Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II was King of Sicily from 1198, King of Germany from 1212, King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor from 1220 and King of Jerusalem from 1225. He was the son of emperor Henry VI of the Hohenstaufen dynasty and of Constance, heiress to the Norman kings of Sicily. Frederick's reign saw the Holy Roman Empire achieve its greatest territorial extent, his political and cultural ambitions were enormous as he ruled a vast area beginning with Sicily and stretching through Italy all the way north to Germany. As the Crusades progressed, he styled himself its king. However, the Papacy became his enemy, it prevailed. Viewing himself as a direct successor to the Roman emperors of antiquity, he was Emperor of the Romans from his papal coronation in 1220 until his death; as such, he was King of Germany, of Italy, of Burgundy. At the age of three, he was crowned King of Sicily as a co-ruler with his mother, Constance of Hauteville, the daughter of Roger II of Sicily, his other royal title was King of Jerusalem by virtue of marriage and his connection with the Sixth Crusade.
At war with the papacy, hemmed in between Frederick's lands in northern Italy and his Kingdom of Sicily to the south, he was excommunicated four times and vilified in pro-papal chronicles of the time and after. Pope Gregory IX went so far as to call him an Antichrist. Speaking six languages, Frederick was an avid patron of the arts, he played a major role in promoting literature through the Sicilian School of poetry. His Sicilian royal court in Palermo, beginning around 1220, saw the first use of a literary form of an Italo-Romance language, Sicilian; the poetry that emanated from the school had a significant influence on literature and on what was to become the modern Italian language. He was the first king to formally outlaw trial by ordeal, which had come to be viewed as superstitious. After his death his line did not survive, the House of Hohenstaufen came to an end. Furthermore, the Holy Roman Empire entered a long period of decline from which it did not recover until the reign of Charles V, 250 years later.
Historians have searched for superlatives to describe him, as in the case of Donald Detwiler, who wrote: A man of extraordinary culture and ability – called by a contemporary chronicler stupor mundi, by Nietzsche the first European, by many historians the first modern ruler – Frederick established in Sicily and southern Italy something much like a modern, centrally governed kingdom with an efficient bureaucracy. Born in Iesi, near Ancona, Frederick was the son of the emperor Henry VI, he was known as the puer Apuliae. Some chronicles say that his mother, the forty-year-old Constance, gave birth to him in a public square in order to forestall any doubt about his origin such as son of a butcher. Frederick was baptised in Assisi. In 1196 at Frankfurt am Main the infant Frederick was elected King of the Germans, his rights in Germany were disputed by Henry's brother Philip of Otto of Brunswick. At the death of his father in 1197, Frederick was in Italy, traveling towards Germany, when the bad news reached his guardian, Conrad of Spoleto.
Frederick was hastily brought back to his mother Constance in Palermo, where he was crowned king on 17 May 1198, at just three years of age. Constance of Sicily was in her own right queen of Sicily, she established herself as regent. In Frederick's name she dissolved Sicily's ties to Germany and the Empire, created by her marriage, sending home his German counsellors and renouncing his claims to the German throne and empire. Upon Constance's death in 1198, Pope Innocent III succeeded as Frederick's guardian. Frederick's tutor during this period was Cencio, who would become Pope Honorius III. Markward of Annweiler, with the support of Henry's brother, Philip of Swabia, reclaimed the regency for himself and soon after invaded the Kingdom of Sicily. In 1200, with the help of Genoese ships, he landed in Sicily and one year seized the young Frederick, he thus ruled Sicily until 1202, when he was succeeded by another German captain, William of Capparone, who kept Frederick under his control in the royal palace of Palermo until 1206.
Frederick was subsequently under tutor Walter of Palearia. His first task was to reassert his power over Sicily and southern Italy, where local barons and adventurers had usurped most of the authority. Otto of Brunswick had been crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Innocent III in 1209. In southern Italy, Otto became the champion of those noblemen and barons who feared Frederick's strong measures to check their power, such as the dismissal of the pro-noble Walter of Palearia; the new emperor invaded Italy. In response, Innocent sided against Otto, in September 1211 at the Diet of Nuremberg Frederick was elected in absentia as German King by a rebellious faction backed by the pope. Innocent excommunicated Otto, forced to return to Germany. Frederick sailed to Gaeta with a small following, he agreed with the pope on a future separation between the Sicilian and Imperial titles, named his wife Constance as regent. Passing through Lombardy and Engadin, he reached Konstanz in September 1212, preceding Otto by a few hours.
Frederick was crowned as king on 9 December 1212 in Mainz. Frederick's authority in Germany rem
Piedmont is a region in northwest Italy, one of the 20 regions of the country. It borders the Liguria region to the south, the Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna regions to the east and the Aosta Valley region to the northwest, it has an area of 25,402 square kilometres and a population of 4,377,941 as of 30 November 2017. The capital of Piedmont is Turin; the name Piedmont comes from medieval Latin Pedemontium or Pedemontis, i.e. ad pedem montium, meaning “at the foot of the mountains” attested in documents of the end of the 12th century. Other towns of Piedmont with more than 20,000 inhabitants sorted by population: Piedmont is surrounded on three sides by the Alps, including Monviso, where the Po rises, Monte Rosa, it borders with France and the Italian regions of Lombardy, Aosta Valley and for a small fragment with Emilia Romagna. The geography of Piedmont is 43.3 % mountainous, along with extensive areas of plains. Piedmont is the second largest of Italy's 20 regions, after Sicily, it is broadly coincident with the upper part of the drainage basin of the river Po, which rises from the slopes of Monviso in the west of the region and is Italy's largest river.
The Po drains the semicircle formed by the. From the highest peaks, the land slopes down to hilly areas, to the upper, to the lower great Padan Plain; the boundary between the two is characterised by resurgent springs—typical of the Padan Plain—which supply fresh water to the rivers and a dense network of irrigation canals. The countryside is diverse: from the rugged peaks of the massifs of Monte Rosa and of Gran Paradiso, to the damp rice paddies of Vercelli and Novara, from the gentle hillsides of the Langhe and of Montferrat to the plains. 7.6% of the entire territory is considered protected area. There are 56 different national or regional parks, one of the most famous is the Gran Paradiso National Park located between Piedmont and the Aosta Valley. Piedmont was inhabited in early historic times by Celtic-Ligurian tribes such as the Taurini and the Salassi, they were subdued by the Romans, who founded several colonies there including Augusta Taurinorum and Eporedia. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the region was successively invaded by the Burgundians, the Ostrogoths, East Romans and Franks.
In the 9th -- 10th centuries there were further incursions by the Saracens. At the time Piedmont, as part of the Kingdom of Italy within the Holy Roman Empire, was subdivided into several marches and counties. In 1046, Oddo of Savoy added Piedmont with a capital at Chambéry. Other areas remained independent, such as the powerful comuni of Asti and Alessandria and the marquisates of Saluzzo and Montferrat; the County of Savoy was elevated to a duchy in 1416, Duke Emanuele Filiberto moved the seat to Turin in 1563. In 1720, the Duke of Savoy became King of Sardinia, founding what evolved into the Kingdom of Sardinia and increasing Turin's importance as a European capital; the Republic of Alba was created in 1796 as a French client republic in Piedmont. A new client republic, the Piedmontese Republic, existed between 1798 and 1799 before it was reoccupied by Austrian and Russian troops. In June 1800 a third client republic, the Subalpine Republic, was established in Piedmont, it fell under full French control in 1801 and it was annexed by France in September 1802.
In the congress of Vienna, the Kingdom of Sardinia was restored, furthermore received the Republic of Genoa to strengthen it as a barrier against France. Piedmont was a springboard for Italy's unification in 1859–1861, following earlier unsuccessful wars against the Austrian Empire in 1820–1821 and 1848–1849; this process is sometimes referred to as Piedmontisation. However, the efforts were countered by the efforts of rural farmers; the House of Savoy became Kings of Italy, Turin became the capital of Italy. However, when the Italian capital was moved to Florence, to Rome, the administrative and institutional importance of Piedmont was reduced and the only remaining recognition to Piedmont's historical role was that the crown prince of Italy was known as the Prince of Piedmont. After Italian unification, Piedmont was one of the most important regions in the first Italian industrialization. Lowland Piedmont is a fertile agricultural region; the main agricultural products in Piedmont are cereals, including rice, representing more than 10% of national production, grapes for wine-making and milk.
With more than 800,000 head of cattle in 2000, livestock production accounts for half of final agricultural production in Piedmont. Piedmont is one of the great winegrowing regions in Italy. More than half of its 700 square kilometres of vineyards are registered with DOC designations, it produces prestigious wines as Barolo, from the Langhe near Alba, the Moscato d'Asti as well as the sparkling Asti from the vineyards around Asti. Indigenous grape varieties include Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Freisa and Brachetto; the region contains major industrial centres, the main of, Turin, home to the FIAT automobile works. Olivetti, once a major electronics industry whose plant was in Scarmagno, near Ivrea, has now turned into a small-sc
The Aosta Valley is a mountainous autonomous region in northwestern Italy. It is bordered by Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France, to the west, Switzerland, to the north and by the Metropolitan City of Turin in the region of Piedmont, Italy, to the south and east. Covering an area of 3,263 km2 and with a population of about 128,000 it is the smallest, least populous, least densely populated region of Italy, it is the only Italian region, not sub-divided into provinces. Provincial administrative functions are provided by the regional government; the region is divided into 74 comuni. Italian and French are the official languages, though much of the native population speak Valdôtain, a dialect of Arpitan, as their home language; the regional capital is Aosta. The Aosta Valley is an Alpine valley which with its tributary valleys includes the Italian slopes of Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, Gran Paradiso and the Matterhorn; this makes it the highest region in Italy by list of Italian regions by highest point. The valleys above 1,600 metres, annually have a Cold Continental Climate.
In this climate the snow season is long, as long as 8 or 9 months at the highest points. During the summer, mist occurs every day; these areas are the wettest in the western Alps. Temperatures are low, between −7 °C and −3 °C in January, in July between 20 °C and 35 °C. In this area is the town of Rhêmes-Notre-Dame, which may be the coldest town in the Western Alps and where the winter average temperature is around −7 °C. Areas between 2,000 and 3,500 metres have a Tundra Climate, where every month has an average temperature below 10 °C; this climate may be a kind of more severe Cold Oceanic Climate, with a low summer average but mild winters, sometimes above −3 °C near lakes, or a more severe Cold Continental Climate, with a low winter average. Temperature averages in Pian Rosà, at 3,400 metres high, are − 1.4 °C in July. It is the coldest place in Italy. In the past, above 3,500 metres, all months had an average temperature below freezing, with a Perpetual Frost Climate. In recent years though there was a rise in temperatures.
See as an example the data for Pian Rosà. The first inhabitants of the Aosta Valley were Celts and Ligures, whose language heritage remains in some local placenames. Rome conquered the region from the local Salassi around 25 BC and founded Augusta Prætoria Salassorum to secure the strategic mountain passes, they went on to build bridges and roads through the mountains. Thus, the name Valle d'Aosta means "Valley of Augustus". In 1031–1032, Humbert I of Savoy, the founder of the House of Savoy, received the title Count of Aosta from Emperor Conrad II of the Franconian line and built himself a commanding fortification at Bard. Saint Anselm of Canterbury was born in Aosta in 1033 or 1034; the region was divided among fortified castles, in 1191, Thomas I of Savoy found it necessary to grant to the communes a Charte des franchises which preserved autonomy—rights that were fiercely defended until 1770, when they were revoked in order to tie Aosta more to Piedmont, but which were again demanded during post-Napoleonic times.
In the mid-13th century, Emperor Frederick II made the County of Aosta a duchy, its arms charged with a lion rampant were carried in the Savoy arms until the reunification of Italy in 1870. The region remained part of Savoy lands, with the exceptions of French occupations from 1539 to 1563 in 1691 between 1704 and 1706, it was ruled by the First French Empire between 1800 and 1814. During French rule, it was part of Aoste arrondissement in Doire department; as part of the Kingdom of Sardinia, it joined the new Kingdom of Italy in 1861. The region gained special autonomous status after the end of World War II. For more than 20 years the valley has been dominated by autonomist regional parties; the last regional election was held in May 2018. On 27 June 2018 Nicoletta Spelgatti of the Lega Nord was elected president by the region's cabinet, she is the first Lega Nord member to hold the position. The population density of Aosta Valley is by far the lowest of the Italian regions. In 2008, 38.9 inhabitants per km2 were registered in the region, whereas the average national figure was 198.8, though the region has extensive uninhabitable areas of mountain and glacier, with a substantial part of the population living in the central valley.
Migration from tributary valleys has now been stemmed by generous regional support for agriculture and tourist development. The population is growing but steadily. Negative population growth since 1976 has been more than offset by immigration; the region has one of Italy's lowest birth rates, with a rising average age. This, too, is compensated by immigration, since most immigrants arriving in the region are younger people working in the tourist industry. Between 1991 and 2001, the population of Aosta Valley grew by 3.1%, the highest growth among the Italian regions. With a negative natural population growth, this is due to positive net migration
Arduin of Ivrea
Arduin was an Italian nobleman, Margrave of Ivrea and King of Italy. Arduin was born in 955 in Pombia during a period in which the Kingdom of Italy was struggling to maintain its independence from the ambitions of the Holy Roman Empire. Italy was conquered in 961 by Emperor Otto I, the Italian King Berengar II was deposed. Arduin, Berengar's grand-nephew, was only a boy. In 1002, after the death of Emperor Otto III, the Italian nobles elected Arduin as King of Italy in the Basilica of San Michele Maggiore in Pavia, making him the first independent Italian king since Berengar's deposition 41 years earlier. Arduin was supported by the Archbishop of Milan; the new German king Henry II opposed Arduin. In 1004, Henry invaded Italy, defeated Arduin, was crowned King of Italy in Pavia. Henry II invaded Italy again in 1014 and was proclaimed Emperor in Rome, at which point Arduin was forced to relinquish his crown, he died soon after at Fruttuaria Abbey. In the year 961 the Emperor Otto I deposed Berengar II, King of Italy, took the title for himself, unifying the crowns of Italy and Germany.
But this did not erase the influence of Berengar's Anscarid dynasty in northern Italy, as the March of Ivrea was inherited by Berengar's third son Conrad. In the subsequent years, the political situation in Northern Italy was marked by the struggle between the bishops and the secondi milites, the minor nobles, whose only source of livelihood were small, rural fiefs, who were threatened by the expansionism of the bishops. Arduin was named after his maternal grandfather, Arduin Glaber, his father, Count of Pombia, was a nephew of King Berengar II. Arduin married Bertha, said to be the daughter of Otbert II, Margrave of Milan, they had three sons: Arduin and Guibert. From them descended the counts of Ivrea and in turn those of Agliè, Castellamonte and Rivarolo. In 990, Arduin succeeded his kinsman Conrad in the March of Ivrea. Conrad was Berengar II's son and was married to a daughter of Arduin Glaber, it is unclear if Arduin was appointed to Ivrea by the king–emperor Otto III or if he succeeded as Conrad's heir.
The March of Ivrea, since its restructuring under Berengar II in 950, consisted of the counties of Burgaria, Lomello, Pombia and Vercelli, the dioceses of Ivrea, Novara and Vigevano, plus part of the dioceses Pavia and Milan. Arduin became Count of the Sacred Palace of Lateran in Rome in 991. During his rule as Margrave of Ivrea, Arduin backed the claims of the monastic orders and of the secondi milites, a policy that led to clashes with the imperially appointed bishops; the hostility turned into open conflict in the year 997, when the Emperor Otto III granted to Pietro, Bishop of Vercelli, the fief of Caresana. Arduin did not recognise the donation. There were riots in the city of Vercelli between the secondi milites and the bishop's followers, during which the bishop was killed. Arduin intervened in the city; the bishop-count Warmund of Ivrea condemned Arduin for the killing of Pietro, excommunicated him, obtained from the Emperor a proclamation that the city of Ivrea, along with the land for three miles outside the walls, was free from Arduin's rule.
In the year 1000 Arduin was in Rome to explain his position to the newly appointed Pope Sylvester II. Otto III was present in the city, Warmund and Leone, successor of Pietro as the bishop of Vercelli were as well, the pope confirmed Arduin's excommunication and demanded he abdicate to his title in favor of his son. Arduin did not accept the sentence, he returned in his lands, instead of abdicating, expelled Warmund from Ivrea and conquered the cities of Vercelli and Novara, while his followers took control of Como and several cities of the Piedmont. At that point a clash with the Emperor seemed inevitable, but Otto III died near Rome on 23 January 1002 without leaving a direct heir, throwing the empire into a succession crisis. On 15 February, a diet of feudal secondi milites in Pavia acclaimed Arduin King of Italy. According to the chronicler Arnulf of Milan, Arduin was "elected by the Lombards in Pavia and was called'caesar' by all", he made the rounds of the kingdom with the Archbishop of Milan publicly at his side.
However, while Arduin had the loyalty of the minor nobles, that of the bigger landlords, more tied to the imperial power, was much more questionable, opposition to his rule was instigated by the bishops, led by Frederick, Archbishop of Ravenna. In Germany, Henry II was acclaimed king on 7 June 1002, he did not recognize Arduin's coronation. Henry granted the March of Verona to Duke Otto I of Carinthia, sent Otto to Italy to depose Arduin; this was only the beginning. Henry invaded Italy with a large force that left Germany in March 1004 and arrived at Trento on 9 April 1004, he met Arduin outside Verona, where Arduin was disappointed by a poor showing from his erstwhile supporters. Henry entered Pavia, the tradit
The Lombards or Longobards were a Germanic people who ruled most of the Italian Peninsula from 568 to 774. The Lombard historian Paul the Deacon wrote in the Historia Langobardorum that the Lombards descended from a small tribe called the Winnili, who dwelt in southern Scandinavia before migrating to seek new lands. In the 1st century AD, they formed part of the Suebi, in north-western Germany. By the end of the 5th century, they had moved into the area coinciding with modern Austria and Slovakia north of the Danube river, where they subdued the Heruls and fought frequent wars with the Gepids; the Lombard king Audoin defeated the Gepid leader Thurisind in 551 or 552. Following this victory, Alboin decided to lead his people to Italy, which had become depopulated and devastated after the long Gothic War between the Byzantine Empire and the Ostrogothic Kingdom there. In contrast with the Goths and the Vandals, the Lombards left Scandinavia and descended due south through Germany and Slovenia, only leaving Germanic territory a few decades before reaching Italy.
The Lombards would have remained a predominantly Germanic tribe by the time they invaded Italy. The Lombards were joined by numerous Saxons, Gepids, Bulgars and Ostrogoths, their invasion of Italy was unopposed. By late 569 they had conquered all of northern Italy and the principal cities north of the Po River except Pavia, which fell in 572. At the same time, they occupied areas in southern Italy, they established a Lombard Kingdom in north and central Italy named Regnum Italicum, which reached its zenith under the 8th-century ruler Liutprand. In 774, the Kingdom was integrated into his Empire. However, Lombard nobles continued to rule southern parts of the Italian peninsula, well into the 11th century when they were conquered by the Normans and added to their County of Sicily. In this period, the southern part of Italy still under Longobardic domination was known to the foreigners, by the name Langbarðaland, in the Norse runestones, their legacy is apparent in the regional name Lombardy. The fullest account of Lombard origins and practices is the Historia Langobardorum of Paul the Deacon, written in the 8th century.
Paul's chief source for Lombard origins, however, is the 7th-century Origo Gentis Langobardorum. The Origo Gentis Langobardorum tells the story of a small tribe called the Winnili dwelling in southern Scandinavia; the Winnili were split into three groups and one part left their native land to seek foreign fields. The reason for the exodus was overpopulation; the departing people were led by the brothers Ybor and Aio and their mother Gambara and arrived in the lands of Scoringa the Baltic coast or the Bardengau on the banks of the Elbe. Scoringa was ruled by the Vandals and their chieftains, the brothers Ambri and Assi, who granted the Winnili a choice between tribute or war; the Winnili were young and brave and refused to pay tribute, saying "It is better to maintain liberty by arms than to stain it by the payment of tribute." The Vandals prepared for war and consulted Godan, who answered that he would give the victory to those whom he would see first at sunrise. The Winnili were fewer in number and Gambara sought help from Frea, who advised that all Winnili women should tie their hair in front of their faces like beards and march in line with their husbands.
At sunrise, Frea turned her husband's bed so that he was facing east, woke him. So Godan spotted the Winnili first and asked, "Who are these long-beards?," and Frea replied, "My lord, thou hast given them the name, now give them the victory." From that moment onwards, the Winnili were known as the Longbeards. When Paul the Deacon wrote the Historia between 787 and 796 he was a Catholic monk and devoted Christian, he thought the pagan stories of his people "silly" and "laughable". Paul explained. A modern theory suggests that the name "Langobard" comes from a name of Odin. Priester states that when the Winnili changed their name to "Lombards", they changed their old agricultural fertility cult to a cult of Odin, thus creating a conscious tribal tradition. Fröhlich inverts the order of events in Priester and states that with the Odin cult, the Lombards grew their beards in resemblance of the Odin of tradition and their new name reflected this. Bruckner remarks that the name of the Lombards stands in close relation to the worship of Odin, whose many names include "the Long-bearded" or "the Grey-bearded", that the Lombard given name Ansegranus shows that the Lombards had this idea of their chief deity.
The same Old Norse root Barth or Barði, meaning "beard", is shared with the Heaðobards mentioned in both Beowulf and in Widsith, where they are in conflict with the Danes. They were a branch of the Langobards. Alternatively some etymological sources suggest an Old High German root, meaning “axe”, while Edward Gibbon puts forth an alternative suggestion which argues that: …Börde still signifies “a fertile plain by the side of a river,” and a district near Magdeburg is still called the lange Börd
March of Montferrat
The March of Montferrat was a frontier march of the Kingdom of Italy during the Middle Ages and a state of the Holy Roman Empire. The margraviate was raised to become the Duchy of Montferrat in 1574. Part of the March of Western Liguria established by King Berengar II about 950, the area of Montferrat was constituted as the marca Aleramica for his son-in-law Aleramo; the earliest secure documentation of Aleramo and his immediate family is derived from the founding charter of the Abbey of Grazzano in 961. Occasioned by the recent death of Aleramo's son Gugliemo. After King Otto I of Germany had invaded Italy in 961 and displaced Berengar II, he began, in a manner much like his predecessors Berengar and Hugh of Arles, to redefine the great fiefs of Italy, he reorganised the northwest into three great marches. Western Liguria he restored to Aleramo, Eastern Liguria or the marca Januensis he gave to Oberto I, Turin he made a march for Arduin Glaber. Aleram's descendants were obscure until the time of Marquess Rainier in the early twelfth century.
About 1133 Rainier's son Marquess William V married Judith of Babenberg, a half-sister of King Conrad III of Germany, so increased his family's prestige. He entered into the Italian policies of Conrad and the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos, setting a Ghibelline precedent for his successors, with his sons became involved in the Crusades. Marquess Boniface I was the leader of the Fourth Crusade and established the Kingdom of Thessalonica in the Latin Empire of Greece. Reuniting Thessalonica, inherited by Boniface's Greek son Demetrius, with Montferrat became a goal of Boniface's Italian heirs, though nothing came of their endeavours. In the thirteenth century, Montferrat waffled between the Guelph and Ghibelline parties under Boniface II and William VII, they had to wage several long wars against the independence-minded communes of Asti and Alessandria and they became the standard-bearers of a renewed Lombard League forged to fight the spread of Angevin influence into northern Italy. The capital of Montferrat at this time was the centre of the margraves' power.
In 1305, the last Aleramici margrave died and Montferrat was inherited by the Greek imperial Palaiologos dynasty, who held it until 1533, during a period of diminishing territoriality. In that year, Montferrat was seized by the Spanish under Emperor Charles V of Habsburg, who restored it to Federico II, Duke of Mantua from the illustrious House of Gonzaga in 1536, his son Margrave William X was elevated to a Duke of Montferrat in 1574 and the "march" ceased to exist as an entity, though it had undergone the significant change from a feudal collection of frontier counties to one of the petty states of Renaissance Italy, divided into two separated territories. List of rulers of Montferrat, for a list of margraves and dukes Iudiciaria Torrensis Duchy of Montferrat Haberstumpf, Walter. Regesti dei Marchesi di Monferrato. Alessandria: San Giorgio Editrice. Ruggiero, Michele. Storia del Piemonte. Torino: Piemonte in Bancarella
Metropolitan City of Turin
The Metropolitan City of Turin is a metropolitan city in the Piedmont region, Italy. Its capital is the city of Turin, it comprises the city of Turin and 315 other municipalities. It was first created by the reform of local authorities and established by the Law 56/2014, it has been operative since 1 January 2015. The Metropolitan City of Turin is headed by the metropolitan council. Since 5 June 2016, Chiara Appendino has served as the mayor of the capital city, succeeding Piero Fassino, it is the largest Metropolitan City of the only one to border a foreign state. It has an area of 6,830 km2, a total population of 2,306,676. There are 316 comuni in the metropolitan area – the most of any province or metropolitan city in Italy; the province with the second highest number of comuni is Cuneo with 250. The territory consists of a mountainous area to the west and north along the border with France and with the Valle d'Aosta, part flat or hilly in the south and east; the mountainous part is home to part of the Hautes Alpes, the Graian Alps and, in a much lesser extent, in the Pennine Alps.
The highest point in the Metropolitan City of Turin is the Roc, located in the Gran Paradiso massif on the border with Valle d'Aosta. Several wildlife reserves are located in the province, including the Sacro Monte Natural Reserve in Belmonte and the Gran Paradiso National Park; the Residences of the House of Savoy, located in Turin and several other towns in the province, as well as the Sacro Monte of Belmonte are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Metropolitan City has a large number of rail and road work sites. Although this activity has increased as a result of the 2006 Winter Olympics, parts of it had long been planned; some of the work sites deal with general roadworks to improve traffic flow, such as underpasses and flyovers, but two projects are of major importance and will radically change the shape of the city of Turin. One is the Spina Centrale project which includes the doubling of a major railway crossing the city, the Turin-Milan railway locally known as Passante Ferroviario di Torino.
The railroad ran in a trench, which will now be covered by a major boulevard running from North to South of Turin, in a central position along the city. Porta Susa, on this section, will become Turin's main station to substitute the terminus of Porta Nuova with a through station. Other important stations are Stura, Rebaudengo and Madonna di Campagna railway stations, though not all of them belong to the layout of the Spina Centrale; the other major project is the construction of a subway line based on the VAL system, known as Metrotorino. This project is expected to continue for years and to cover a larger part of the city, but its first phase was finished in time for the 2006 Olympic Games, inaugurated on 4 February 2006 and opened to the public the day after; the first leg of the subway system linked the nearby town of Collegno with Porta Susa in Turin's city centre. On 4 October 2007 the line was extended to Porta Nuova and in March 2011, to Lingotto. A new extension of the so-called Linea 1 is expected in the near future, reaching both Rivoli in the Western belt of Turin and Piazza Bengasi in the Southeast side of the city.
Furthermore, an alleged Linea 2 is in the pipeline and it is supposed to cross Turin from North to South. The area has an international airport known as Caselle International Airport Sandro Pertini, located in Caselle Torinese, about 13 km from the centre of Turin and connected to the city by a railway service and a bus service; as of 2010 a bicycle sharing system, the ToBike, is operational. The metropolitan area is served by Turin metropolitan railway service; the new Metro municipalities, giving large urban areas the administrative powers of a province, are conceived for improving the performance of local administrations and to slash local spending by better coordinating the municipalities in providing basic services and environment protection. In this policy framework, the Mayor of Turin is designated to exercise the functions of Metropolitan mayor, presiding over a Metropolitan Council formed by 18 mayors of municipalities within the Metro municipality; the first Metropolitan Council of the City was elected on 12 October 2014: Shroud of Turin House of Savoy Italian language Piedmontese language Franco-Provençal language Sacro Monte di Belmonte Residences of the Royal House of Savoy Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso