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  • TURIN'S HISTORY
    as portrayed by its commemorative plaques

    Part 1 of 5: Emperor Augustus to the Savoy Government

    The Emperor Augustus had Turin built two thousand years ago as a camp for the troops he sent to protect the Roman state's northern borders.

    A classic Roman "castrum" with square layout, it remained almost unchanged, complete with its ancient walls, for centuries, both during the domination of the lombards and later the Franks, as well as during the early middle ages when complex institutional dynamics lead to a short period of domination by the Church followed by a period of fragile municipal autonomy prior to the rise and consolidation of control over the city by the Acaja.

    It was not until the fifteenth century, when the Savoy dukedom achieved the political and administrative unification of Piedmont's various provinces that Turin, chosen as the Dukedom's official residence, began to consolidate its importance.

    Involved in the Franco-Austrian war in the first half of the sixteenth century, the city strengthened its defensive system by constructing a series of angular bastions, a project that continued throughout the long period of occupation by the French (1536-1557).

    It was Duke Emanuele Filiberto who won back his lands, defeating the French at the Battle of San Quintino.

    In the subsequent peace treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis in 1559 Turin was chosen as the new capital of the Savoy state.

    While it was Savoy government policy to relaunch Turin's economic, manufacturing and cultural life and to create a city to match the great capitals of Europe, the Dukedom's greatest expenditure was on defence and on the strategic reorganisation of the Savoy state. The arch. Francesco Paciotto was called in from Urbino to repair the medieval fort and start work on the construction of the Citadel, a bastion-supported structure with a star-shaped layout, of which the main gate, known as "Il Mastio" (the Keep), still stands.

    While the Citadel prepared the city to withstand the new techniques of siege warfare, the rest of the modernisation plan remained no more than a prospect, although a few minor attempts were made to clean up the ancient city centre.

    Part 2: Planning & Architectural Projects
    Part 3: The 18th Century
    Part 4: The 19th Century
    Part 5: The 20th Century


    Additional Resources:
    Photos of Turin
    Shroud of Turin
    Turin City Guide
    Torino Clothing & Novelties

    "Courtesy of the Comune di Torino. Reprinted with permission."

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