by Celtic-Ligurian
Ligurian
Ligurian may mean:* Ligurian, pertaining to modern Liguria* Ligurian, pertaining to the ancient Ligures* Ligurian , a modern language spoken in parts of Italy, France, Monaco and Argentina...

 tribes such as the Taurini
Taurini
The Taurini were an ancient Celto-Ligurian Alpine people, who occupied the upper valley of the river Po, in the centre of modern Piedmont.In 218 BC, they were attacked by Hannibal since his allies were the Insubres. The Taurini and the Insubres had a long-standing feud. Their chief town was...

 and the Salassi
Salassi
The Salassi were an Alpine tribe whose lands lay on the Italian side of the Little St Bernard Pass across the Graian Alps to Lyons, and the Great St Bernard Pass over the Pennine Alps...

. They were later submitted by the Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 (c. 220 BC), who founded several colonies there including Augusta Taurinorum (Turin) and Eporedia (Ivrea
Ivrea
Ivrea is a town and comune of the province of Turin in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. Situated on the road leading to the Aosta Valley , it straddles the Dora Baltea and is regarded as the centre of the Canavese area. Ivrea lies in a basin that, in prehistoric times, formed a great lake...

). After the fall of the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

, the region was repeatedly invaded by the Burgundians
Burgundians
The Burgundians were an East Germanic tribe which may have emigrated from mainland Scandinavia to the island of Bornholm, whose old form in Old Norse still was Burgundarholmr , and from there to mainland Europe...

, the Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

 (5th century), Byzantines
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, Lombards
Lombards
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

 (6th century), Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 (773). In the 9th-10th centuries there were further incursions by the Magyars and Saracens. At the time Piedmont, as part of the Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy (medieval)
The Kingdom of Italy was a political entity under control of Carolingian dynasty of Francia first, after the defeat of the Lombards in 774. It was finally incorporated as a part of the Holy Roman Empire in 962....

 within the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, was subdivided into several marks and counties.

In 1046, Oddo of Savoy added Piedmont to their main territory of Savoy
Savoy
Savoy is a region of France. It comprises roughly the territory of the Western Alps situated between Lake Geneva in the north and Monaco and the Mediterranean coast in the south....

, with a capital at Chambéry
Chambéry
Chambéry is a city in the department of Savoie, located in the Rhône-Alpes region in southeastern France.It is the capital of the department and has been the historical capital of the Savoy region since the 13th century, when Amadeus V of Savoy made the city his seat of power.-Geography:Chambéry...

 (now in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

). Other areas remained independent, such as the powerful comuni
Comune
In Italy, the comune is the basic administrative division, and may be properly approximated in casual speech by the English word township or municipality.-Importance and function:...

(municipalities) of Asti
Asti
Asti is a city and comune of about 75,000 inhabitants located in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, about 55 kilometres east of Turin in the plain of the Tanaro River...

 and Alessandria
Alessandria
-Monuments:* The Citadel * The church of Santa Maria di Castello * The church of Santa Maria del Carmine * Palazzo Ghilini * Università del Piemonte Orientale-Museums:* The Marengo Battle Museum...

 and the marquisates of Saluzzo
Marquisate of Saluzzo
The Marquisate of Saluzzo was an historical Italian state that included French and Piedmont territories on the Alps.-Marquisate territories:The Marquisate of Saluzzo occupied parts of the provinces of Cuneo and Turin, and at times areas now under French control. However, Saluzzo was historically...

 and Montferrat. The County of Savoy was elevated to a duchy in 1416, and Duke Emanuele Filiberto moved the seat to Turin in 1563. In 1720, the Duke of Savoy became King of Sardinia
Kingdom of Sardinia
The Kingdom of Sardinia consisted of the island of Sardinia first as a part of the Crown of Aragon and subsequently the Spanish Empire , and second as a part of the composite state of the House of Savoy . Its capital was originally Cagliari, in the south of the island, and later Turin, on the...

, founding what evolved into the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont and increasing Turin's importance as a European capital.

The Republic of Alba
Republic of Alba
200px|thumb|The flagThe so-called Republic of Alba was a revolutionary municipality proclaimed on April 26, 1796, in Alba, northern Italy, when the town was taken by the French army....

 was created in 1796 as a French client republic
French client republic
During its occupation of neighboring parts of Europe during the French Revolutionary Wars, France established republican regimes in these territories...

 in Piedmont before the area was annexed by France in 1801. In June 1802 a new client republic, the Subalpine Republic
Subalpine Republic
The Subalpine Republic was a short-lived republic established in 1800 on the territory of Piedmont during its militar rule by Napoleonic France....

, was established in Piedmont and in September it was also annexed. In the congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

, the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont was restored, and furthermore received the Republic of Genoa
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

 to strengthen it as a barrier against France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

.

Piedmont was an initial springboard for Italy's unification
Italian unification
Italian unification was the political and social movement that agglomerated different states of the Italian peninsula into the single state of Italy in the 19th century...

 in 1859-1861, following earlier unsuccessful wars against the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 in 1820-1821 and 1848-1849. This process is sometimes referred to as Piedmontisation. However, the efforts were later contradicted by efforts of rural farmers. The House of Savoy became Kings of Italy, and Turin briefly became the capital of Italy. However, the addition of territory paradoxically reduced Piedmont's importance to the kingdom, and the capital was moved to Florence, and then to Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. One remaining recognition of Piedmont's historical role was that the crown prince
Crown Prince
A crown prince or crown princess is the heir or heiress apparent to the throne in a royal or imperial monarchy. The wife of a crown prince is also titled crown princess....

 of Italy was known as the Prince of Piedmont.

Economy


Lowland Piedmont is a fertile agricultural region. The main agricultural products in Piedmont are cereals, including rice, representing more than 10% of national production, maize, grapes for wine-making, fruit and milk. With more than 800,000 head of cattle in 2000, livestock production accounts for half of final agricultural production in Piedmont. Piedmont is one of the great winegrowing regions in Italy. More than half of its 700 square kilometres (172,973.6 acre) of vineyards are registered with DOC
Denominazione di Origine Controllata
Denominazione di origine controllata is a quality assurance label for food products, especially wines and various formaggi . It is modelled after the French AOC...

 designations. It produces prestigious wines as Barolo
Barolo
Barolo is a red Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita wine produced in the northern Italian region of Piedmont. It is made from the Nebbiolo grape and is often described as one of Italy's greatest wines...

, Barbaresco
Barbaresco
Barbaresco is an Italian wine made with the Nebbiolo grape. Barbaresco is produced in the Piedmont region in an area of the Langhe immediately to the east of Alba and specifically in the comunes of Barbaresco, Treiso and Neive plus that area of the frazione San Rocco Senodelvio which was once part...

, from the Langhe
Langhe
The Langhe is a hilly area to the south and east of the river Tanaro in the province of Cuneo in Piedmont, northern Italy....

 near Alba, and the Moscato d'Asti
Moscato d'Asti
Moscato d'Asti is a "Denominazione di origine controllata e garantita" sparkling white wine produced mainly in the province of Asti, north-west Italy, and in smaller nearby regions in the provinces of Alessandria and Cuneo. The wine is sweet and low in alcohol, and often enjoyed with dessert. ...

 as well as the sparkling Asti from the vineyards around Asti
Asti
Asti is a city and comune of about 75,000 inhabitants located in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, about 55 kilometres east of Turin in the plain of the Tanaro River...

. Indigenous grape varieties include Nebbiolo, Barbera
Barbera
Barbera is a red Italian wine grape variety that, as of 2000, was the third most-planted red grape variety in Italy . It produces good yields and is known for deep color, low tannins and high levels of acid...

, Dolcetto
Dolcetto
Dolcetto is a black wine grape variety widely grown in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. The Italian word dolcetto means "little sweet one", but it is not certain that the name originally carried any reference to the grape’s sugar levels: it is possible that it derives from the name of the...

, Freisa
Freisa
Freisa is a red Italian wine grape variety grown in the Piedmont region of north-west Italy, primarily in Monferrato and in the Langhe, but also further north in the provinces of Turin and Biella. Freisa is a vigorous and productive vine whose round, blue-black grapes are harvested in early...

, Grignolino
Grignolino
Grignolino is a red Italian wine grape variety commonly grown in the Piedmont region. It makes light colored wines and rosés with very fruity aromas, strong acidity and tannins. The name Grignolino derives from the word grignole which means "many pips" in the local Piedmontese dialect of the Asti...

 and Brachetto
Brachetto
Brachetto is a red Italian wine grape variety grown predominantly in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. At one time the grape was thought to be related to the French wine grape Braquet, but recent thought among ampelographers is that the two are distinct varieties...

.

The region contains major industrial centres, the main of which is Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

, home to the FIAT
Fiat
FIAT, an acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino , is an Italian automobile manufacturer, engine manufacturer, financial, and industrial group based in Turin in the Italian region of Piedmont. Fiat was founded in 1899 by a group of investors including Giovanni Agnelli...

 automobile works. Olivetti
Olivetti
Olivetti S.p.A. is an Italian manufacturer of computers, printers and other business machines.- Founding :The company was founded as a typewriter manufacturer in 1908 in Ivrea, near Turin, by Camillo Olivetti. The firm was mainly developed by his son Adriano Olivetti...

, once a major electronics industry whose plant was in Scarmagno
Scarmagno
Scarmagno is a comune in the Province of Turin in the Italian region Piedmont, located about 35 km northeast of Turin....

, near Ivrea
Ivrea
Ivrea is a town and comune of the province of Turin in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. Situated on the road leading to the Aosta Valley , it straddles the Dora Baltea and is regarded as the centre of the Canavese area. Ivrea lies in a basin that, in prehistoric times, formed a great lake...

, has now turned into a small-scale computer service company. Biella
Biella
Biella is a town and comune in the northern Italian region of Piemonte, the capital of the province of the same name, with some 45,800 inhabitants as of 2009. It is located about 80 km northeast of Turin and about 80 km west-northwest of Milan.It lies in the foothills of the Alps,...

 produces tissues and silks. The city of Asti
Asti
Asti is a city and comune of about 75,000 inhabitants located in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, about 55 kilometres east of Turin in the plain of the Tanaro River...

 is located about 55 kilometres east of Turin in the plain of the Tanaro River and it's one of the most important centers of Montferrat
Montferrat
Montferrat is part of the region of Piedmont in Northern Italy. It comprises roughly the modern provinces of Alessandria and Asti. Montferrat is one of the most important wine districts of Italy...

, one of the best known Italian wine districts in the world. Alba is the house of Ferrero
Ferrero SpA
Ferrero SpA is an Italian manufacturer of chocolate and other confectionery products, founded by confectioner Pietro Ferrero in 1946 and based in Alba, Piedmont, Italy. The company achieved success headed by Pietro's son Michele Ferrero, then Michele's son Pietro , who oversaw global business...

's chocolate factories and some mechanical industries. There are links with neighbouring France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 via the Fréjus
Fréjus Road Tunnel
The Fréjus Road Tunnel is a tunnel that connects France and Italy. It runs under Col du Fréjus in the Cottian Alps between Modane in France and Bardonecchia in Italy...

 and the Colle di Tenda tunnels as well as the Montgenèvre Pass. Piedmont also connects with Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 with the Simplón
Simplon Pass
Simplon Pass is a high mountain pass between the Pennine Alps and the Lepontine Alps in Switzerland. It connects Brig in the canton of Valais with Domodossola in Piedmont . The pass itself and the villages on each side of it, such as Gondo, are in Switzerland...

 and Great St Bernard passes. It is possible to reach Switzerland via a normal road that crosses Oriental Piedmont starting from Arona and ending in Locarno
Locarno
Locarno is the capital of the Locarno district, located on the northern tip of Lake Maggiore in the Swiss canton of Ticino, close to Ascona at the foot of the Alps. It has a population of about 15,000...

, on the border with Italy. The region's airport, Turin-Caselle, caters domestic and international flights.
The region has the longest motorway network amongst the Italian regions (about 800 km). It radiates from Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

, connecting it with the other provinces in the region, as well as with the other regions in Italy. In 2001, the number of passenger cars per 1,000 inhabitants was 623 (above the national average of 575).
Tourism in Piedmont employs 75,534 people and currently comprises 17,367 companies operating in the hospitality and catering sector, with 1,473 hotels and tourist accommodations. The sector generates a turnover of €2,671 million Euros, 3.3% of the €80,196 million which represents the total estimated spending on tourism in Italy. The region enjoys almost the same level of popularity among Italians and visitors from oversea. In 2002 there were 2,651,068 total arrivals. International visitors to Piedmont in 2002 accounted for 42% of the total number of tourists with 1,124,696 arrivals. The traditional leading areas for tourism in Piedmont are the Lake District – "Piedmont's riviera", which accounts for 32.84% of total overnight stays, and the metropolitan area of Turin which accounts for 26.51%. In 2006 Turin hosted the XX Olympic Winter Games and in 2007 it hosted the XXIII Universiade
2007 Winter Universiade
The 2007 Winter Universiade, the XXIII Winter Universiade, took place in Turin, Italy from January 17 to January 27, 2007.-Opening ceremony:The Opening Ceremony of the XXIII Winter Universiade Torino 2007 was held with a cast of acrobats, circus performers and dancers.The evening began with the...

. Alpine tourism tends to concentrate in a few highly developed stations like Alagna Valsesia
Alagna Valsesia
Alagna Valsesia is a comune and small village high in the Valsesia alpine valley in the province of Vercelli, Piedmont, Italy. It was originally settled by Walser...

 and Sestriere
Sestriere
Sestriere is an alpine village in Italy, a comune of the Province of Turin. It is from the French border. Its name derives from Latin: ad petram sistrariam, that is at sixty Roman miles from Turin....

. Around 1980, the long-distance trail Grande Traversata delle Alpi (GTA) was created to draw more attention to the manyfold of remote, sparsely inhabited valleys.

Since 2006, the Piedmont region has benefited from the start of the Slow Food
Slow Food
Slow Food is an international movement founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986. Promoted as an alternative to fast food, it strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem. It was the first established part of...

 movement and Terra Madre
Terra Madre
Terra Madre is a network of food communities, each committed to producing quality food in a responsible, sustainable way. Terra Madre also refers to a major bi-annual conference held in Torino, Italy intended to foster discussion and introduce innovative concepts in the field of food, gastronomy,...

, events that highlighted the rich agricultural and viticultural
Viticulture
Viticulture is the science, production and study of grapes which deals with the series of events that occur in the vineyard. When the grapes are used for winemaking, it is also known as viniculture...

 value of the Po valley and northern Italy. In the same year, Piemonte Agency for Investments, Export and Tourism
Piemonte Agency for Investments, Export and Tourism
Piemonte Agency for Investments, Export and Tourism is the public body in charge of the internazionalition of Piemonte territory. Piemonte Agency main activities and institutional goals are:* supporting and aiding companies that want to locate in Piemonte...

 was founded in order to strengthen the international role of the area and its potential. It was the first Italian institution bringing together all activities carried out by pre-existing local organizations operating for the internationalization of the territory.

Education


The economy of Piedmont is anchored on a rich history of state support for excellence in higher education
Higher education
Higher, post-secondary, tertiary, or third level education refers to the stage of learning that occurs at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, and institutes of technology...

, including some of the leading universities in Italy. The Piedmont valley is home to the famous University of Turin
University of Turin
The University of Turin is a university in the city of Turin in the Piedmont region of north-western Italy...

, the Polytechnic University of Turin
Polytechnic University of Turin
The Polytechnic University of Turin is an engineering university based in Turin, northern Italy. Established in 1859, Politecnico di Torino is Italy’s oldest Technical University. In 2011 it was ranked as the best engineering university in Italy in the Academic Ranking of World Universities.It is...

 and, more recently, the University of Eastern Piedmont
University of Eastern Piedmont
The University of Eastern Piedmont Amedeo Avogadro is a university located in Alessandria, Novara and Vercelli, Italy. It was founded in 1998 and is organized in 7 faculties...

.

Demographics


The population density in Piemonte is lower than the national average. In 2008 it was equal to 174 inhabitants per km2, compared to a national figure of about 200. It rises however to 335 inhabitants per km2 when just the province of Turin is considered, whereas Verbano-Cusio-Ossola is the less densely populated province (72 inhabitants per km2).
The population of Piedmont followed a downward trend throughout the 1980s. This drop is the result of the natural negative balance (of some 3 to 4% per year), while the migratory balance since 1986 has again become positive because of an excess of new immigration over a stable figure for emigration.
The population as a whole has remained stable in the 1990s, although this is the result of a negative natural balance and a positive net migration.

The Turin metro area grew rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s due to an increase of immigrants from Southern Italy, and today it has a population of approximately two million. As of 2008, the Italian national institute of statistics (ISTAT) estimated that 310,543 foreign-born immigrants live in Piedmont, equal to 7.0% of the total regional population.

Government and politics


In the April 2008 Italian national election
Italian general election, 2008
A snap general election was held in Italy on 13 April and 14 April 2008. The election came after President Giorgio Napolitano dissolved parliament on 6 February 2008 following the defeat of the government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi in a January 2008 Senate vote, and the unsuccessful tentative...

, the population of Piedmont gave 46.8% of its votes to the centre-right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi , also known as Il Cavaliere – from knighthood to the Order of Merit for Labour which he received in 1977 – is an Italian politician and businessman who served three terms as Prime Minister of Italy, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and 2008 to 2011. Berlusconi is also the...

.

The Regional Government (Giunta Regionale) is presided by the President of the Region (Presidente della Regione), who is elected for a five-year term and is composed by the President and the Ministers, who are currently 14, including a Vice President (Vice Presidente).
In the last regional election, which took place on 29–30 March 2010, Roberto Cota
Roberto Cota
Roberto Cota is the leader of Lega Nord Piemont and a leading member of Lega Nord.After a degree in law, Cota joined the party in 1990. In 2000 he was elected to the Regional Council of Piedmont and was President of it until 2005...

 (Lega Nord) defeated incumbent Mercedes Bresso
Mercedes Bresso
Mercedes Bresso is an Italian politician and former President of the Piedmont Region. She is a member of the Democratic Party . After her election as governor of Piedmont, she resigned from the office as Member of European Parliament. She is a Grand Officer of the Italian Republic...

 (Democratic Party
Democratic Party (Italy)
The Democratic Party is a social-democratic political party in Italy, that is the second-largest in the country. The party is led by Pier Luigi Bersani, who was elected in the 2009 leadership election....

).

Administrative divisions


Piedmont is divided into eight provinces:


Province Area (km²) Population Density (inh./km²)
Province of Alessandria
Province of Alessandria
The Province of Alessandria is an Italian province, with a population of some 430,000, which forms the southeastern part of the region of Piedmont. The provincial capital is the city of Alessandria....

3,560 438,062 123.1
Province of Asti
Province of Asti
The Province of Asti is a province in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. Its capital is the city of Asti. To the north west it borders on the province of Turin; to the south west it borders on the province of Cuneo. To the east it borders on the province of Alessandria, while in the south it...

1,504 219,629 146.0
Province of Biella
Province of Biella
The Province of Biella is a province of Italy located in Piedmont. It was created in 1992 and its capital is the city of Biella.It has an area of 913 km², and a total population of 187,249...

913 187,090 204.9
Province of Cuneo
Province of Cuneo
ayr is a province in the southwest of the Piedmont region of Italy. To the west it borders on the French region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur ....

6,903 584,467 84.7
Province of Novara
Province of Novara
Novara is a province in the Piedmont region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Novara.It has an area of 1,339 km², and a total population of 365.156 . There are 88 communes in the province.-External links:*...

1,339 365,156 272.7
Province of Turin
Province of Turin
The Province of Turin is a province in the Piedmont region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Turin.It has an area of 6,830 km², and a total population of 2,277,686 . There are 315 comuni in the province – the most of any province in Italy...

6,821 2,288,614 335.5
Province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola
Province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola
Verbano-Cusio-Ossola is the northernmost province in the Italian region of Piedmont. It was created in 1996 through the fusion of three distinct regions which had previously been part of the Province of Novara...

2,255 162,618 72.1
Province of Vercelli
Province of Vercelli
Vercelli is a province in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. Its capital is Vercelli., it has an area of 2,088 km², and a total population of 176,829...

2,088 179,164 85.8

See also

  • 2006 Winter Olympics
    2006 Winter Olympics
    The 2006 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XX Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated in Turin, Italy from February 10, 2006, through February 26, 2006. This marked the second time Italy hosted the Olympic Winter Games, the first being the VII Olympic Winter...

  • Kingdom of Sardinia
    Kingdom of Sardinia
    The Kingdom of Sardinia consisted of the island of Sardinia first as a part of the Crown of Aragon and subsequently the Spanish Empire , and second as a part of the composite state of the House of Savoy . Its capital was originally Cagliari, in the south of the island, and later Turin, on the...

  • Battle of Marengo (14 June 1800)
  • Battle of Novara
    Battle of Novara (1849)
    The Battle of Novara or Battle of Bicocca was one of the battles fought between the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia during the First Italian War of Independence, within the era of Italian unification...

     (1849)
  • Gianduja
    Gianduja
    Gianduja may refer to:* A mask in commedia dell'arte that represents Turin and the Piedmont region of Italy* A preparation of chocolate containing about 50 percent hazelnut and almond pasteAlso related:...

  • Piemonte (wine)
    Piemonte (wine)
    Piemonte wine is the range of Italian wines made in the province of Piedmont in the northwestern corner of Italy.The best-known wines from the region include Barolo and Barbaresco. They are made from the Nebbiolo grape...


Piedmont cuisine
List of universities located in Piedmont
  • Slow Food
    Slow Food
    Slow Food is an international movement founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986. Promoted as an alternative to fast food, it strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem. It was the first established part of...


External links