Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

(Turino; Taurinensis)

The City of Turin is the chief town of a civil province in Piedmont and was formerly the capital of the Duchy of Savoy and of the Kingdom of Sardinia. It is situated on the left bank of the Po and on right of the Dora Riparia, which flows into the Po not far off. The surrounding flat country is fertile in grain, pasturage, hemp, and herbs available for use in the industries, while on the hills a delicious fungus, a species of truffle is found. The district is also rich in minerals (a species of gneiss and granite), and there are five mineral springs. The population is 270,000.

Besides the numerous elementary and intermediate schools, public and private, there are a university (see below), a musical lyceum, commercial and industrial schools. The Accademia Albertina (1652), for the fine arts, possesses the precious Mossi Gallery (Raphael, Dolci, Caravaggio, Rubens, Van Dyck , Giotto, Andrea del Sarto, Correggio, Luca Giordano, Guercino, and others, with cartoons of Leonardo da Vinci and others). There is a royal academy of the sciences (1757) and a royal commission on studies in Italian history. The documents of the general archives go back as far as the year 934. Other institutions of sciences and arts are the military academy, the Scuola di Guerra, the practical school for the artillery and engineers, and eight public libraries, among them the National (1714). The last-named contains the precious Bobbio manuscripts and many Greek and Egyptian papyri; in 1904 it was ravaged by a fire in which valuable manuscripts perished, among them some which had not yet been thoroughly studied. The Museum of Antiquities is of great importance, containing a number of marbles collected throughout Piedmont besides one of the most complete Egyptian collections in existence, that made by Bernardino Drovetti, a French consul in Egypt. Worthy of note also are the Royal Gallery (Pinacoteca) and the zoö logical, mineralogical, geological, anatomical, and the rich numismatical museum (the king's medallion). Benevolent institutions are the Opera Pia di S. Paolo, which includes the Pious Institute ( ufficio pio ) of Alms for the poor and dowries for young girls, and the Monte di Pietà . The hospitals are those of S. Giovanni (fourteenth century), of the Order of Sts. Mauriceand Lazarus, the Opera Pia di S. Luigi (1792), the Ophthalmic Hospital, the Cottolengo (Piccola Casa della Divina Providenza, founded in 1827 for every kind of human misery, in which about 7000 sick, aged, and infirm persons have found shelter), the Royal General Charity Hospice, the asylum of the Infanzia Abbandonata, the Reale Albergo di Virtù (1580). The Opera Pia Barolo has under its direction various charitable and educational institutions . For the Rifugio and Oratory of St. Francis de Sales, see Bosco.

CHURCHES

The cathedral, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, stands on the site of three ancient churches, and was built (1492-98) by Meo del Caprino, with an octagonal dome. Attached to the cathedral is the chapel of the Santissimo Sudario, built by Guarini (1694), where is preserved in a casket a cloth believed to be the shroud in which the Body of Christ was wrapped when it was taken down from the Cross, The Church of Corpus Domini records a miracle which took place during the sack of the city in 1453, when a soldier was carrying off an ostensorium containing the Blessed Sacrament : the ostensorium fell to the ground, while the Host remained suspended in air. The present splendid church, erected in 1610 to replace the original chapel which stood on the spot, is the work of Ascanio Vittozzi. The Consolata, a sanctuary much frequented by pilgrims, stands on the site of the tenth-century monastery of S. Andrea, and is the work of Guarini. It was sumptuously restored in 1903. Outside the city, are: S. Maria Ausiliatrice, erected by Don Bosco ; the Gran Madre di Dio, erected in 1818 on occasion of the return of King Victor Emanuel I; S. Maria del Monte (1583) on the Monte dei Cappucini; the Basilica of Superga, with a dome 244 feet high, the work of Juvara, built by Amedeo II ex voto for the deliverance of Turin (1706), and which has served since 1772 as a royal mausoleum.

PROFANE EDIFICES

The Royal Palace (1646-58) contains various splendidly decorated halls and an extremely rich collection of arms of all periods and all peoples, as well as the king's library. Under the palace the remains of a Roman theatre were discovered. The Palazzo Madama stands on the site of the old decuman gate, which became a castle in the Middle Ages and was repeatedly enlarged until, in 1718, it was finally prepared by Juvara for Madama Reale, as she was called, the widow of Charles Emanuel II. It is now occupied by the state archives and the observatory. The Palazzo Carignano (1680), a work of Guarini, is the residence of the younger branch of Savovy-Carignano, now the reigning house. This palace was occupied by the Parliament from 1848 to 1864, and now shelters the Museum of Natural History. The Academy of the Sciences, formerly a Jesuit College (1679), houses the Museum of Antiquities and the Pinaceoteca. The Palazzo di Città or City Hall (1669), the work of Lanfranchi, contains the Biblioteca Civica. There is also a Museo Civico di Belle Arti; and the Mole Antenelliana, 580 feet high, contains the Museo di Risorgimento (1863). The city itself is laid out on a very regular plan.

HISTORY

Before the Roman conquest of the Graian and Cottian Alps, Taurasia was already an important city of the Taurini, a Ligurian people. In 218 B.C. Hannibal destroyed it. Under Augustus the conquest was completed, and the city was named Augusta Taurinorum; it probably continued, however, to form part of the dominions of Cottius, King of Secusio (the modern Susa ). In the war between Otho and Vitellius, it was almost entirely burned down. None of the Roman monuments have survived except the Porta Palatina, commonly known as the Towers, near which are the remains of a monument erected early in the second century in honour of Attilius Agricola. In the fifth and sixth centuries the city suffered from the invasions of the Burgundians and of Odoacer, and in the Gothic War. After the Lombard invasion it became the capital of a duchy, and four of its dukes — Agilulfus (589), Arioaldus (590), Garibaldus (661), Ragimbertus (701) — became kings of the Lombards. When the Lombard kingdom fell, Turin became a residence of Frankish counts until, in 892, it passed to the marquesses of Ivrea, from whom, through the marriage of Adelaide with Odo of Savoy (1046), it passed into the possession of the latter house. In 1130 the city was constituted a commune, still remaining, however, under the influence now of the counts of Savoy, now of the marquesses of Saluzzo or of Monferrato, with whom, as also with the emperors, they were frequently at war. From 1280 on, it was almost constantly under the power of the House of Savoy, more particularly the Acaia branch (1295-1418). After 1459 it was the capital of the Duchy of Savoy. In 1536 it fell into the power of Francis I of France, who established a parliament there; in 1562 Emanuel Philibert reconquered it. In 1638, during the quarrel of the regency, the city was besieged by the French and defended by Prince Thomas of Savoy. Still more memorable the siege of Turin in 1706, again at the hands of the French, from which it was relieved by Prince Eugene and by the sacrifice of Pietro Micca. During the French occupation it was the capital of the Department of the Po (1798-1814), though it was in the hands of the Austro-Russian forces from May, 1799 until June 1800. In 1821 the revolution against Charles Emanuel broke out, and a provisional government was set up, the king abdicaing in favor of his brother Charles Felix. After that, Turin was the centre of all Italian movements for the union of the Peninsula, whether monarchical or republican. The transfer of the capital of the Kingdom of Italy from Turin to Florence, in 1864, caused another, though not important, revolution (21, 22 September).

The most ancient traditions of Christianity at Turin are connected with the martyrdom of Sts. Adventor, Solutor, and Candida, who were much venerated in the fifth century, and were in later times included in the Theban Legion. As to the episcopal see, it is certain that in the earlier half of the fourth century Turin was subject to Vercelli. Perhaps, however, St. Eusebius, Bishop of Vercelli, on his return from exile, provided the city with a pastor of its own. In any case St. Maximus can hardly be considered the first Bishop of Turin, even though no other bishop is known before him. This saint, many of whose homilies are extant, died between 408 and 423. It was another Maximus who lived in 451 and 465. In 494 Victor went with St. Epiphanius to France for the ransom of prisoners of war. St. Ursicinus (569-609) suffered much from the depredations of the French. It was then that the Diocese of Moriana (Maurienne) was detached from that of Turin. Other bishops were Rusticus (d. 691); Claudius (818-27), a copious, though not original, writer, famous for his opposition to the veneration of images ; Regimirus (of uncertain date, in the ninth century), who established a rule of common life among his canons; Amolone (880-98), who incurred the ill-will of the Turinese and was driven out by them; Gezone (1000), who founded the monastery of the holy martyrs Solutor, Adventor, and Candida; Landolfo (1037), who founded the Abbey of Cavour and repaired the losses inflicted on his Church by the Saracen incursions; Cuniberto (1046-81), to whom St. Peter Damian wrote a letter exhorting him to repress energetically the laxity of his clergy ; Uguccione (1231-43), who abdicated the bishopric and became a Cistercian ; Guido Canale enlarged the cathedral ; Thomas of Savoy (1328). Under Gianfrancesco della Rovere (1510), Turin was detached from the metropolitan obedience of Milan and became an archiepiscopal see with Mondovì and Ivrea for suffragans, other sees being added later on. In the time of Cesare Cibo the diocese was infested with the Calvinistic heresy, and his successors were also called upon to combat it. Cardinal Gerolamo della Rovere, in 1564, brought to Turin the Holy Shroud and the body of St. Maurice, the martyr.

From 1713 to 1727, owing to difficulties with the Holy See, the See of Turin remained vacant. After 1848 Cardinal Luigi Fransoni (1832-62) distinguished himself by his courageous opposition to the encroachments of the Piedmontese Government upon the rights of the Church, and in consequence was obliged to live in exile. Notable among his successors are Cardinal Alimonda (1883-91), a polished writer, and Cardinal Richelmy (1897), the present incumbent of the see. The dioceses suffragan to Turin are Acqui, Alba, Aosta, Asti, Cuneo, Fossano, Ivrea, Mondovì, Pinerolo, Saluzzo, and Susa. The archdiocese comprises 276 parishes with 680,600 souls, 1405 secular and 280 regular priests, 35 communities of male and 51 of female religious, 15 educational establishments for boys and 27 for girls. There are two Catholic daily newspapers, "Momento" and "Italia Reale", two weeklies, and many other instructive and edifying periodicals.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9
1 After this, I saw another angel come down from ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:2, 3, 4, 5
2 serve Yahweh with gladness, come into his presence ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:20-28
20 'When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 27th, 2014 Image

St. James Intercisus
November 27: James was a favorite of King Yezdigerd I of Persia and a ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter