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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

—  Region of Italy  —


Coat of arms
Country Italy
Capital Turin
 - President Mercedes Bresso (Democratic Party (Italy))
 - Total 25,399 km2 (9,806.6 sq mi)
Population (2008-09-30)
 - Total 4,424,800
 Density 174.2/km2 (451.2/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
GDP/ Nominal € 118.7 billion (2006)
Website www.regione.piemonte.it

Piedmont (Italian: Piemonte, pronounced [pjeˈmonte]; Piedmontese and Occitan: Piemont; French: Piémont) is one of the 20 regions of Italy. It has an area of 25,399 km2 and a population of about 4.4 million. The capital is Turin. The main local language is Piedmontese. Occitan is also spoken by a minority in the Occitan Valleys. Franco-Provençal is also spoken by another minority in the alpine heights of the Province of Turin. The name Piedmont comes from medieval Latin Pedemontium, i. e. "ad pedem montium", meaning "at the foot of the mountain".[citation needed]



A landscape in Montferrat.

Piedmont is surrounded on three sides by the Alps, including Monviso (Mont Vis), where the Po rises, and Monte Rosa. It borders France, Switzerland and the Italian regions of Lombardy, Liguria, 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's 20 administrative regions, after Sicily. It is broadly contiguous with the upper part of the drainage basin of the river Po, which rises from the slopes of Monviso in the west of the region and is Italy’s largest river. The Po collects all the waters provided within the semicircle of mountains (Alps 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 pianura padana which supply fresh water both to the rivers and to a dense network of irrigation canals. The countryside, then, is very varied: one passes from the rugged peaks of the massifs of Monte Rosa and of Gran Paradiso (national park), to the damp rice paddies of the Vercellese and Novarese; from the gentle hillsides of the Langhe and of Montferrat to the plains. The percentage of the territory which is a protected area is 7.6%. There are 56 different national or regional parks. One such park is the Gran Paradiso National Park (Grand Paradis).


See also: Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia

Piedmont was inhabited in early historic times by Celtic-Ligurian tribes such as the Taurini and the Salassi. They were later submitted by the Romans (c. 220 BC), who founded several colonies there including Augusta Taurinorum (Turin) and Eporedia (Ivrea). After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the region was repeatedly invaded by the Burgundians, the Goths (5th century), Byzantines, Lombards (6th century), Franks (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 within the Holy Roman Empire, was subdivided into several marks and counties.

In 1046, Oddo of Savoy added Piedmont to their main territory of Savoy, with a capital at Chambéry (now in France). Other areas remained independent, such as the powerful comuni (municipalities) of Asti and Alessandria and the marquisates of Saluzzo 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, founding what evolved into the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia and increasing Turin's importance as a European capital.

The Republic of Alba was created in 1796 as a French client republic in Piedmont before the area was annexed by France in 1801. In June 1802 a new client republic, the Subalpine Republic, was established in Piedmont and in September it was also annexed. In the congress of Vienna, the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia was restored, and furthermore received the Republic of Genoa to strengthen it as a barrier against France.

Piedmont was an initial springboard for Italy's unification in 1859-1861, following earlier unsuccessful wars against 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.[1][2] 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. One remaining recognition of Piedmont's historical role was that the crown prince of Italy was known as the Prince of Piedmont.


Rice fields between Novara and Vercelli.

Lowland Piedmont is a fertile agricultural region. The main agricultural products in Piemonte are cereals, including rice, representing more than 10% of national production, maize, grapes for wine-making and fruit and milk.[3] 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 (170,000 acres) of vineyards are registered with DOC designations. It produces prestigious wines as Barolo, Barbaresco, from the Langhe near Alba, and the Moscato d'Asti (as well as the sparkling Asti Spumante) from the vineyards around Asti. Indigenous grape varieties include Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, Freisa, Grignolino and Brachetto.

The region contains major industrial centres, notably: Ivrea ,home to the Olivetti ; Turin, home to the FIAT automobile works. Biella produces tissues and silks. Asti comune about 55 kilometres east of Turin in the plain of the Tanaro River and capital of Monferrato one of the most important wine district of the world. Alba is the house of Ferrero's chocolate factories and some mechanical industries. There are links with neighbouring France via the Fréjus and Colle di Tenda tunnels and the Montgenèvre Pass, and with Switzerland over the Simplón and Great St Bernard passes. It is possible to get to Switzerland via a normal road, that crosses the Oriental Piedmont starting from Arona up to Locarno, on the borders with Italy. The region's airport, Turin-Caselle, caters for domestic and international flights.[4] The region has the longest motorways network amongst the Italian regions (about 800 km). The motorway routes radiate from Turin, connecting it with the other provinces in the Piemonte region, as well as with the other regions in Italy. In 2001, the number of passenger cars per 1 000 inhabitants at 623 was above the national average (575).[5]

The tourism industry 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 overseas. 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.[6] In 2006 Turin hosted the XX Olympic Winter Games and in 2007 the XXIII Universiade. Alpine tourism tends to concentrate in a few highly developed stations like Alagna Valsesia and Sestriere. Around 1980, the long-distance trail Grande Traversata delle Alpi has been created to draw more attention to the manyfold of remote, sparsely inhabited valleys.


Historical populations
Year Pop.  %±
1861 2,759,000
1871 2,928,000 6.1%
1881 3,090,000 5.5%
1901 3,319,000 7.4%
1911 3,414,000 2.9%
1921 3,439,000 0.7%
1931 3,458,000 0.6%
1936 3,418,000 −1.2%
1951 3,518,000 2.9%
1961 3,914,000 11.3%
1971 4,432,000 13.2%
1981 4,479,000 1.1%
1991 4,303,000 −3.9%
2001 4,215,000 −2.0%
2008 (Est.) 4,425,000 5.0%
Source: ISTAT 2001

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.[7] 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

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).[8] In the last regional election, which took place on 3-4 April 2005, Mercedes Bresso (Democrats of the Left, then Democratic Party) defeated incumbent Enzo Ghigo (Forza Italia). However, at the April 2008 Italian national election, Piedmont gave 46.8% of its votes to the Centre-Right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi.

Administrative divisions

Piedmont is divided into eight provinces:

Piedmont Provinces.png

Province Area (km²) Population Density (inh./km²)
Province of Alessandria 3,560 438,062 123.1
Province of Asti 1,504 219,629 146.0
Province of Biella 913 187,090 204.9
Province of Cuneo 6,903 584,467 84.7
Province of Novara 1,339 365,156 272.7
Province of Turin 6,821 2,288,614 335.5
Province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola 2,255 162,618 72.1
Province of Vercelli 2,088 179,164 85.8


See also

Image gallery

External links


Specialty sites

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

For other places with the same name, see Piedmont (disambiguation).

Piedmont (Italian: Piemonte) is a region in the northwest of Italy, next to the border with France. The main city is Turin (Italian: Torino), which was host to the 2006 Winter Olympic Games.

Piedmont is surrounded on three sides by the Alps, including the Monviso, where the Po River rises, and the Monte Rosa. It borders with France, Switzerland and the Italian regions of Lombardy, Liguria, Emilia-Romagna and Aosta Valley.

The area is justly famous for its wines, which include some of the best produced from Italy such as Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Dolcetto and Moscato D'Asti, its local cuisine reknown throughout Italy and the precious white truffles of this region which have been compared to gold because of their cost and delicacy..


Administratively, Piedmont consists of the following provinces:

  • Alessandria
  • Asti
  • Biella
  • Cuneo
  • Novara
  • Turin
  • Verbano-Cusio-Ossola
  • Vercelli

Geographically, Piedmont also includes the distinct regions of Langhe, Monferrato and Roero Hills, which lie in the centre of Piedmont and are a mixture of limestone and sandstone deposits laid down by the retreating Adriatic 3 million years ago, now cut by numerous river valleys and the area of most of Piedmont's wines:

  • Langhe - in Cuneo Province to the south and west of the river Tanaro famous for its wines, and for its truffles. The hills of Langhe contain Piedmont's finest vineyards. The grapes grown in this region are primarily nebbiolo, dolcetto and barbera. The nebbiolo grape is used to make the renowned Piedmontese red wines Barolo and Barbaresco. Within Langhe are famous wine towns such as Barolo, La Morra, Monforte, Serralunga d'Alba and Barbaresco.
  • Monferrato - extending from Turin to the eastern border of Alessandria, bounded by the Po River to the north and merging into Langhe in the south. The Monferrato is divided into northern and southern areas with Asti in the centre. This area is is also a well known wine area particularly for Barbera d'Asti, as well as less known varieties such as Fresia, Grignolino, Brachetto, Malavasia and Ruche di Castagnole Monferrato; it is also known for one of the rare white wines of the region: the Gavi. The Monferrato is also famous for its white truffles found in Autumn and celebrated in local festivals each Sunday.
  • Roero - the hills situated on the west bank of Tanaro River between Alba and Asti. The sandier soil produces light Nebbiolo wines as well as Piedmont’s best white variety the Arneis. The area is also famous for its honey; there is a beekeeping trail you can walk, as well as peaches (check the local markets in summer and autumn). And then there is the Eco-museum of the Roero rocks, or the great path of the Roero a hiking trail stretching from Cisterna to Bra which incorporates the Roero rocks, ancient lime and sandstone cliffs.
  • Turin (Torino) - the first capital of modern Italy
  • Alba - the entrance to the Langhe. Founded by the Romans, its historical centre still remains inside ancient Roman walls. Alba is best known for its elegant wines and exotic truffles as well as the home of Nutella Chocolate spread.
  • Alessandria - city 90km southeast of Turin, the capital of Alessandria Province.
  • Acqui Terme - a beautiful Roman town famous for its hot sulphur springs and ancient baths.
  • Asti - center of the Piedmont wine area, an important medieval republic known as “City of 100 Towers”, of which around 15 still stand in the old historical walled city. The Palio di Asti, Italy's oldest Palio is held here every September in conjunction with the Douja D'Or wine festival and the Sagre Festival.
  • Bardonecchia - mountain town with main focus of skiing, also the Italian entrance to the Frejus Tunnel which connects to France.
  • Barolo - a small town south of Alba, world famous for its red wine
  • Biella - a small town with a strong tradition in wool and clothes production
  • Bra - city situated midway between Cuneo and Turin, on the edge of the Langhe near the Tanaro river. It is one of the main centres of the Piedmontese Baroque style with its many churches and palaces of the 17th and 18th century. Bra is also in the heart of the so-called food valley, and the seat of a University of Gastronomic Science.
  • Cuneo - capital of Piedmont's largest province, one of the main centres of Italian "Resistenza" during World War 2.
  • Verbania - city next to Lake Maggiore
Turin: Piazza Savoia's obelisk and Mole Antonelliana
Turin: Piazza Savoia's obelisk and Mole Antonelliana
  • Candelo - fortified village of XIII century near Biella
  • Lake Maggiore -
  • Lake Orta -
  • Novato -
  • Pinerolo -
  • Saluzzo -
  • Susa -
  • Vercelli -


Piedmont people are probably the most shy in Italy. Their understatement and lack of emotional behavior is often something that other Italians laugh at. This region has been the industrial heart of Italy since 1800, even though nowadays it's experiencing some economic difficulty connected with deindustrialization.

The Monarchy has left strong heritage across the region, particularly in wide natural parks (former king's hunting reserves) and in XVIII and XIX century buildings.


Piedmontese is spoken by about 2-3 million people throughout Piedmont. However, Italian dominates everyday communication.

In 2004, Piedmontese was recognised as Piedmont's regional language by the regional parliament, although the Italian government does not recognise it. It has, however, been recognized as a separate language by the European Union. It is supposed to be taught to children in school, but this is happening only in a limited way.

Get in

By plane

Piedmont is well served by airports.

Caselle Airport (TRN) [1] in Turin is the main airport of Piedmont. It has regular flights with main European hubs and Italian cities operated by major airlines as well as low fares companies.

Milan has three airports:

  • The international hub is Malpensa (MXP) [2] which is the top Italian airport in terms of international traffic. It has direct connections with railway and highway networks. The airport is connected to Milan by the Milano-Varese highway as well by a dedicated train called "Malpensa Express". It is also connected to Linate Airport by a scheduled bus service.
  • Linate Airport (LIN) [3] is the closest airport to Milan’s city centre and is well served by domestic and short-haul international carriers. It has easy access to the local highway network and is connected to Malpensa Airport by a scheduled bus service.
  • Orio al Serio (BGY) [4] (Phone number: +39035326323) is located nearer to Bergamo and serves the low-cost traffic of Milan.

To the south is Cristoforo Colombo Airport (GOA) [5] in Genoa which is served by domestic and short-haul international carriers.

Another option is Levaldigi Airport (CUF) [6] in Cuneo, but it has a very limited number of flights and very few connections other than private car.

  • From Swiss through Domodossola
  • From France through the Frejus Tunnel, Ventimiglia or Tenda Pass or via Mt Blanc tunnel and Val D'Aosta;

from France, the Montgenèvre road (RN 94/ SS 24) from Briançon to Cesana Torinese in Italy is very good (above all on the italian side), always open during winter and free.

  • From Swiss through Sempione, or St Bernhard, Saint Gothard and other minor passes

Get around

Although some local bus and train service exists, the best way to tour the Piedmont is by car, especially for tourists who want to venture outside Turin and a few other large cities.


The region has numerous interesting museums, some of the best are found in Turin including Museo Egizio, the second most important Egyptian museum in the world, and National Cinema Museum, most famed for the spectacular building.


Ski areas

There are a number of well known ski resorts in Piedmont Alpine region


The Milky Way ski area is one of the biggest areas in Europe and encompasses the following resorts.

  • Sestriere -location of the Winter Olympics
  • Sauze D'Oulx
  • Claviere

Bardonecchia is another large ski area and was host to the 2006 Winter Olympic snowboarding events.

Macugnaga and Alagna Val Sesia in the V.C.O. (Verbano, Cusio, Ossola) province (North-east of the Region).

Limone Piemonte and Prato Nevoso in the province of Coni.


If you can, try the Bollito Misto and Fritto Misto. These are two very traditional dishes and you may only be able to find them in old restaurants far from the tourist circuit. The Bollito Misto is a mix of beef and pork meat boiled with vegetables and eaten with a variety of sauces. The Fritto Misto is a mixture of fried meats and vegetables. Another very typical meal is Bagna Cauda: it consists of a hot garlic sauce eaten with raw vegetables. Try also the "Paniscia vercellese" a typical dish from Vercelli made with rice, beans and susages. You can eat also fried frogs and good fishes from lake and rivers.


Piedmont is well known for its great wines, particularly Barolo and Barbaresco but also Dolcetto, Arneis, Freisa, Gavi and others. Most vineyards are on the Langhe hills around Asti and Alba and on Monferrato other hills between Alba an Alessandria, but the passion for strong red wines has spread among the entire territory. Try also beers (Menabrea) and aromated wines (Vermuths).

Stay safe

Piedmont is generally a very safe place.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

PIEDMONT (Ital. Piemonte; Low Lat. Pedemons and a territorial division (compartimento) of northern Italy, bounded N. by Switzerland, W. by France, S. by Liguria and E. by Lombardy. Physically it may be briefly described as the upper gathering-ground and valley of the river Po, enclosed on all sides except towards the Lombard plain by the vast semicircle of the Pennine, Graian, Cottian, Maritime and Ligurian Alps. In 1859 it was divided into the four provinces of Alessandria, Cuneo, Novara and Torino (Turin). It has an area of 11,340 sq. m. The people are chiefly engaged in agriculture - growing wheat, maize and rice, chestnuts, wine and hemp; in the reeling and throwing of silk and in the manufacture of cotton, woollens and clothing; there are also considerable manufactures at Turin, Savigliano, &c. The Piedmontese dialect has been rather strongly influenced by French. The chief towns in the several provinces are as follows, with their communal populations in 1901: Alessandria (72,109), Asti (39,251), Casale Monferrato (31,370), Novi Ligure (17,868), Tortona (17,419), Acqui (13,940), Valenza (10,956), Ovada (10,284); total of province 825,745, number of communes 343; Cuneo (26,879), Mondovi (18,982), Fossano (18,175), Savigliano (1 7,34 0). Saluzzo (16,028), Bra (15,821), Alba (13,637), Boves (10,137); total of province 670,504, number of communes 263; Novara (44,249), Vercelli (30,470), Biella (19,267) Trino (12,138), Borgomanero (10,131); total of province 763,830; number of communes, 437; Turin (329,691), Pinerolo (18,039), Carmagnola (11,721), Ivrea (11,696), Moncalieri (11,467); total of province 1,147,414; number of communes, 442. The total population of Piedmont was 2,738,814 in 1859, and in 1901 3, 4 07,493. The large number of communes is noticeable, as in Lombardy, and points to a village life which, owing to greater insecurity and the character of the country, is not to be found in central and southern Italy as a whole. There are numerous summer resorts in the Alpine valleys. The chief railway centres are Turin, communicating with the Mont Cenis line, and with the Riviera by the railway over the Col di Tenda (in process of construction), Novara, Vercelli, Asti, Alessandria, Novi. The communications with Liguria are difficult owing to the approach of the mountains to the coast, and the existing lines from Genoa to Turin and Milan are hardly sufficient to cope with the traffic.

Piedmont in Roman times until 49 B.C. formed a part of Gallia Transpadana, and in Augustus' division of Italy formed with what was later known as Lombardy the 11th region. It formed part of the Lombard kingdom, and it was not till about A.D. 1000 that the house of Savoy arose. The subsequent history of Piedmont is that of its dynasty.

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Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. Region in the north of Italy.


Simple English

Flag Coat of arms
[[Image:|120px|border]] [[Image:|75px|Coat of arms of Piedmont]]
File:Italy Regions Piedmont
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Country Italy
Capital Turin
President Mercedes Bresso (Democratic Party)
Basic statistics
Area  25,399 km² (9,807 sq mi)
(Ranked 2nd, 8.4 %)
Population 4,410,218 (12/2007)
(Ranked 6th, 7.4 %)
 - Density 174 /km² (450 /sq mi)
Other information
GDP/ Nominal € 118.7 billion (2006)
Website www.regione.piemonte.it

Piedmont is a region in the northern part of Italy. The capital is Turin. Piedmont has 8 provinces within it.

In the north of Piedmont there is the country of Switzerland and the Italian region of Valle d'Aosta, in the east there are the regions of Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna, in the west there is France and in the south Liguria.


Piedmont is divided into 8 provinces:

  1. Alessandria
  2. Asti
  3. Biella
  4. Cuneo
  5. Novara
  6. Turin (Torino)
  7. Verbano-Cusio-Ossola
  8. Vercelli

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