Italians say that Turin (Torino), the major city of the western Alps, seems more French than Italian. Its wide boulevards in a grid pattern and its 17th- and 18th-century architecture do bear more resemblance to Paris than Florence. A stroll about the city center provides architectural enthusiasts examples of Renaissance, baroque, turn-of-the-century and modern buildings. The city is also distinguished by miles/kilometers of 18th-century colonnades.

Turin is the capital of Piedmont, a region that even Italians consider to have the best food in Italy. Many years of French occupation have left a mark on Piedmontese cuisine, which includes more cheese dishes and sauces than is common in traditional Italian cooking. The Piedmontese are an independent-minded people who have invented their own style of cuisine that is neither French nor Italian, but incorporates the best of both. Turin also has a well-deserved international reputation for its coffee and claims to have invented chocolate, or at least gianduitto, the delicious confection made from chocolate and hazelnut. Temptation beckons in every window, so it is best to leave your diet at home.

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