Turin, or Torino as the locals call it, the capital of Italy’s Piedmont region, is gaining popularity as a winter vacation spot. Located at the base of the Western Alps, in north-western Italy, it is now very much on a skiing vacation map because of the XX Winter Olympics held here in February 2006. The Piedmont region has more than 1,200 miles of ski runs and the Olympic events were spread over resorts, villages and valleys within sixty miles of Turin. The main three Olympic Villages were located in Turin, Sestriere and Bardonecchia but events were also held in neighboring towns of Sauze d’ Oulx, Claviere, Prali and Pragelato.

Needless to say all these are now wonderful vacation resort towns as the infrastructure prepared for the Olympic Games remains very much in place. The Olympic mountain range of the Western Alps is ideal for snow sport but also offers plenty of outdoor activities all through the year, including canoeing and rafting on the beautiful lakes and rivers as well as hiking on scenic walking trails.

Turin Airport has had a massive face-lift and modernization, as has the rest of the city, making it a desirable tourist destination and entry point for other places in western Italy. The Olympic Games, when seven different sports and fifteen different disciplines were played out in eight different competition sites, was an outstanding success, and over 2,600 athletes, 650 judges and umpires and one million spectators were present for two weeks. Facilities are now in place for future vacationers coming for world class skiing.

Skiing is not the only attraction of Turin. It is famous for its chocolates and a ChocoPass entitles visitors to sample the range of chocolates in confectioners, handicraft chocolate-making workshops and Cafes. Turin is also the home of Martini, so a cocktail or aperitivo beside the River Po is not to be missed. There is plenty of night life in the Murazzi and Docks Dora areas and on the streets of the Roman Quarter. Enjoy an evening out in Piazza Castello where a number of historic cafe and restaurants serve traditional Piedmont dishes and superb wines.

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