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The Piemonte Region of Italy

Location:

 

Stem of Piemonte

Piemonte is one of the 20 regons of Italy.

It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres (9,808 sq mi) and a population of about 4.6 million. The capital of Piedmont is Turin.

The name Piedmont comes from medieval Latin Pedemontium or Pedemontis, i.e., ad pedem montium, meaning “at the foot of the mountains”

Piemonte is bounded on three sides by the Alps, including Monviso, where the Po rises, and Monte Rosa. It shares borders with France, Switzerland and the Italian regions of LombardyLiguriaAosta Valley and for a very small fragment with Emilia Romagna. The geography of Piedmont consists of 43.3% mountainous, with extensive areas of hills (30.3%) and plains (26.4%).

Piemonte is second in size of Italy's 20 regions, after Sicily. It coincides with the upper part of the drainage basin of the river Po, rising from the slopes of Monviso in the west of the region and is Italy’s largest river. Into the Po drains all the waters within the semicircle of mountains (Alp 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 to the lower great Padan Plain. The boundary between the first and the second is characterised by risorgive springs, typical of the Padana Plain, which supply fresh water both to the rivers and to a dense network of irrigation canals.

Piemonte has eight provinces: Alessandria, Asti, Biella, Cuneo, Novara, Torino, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola and Vercelli.

 

Climate:

In the alpine zone it is quite cold. The climate in the valleys is continental, i.e. rather cold winters which are often dry, warm summers,with spring and winter rains. Fog is characteristic in the Padana valley.The lakes enjoy a realtively mild climate.

 

Geography:

The countryside is very diversified: from the rugged peaks of Monte Rosa and of Gran Paradiso, to the damp rice paddies of Vercelli and Novara, from the gentle hillsides of the Langhe and of Montferrat to the plains. 7.6% of the entire territory is considered protected area. There are 56 different national or regional parks, one of the most famous is the Gran Paradiso National Park located between Piemonte and the Aosta Valley.


History:

Piemonte was inhabited in early historic times by Celtic-Ligurian tribes such as the Taurini and the Salassi. They were later conquered 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), ByzantinesLombards (6th century), Franks (773).

In the 9th–10th centuries there were invasions by the Magyars and Saracens. At the time, Piemonte was part of the Kingdom of Italy within the Holy Roman Empire,and was subdivided into counties.

 

In 1046, Oddo of Savoy added Piemonte to the 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 the Kingdom of Sardinia and increasing Turin's importance as a European capital.

The Republic of Alba was created in 1796 as a French client republic in Piemonte. A new client republic, the Piedmontese Republic, existed between 1798 and 1799 before it was reoccupied by Austrian and Russian troops. In June 1800 a third client republic, the Subalpine Republic, was established in Piemonte. Under French rule in 1801, it was annexed by France in September 1802. In the congress of Vienna, the Kingdom of Sardinia was restored, and received the Republic of Genoa to strengthen it against France.

Piemonte 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 countered by the influence of rural farmers.

The House of Savoy became Kings of Italy, and Turin briefly became the capital of Italy. However, when the Italian capital was moved to Florence, and then to Rome, the administrative and institutional importance of Piemonte was reduced and the only remaining recognition to Piemonte's historical role was that the crown prince of Italy was known as the Prince of Piemontet. After Italian unification, Piemontet became one of the most important regions in the first industrialization of Italy.

 

Culture:

In the 1970s, even the rest of Italy discovered the beauties and the bounties of Piemonte area. Gourmets from all over the world come to savor the tastes of Piemonte. Its wines are exquisite with nebbiolo being an extraordinary red, its cheeses are beyond description, and it offers stupendous meat dishes (in a country where fresh meat is rarely a mainstay), and for the most famous, they will pay whatever price required to taste its truffles. In the fall, every small town in the region has a truffle, wild mushroom and/or wine festival. Some other enticing treats include Agnolotti,  a type of pasta typical of the Piemonte region of Italy, made with small pieces of flattened pasta dough, folded over a filling of roasted meat or vegetables. Agnolotti is the plural form of the Italian word agnolotto. The origin of the name may come from the name 'Angelot' from Montferrat, who is said to be the inventor of the recipe, or from the Latin word 'anellus', which refers to the ring-shaped material within the pasta; Vitello tonnato is a well-known Piedmontese Italian dish made of cold, sliced veal covered with a creamy, mayonnaise-like sauce that is tuna flavored and served chilled or at room temperature, generally in the summertime, as the main course of an Italian meal or as "an exceedingly elegant antipasto for an elaborate dinner." 

 

The Gianduiotto ( Giandojòt in the Piedmontese dialect) is a  chocolate whose shape is similar to an upturned boat. Gianduiotti are individually wrapped in a tinfoil cover, usually gold or silver-colored. A speciality of Turin, it takes its name from gianduja, the preparation of chocolate that is used for gianduiotti and other sweets (including Nutella and Bicerin Di Gianduiotto). This preparation is named after Gianduja, a mask in commedia dell'arte representing the archetypal Piedmontese. Gianduja's hat inspired the shape of the Gianduiotto.

Gianduiotti are made from a paste of sugarcocoa and hazelnut Tonda Gentile delle Langhe. The official “birth” of gianduiotti was 1865 in Turin, by Paul Caffarel and Michele Prochet, the first to completely grind hazelnuts to a paste before adding them to the cocoa and sugar mix.

Apparently, the idea of mixing hazelnut pieces to “standard” chocolates started during Napoleon’s reign, when importing cocoa from South America became extremely difficult. “Raw” cocoa was extremely expensive, so local producers started incorporating bits of roasted hazelnuts (hazelnuts are locally grown and were easy to come by in Piedmont) to make the final product more affordable.

 

Torta alla Monferrina, made in the fall in the Monferrato hills in north-west Italy, is a cake made from pumpkinapples and sugar, with dried figsamarettichocolateeggs, andrum, and baked in the oven.

 

Piemonte is well known for its superior wines. the following list includes the best of Italian wines:

Malvasia - The Piemonte region is the only significant producer to make Malvasia nera with two DOC zones covering less than 250 acres -Malvasia di Casorzo and Malvasia di Castelnuovo Don Bosco. It is a very prestigious wine and very hard to find.

 



The Official Website of the Region of Piemonte

About Piemonte

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