Italy Photos: Turin Winter Olympics 2006

 
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Occupying the central plains of Italy's northern Piedmont region, Turin—Torino in Italian—is poised to make an impressive impact at the 2006 Winter Olympics. Shadowed by the mountainous Valle d'Aosta to its west, the city hosts the mystical Holy Shroud, beautiful neoclassical piazzas, great shopping, and the city's landmark spire of the Mole Antoneliana soaring above the red-brick rooftops.  
Credit: Marco Saroldi 
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Fifty-five miles west of Turin, Bardonecchia is one of Italy's oldest ski resorts and will play a central role in the 2006 Games, both as an Olympic Village site and the venue for snowboarding's telegenic halfpipe and cross events. Over 80 miles of downhill terrain are prime for ripping on skis or snowboards.  
Credit: Roberto Giudici 
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Sestriere was built in the 1930s at the behest of the patriarch of Italy's FIAT auto dynasty, including its signature tower hotels. Somewhat lacking the ambience of other area resorts, Sestriere more than makes up for things in terms of terrain and facilities. It will host the majority of the 2006 alpine skiing events, including the men's and women's slalom competitions.  
Credit: Bruno Allaix 
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About 60 miles west of Turin and the highest venue of the Games (at 6,677 feet above sea level), Sestriere will see competitors in the men's Super-G, downhill, and combined downhill events tearing up the Kandahar Banchetta course in breakneck (literally!) fashion.  
Credit: Paolo Libertini 
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Built in the ‘80s in the shadow of scenic Monti della Luna, San Sicario is one of Piedmont's most modern ski resorts. Part of what's known as the Milky Way—a network of five Piedmont resorts (Sestriere, Sauze d'Oulx, San Sicario, Cesana, and Claviere) and the French town of Montgenèvre—San Sicario will host the biathlon and the women's alpine skiing speed trials at the 2006 Winter Olympics.  
Credit: Paolo Libertini 
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The sleepy village of Pragelato in Piedmont's scenic Val Chisone will surely lose some its pastoral tranquility over the 2006 Games with the arrival of the ski-jumping and Nordic events. Just 50 miles from Turin, Pragelato was featured in the last days of WWII when Axis and Allied forces clashed during the Battle of Genevris in August 1944.  
Credit: Bruno Allaix 
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The sleeper hit of the 2002 Winter Olympics, curling will return to the big time at Pinerolo's 3,000-capacity Palazzo Polifunzionale del Ghiaccio. Pinerolo is considered the Winter Olympics' second city because it stands as the gateway to the Val Chisone and the ski resorts at Sestriere and Pragelato. The town is about 30 miles west of Turin.  
Credit: Claudio Agnese 
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Turin's baroque-style Basilica di Superga is visible from many parts of the city. Epitomizing the architectural legacy of the ruling 16th-century Savoy family, who moved their seat of power from France to Turin in 1563, the Basilica has been the burial place of Savoy royalty since 1731. Perched atop the 'colline di Superga,' the church offers staggering views of the Italian Alps and a tranquil retreat from the bustling streets of Turin below.  
Credit: Marco Saroldi 
 
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