Piedmont (meaning "foot of the mountain") is Italy's second-biggest region, after Sicily, and, like that island, it belongs to what's most remarkable about Italy. 43 per cent of its territory is covered by mountains (the Alps), 30 is made up by hills, and 24 by plains. This makes Piedmont one of the most diverse parts of Europe in terms of landscape. Being located in the North-West of the country, it borders on France and Switzerland. Culturally, it is a combination of various elements as well. Historically, it has always been closely linked to the South of France, and there are Franco-Provençal and Occitan speaking minorities in Piedmont.
Turin (Torino) is the region's capital. The city's population is close to a million (metropolitan area: two million). In 28 BC the Romans founded it as Castra Taurinorum.
In Piedmont you find the Alps in a Mediterranean climate. This combination holds a great attraction. Piedmont is now a very cosmopolitan and even multi-cultural place.
Piedmont's economy is healthy in its diversity. High-quality agriculture (a lot of it for the gourmet market), industry, and tourism are its traditional legs. The service sector is now of growing importance as well. Turin especially has turned into an ultra-modern city with a strong emphasis on IT.