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The first established settlement in the area of modern day Turin dates to the Celtic era. The Celtic Taurini tribe built the first villages but it was during the 1st century BC that the Romans came and established a military camp to protect the northern borders. During the next five centuries a typical Roman city took shape, with defensive walls and standard street grid. Much of this early design of the city’s layout remains today.
With the fall of the Roman Empire in the 6th century the city faced a host of conquerors including the Lombards and the Franks, and each left their own mark on the city. The city’s control, along with much of the region of Piedmont, was transferred to the Duchy of Savoy at the end of the 13th century, and at this time the city’s prominence began to rise. During the Italian Renaissance many new churches, gardens and palaces were built in the city, while a university was also founded.
Turin suffered during various wars, most notably in 1706 when the city was besieged for 117 days. In the peace that came the city was once again rebuilt and experienced another wave of growth. The French occupied the city again during Napoleon’s reign as emperor, but throughout much of the early 19th century, along with much of Piedmont, Turin was at the epicenter of Italian unification.In 1861 the city became the first capital of a unified Italy, until the capital was first moved to Florence in 1865 and then Rome in 1870. Despite this the city remained a center of culture and prestige in Northern Italy.