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Introducing Turin

There's a whiff of Paris in Turin's elegant tree-lined boulevards and echoes of Vienna in its stately art nouveau cafes, but make no mistake – this city is anything but a copycat. The innovative Torinese gave the world its first saleable hard chocolate, perpetuated one of its greatest mysteries (the Holy Shroud), popularised a best-selling car (the Fiat) and inspired the black-and-white stripes of one of the planet's most iconic football teams (Juventus).

But more important than any of this is Turin's role as instigator of the modern Italian state. Piedmont, with its wily Torinese president, the Count of Cavour, was the engine room of the Risorgimento (literally 'the Resurgence', referring to Italian unification). Turin also briefly served as Italy's first capital and donated its monarchy – the venerable House of Savoy – to the newly unified Italian nation in 1861.

More recently, the 2006 Winter Olympics sparked an urban revival in the city, which has spread to its culture and, most deliciously, its cuisine.