The city of Turin was founded about 2400 years ago by the Taurini – Celtic tribe. The name of the city itself – Turin, or Torino in Italian – comes from Celtic tau, which means mountain. The tribe of the Taurini conquered vast territories of France and Spain and then moved to the territory of modern Italy. In modern Italian the word torino means “little bull”, and the bull is still part of the Turin city flag.
Turin was almost totally destroyed by Hannibal during his Alpine campaign, but in the 1st ct. A.D. it was rebuilt by the Romans. They created a military camp there known as Castra Taurinorum. In 28 A.D. the city was renamed to Augusta Taurinorum as it was dedicated to the emperor Augustus. The number of the city’s inhabitants at that time reached 5,000. Modern Turin still shows remains of the ancient Roman street grid. The square plan of the city itself is part of the ancient Roman ancestry.
When the Roman Empire came to fall, the city of Turin was conquered by barbarian tribes – Lombards, Goths and eventually in 773 by Franks of Charlemagne. In 940s the Contea di Torino (the countship of Turin) was founded by the Arduinic dynasty. In 11th ct. the Counts of Savoy too control over the city. In 1230 to 1235 Turin was ruled by the Marquess of Montferrat – the Lord of Turin. Finally, at the end of 13th ct., Turin was conquered by the House of Savoy. The city had about 20,000 inhabitants at that time.
The 15th ct. was the time when many of the Turin’s greatest palaces and gardens were built. It is also the time the University of Turin was established.
In 1563 Turin became the capital of the Duchy of Savoy governed by Emanuele Filiberto the Iron Head. At that time Piazza Reale (modern Piazza San Carlo) and Via Nuova (modern Via Roma) were added to the city and the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) was built. The city walls were enlarged. During Emanuele Filiberto’s rule the order of the Knights of St. Maurice was established and the Sacred Shroud of Turin bearing the likeness of Christ, one of the greatest Christian relics, was brought to the city.
In 1706 Turin was besieged by the French army for 117 days during the battle of Turin, but wasn’t conquered. When the Treaty of Utrecht was signed, the Duchy of Savoy annexed the Kingdom of Sardinia. Turin became the capital of the kingdom and counted about 90,000 inhabitants.
In 1802, together with the rest of Piedmont, Turin was annexed by France. Until the fall of Napoleon in 1814 Turin was part of the prefecture of the Pô department. After 1814 the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia with Turin as capital was restored and the process of unification of Italy began.
After the Fréjus tunnel was opened in 1871, Turin became an important communication point between Italy and France. The city already counted about 250,000 inhabitants. In 1861 Turin was proclaimed capital of the United Italy, but in 1865 the capital moved to Florence and, eventually, to Rome in 1871. During this period Italy was ruled by the House of Savoy, namely King Vittorio Emanuele II.
The process of industrialization began in Turin with founding Fiat (1899) and Lancia (1906). Turin was the host of the Universal Exposition in 1902 and 1911. The city had about 430,000 inhabitants. Some of the city’s most prominent landmarks were built in the second part of the 19th ct.
Until Benito Mussolini became the ruler of Italy, it was controlled by the House of Savoy. It was right when Turin became a large industrial center due to its automotive industry. It is even called “the Automobile Capital of Italy.” Fiat is still one of the world’s great car companies based in Turin.
During the World War II Turin became target for strategic bombing by the Allies as it was a large strategic point due to its industry, especially automotive industry – Fiat produced automobiles and tanks for the Fascist and Nazist army. The city was heavily damaged.
Turin was captured in the end of Spring Offensive of 1945, but at that tine the city was already free form the Nazis. The first units to enter the city were of Brazilian Expeditionary Force. These were followed by Americans.
After the end of World War II Turin was rebuilt and saw rapid development in 1950s and 1960s. The rapid industrial development caused the great influx of immigrants from the other regions of Italy, specifically from the south. In 1960 the population of Turin reached 1 million and in 1971 it already counted 1.2 million people. The decline of the population in Turin took place in 1970s-1980s with the crisis of automotive industry.
2006 was the year of the Turin Winter Olympiad.