Historians do not agree on the origins of city's name, for some it derives from the Latin word "mons" (mountain) and the adjective "calerius" (referring to a person's name, Calerius), for others, it derives from Piedmont dialect and means "quail hill", and finally for others it comes from a Piedmont expression "monta e cala" (up and down, in reference to the long stairways, a main feature of the old town centre). It is a densely populated city, located in the province of Turin, whose territory is divided into numerous villages and districts, spread across the plains and the hillsides and washed by the river Po, as well as the streams Sangone, Chisola and minor courses. The Old city featured medieval walls and four gates, of which remain intact only Porta Navini.
The village was founded in 1228 by the citizens of Testoni, that sheltered here to escape from the onslaught of the people of Chieri. The centre experienced a period of great development thanks to its strategic position. From the town, it was possible to have complete control the bridge, the only access to Turin from the South. Until the XVI century, Moncalieri dominated over most of the surrounding areas, including the neighboring town of Nichelino. In the XV century, King Carlo Emanuele I proclaimed Moncalieri with the title of Municipality. The fate of the city was tied to the Savoy, who made of the local castle, their residence. During the Renaissance it was an important reference point for the Italian historical events and in the XIX century it was elected preferred holiday resort by inhabitants of the nearby city of Turin. With the Industrial revolution, several factories were built in the area, of which some still characterize the town and provide a strong boost to the local economy.
Not to miss:
- the Royal Palace, a massive structure built in the shape of a horseshoe with four corner towers and located on a hill at the center of the town. Listed as part of the Unesco World Heritage, it is also linked to the events of the Italian Risorgimento: here was signed the treaty that takes its name from the village. Originally built as a stronghold in 1100 by Thomas I of Savoy to control the access to Turin, it was enlarged in the XV century. Over the following centuries it has been remodeled several times;
- the Church of Santa Maria della Scala, built in Gothic style, preserves the remains of the patron, Bernard of Baden Baden, and a sculpture by Pietro Canonica;
- the Church of San Francesco, dating from the XVIII century, it is located in the Old Town center and overlooks the main square;
- the Parish of Holy Trinity in Neo-gothic style and located in the district of Palera;
- the Monastery of Carmelite nuns;
- the Parish of St. Martin in the district of Revigliasco;
- the Oratory of Jesus from the Baroque period;
- the Church entitled to Santa Maria Goretti in the district of Tetti Piatti;
- the Church of Santa Croce;
- the Baroque Church of Sant'Egidio;
- the Church of San Giovanni Battista in Bauducchi;
- the Church of the Beato Bernardo;
- the Palazzo of Rasino della Vernea;
- the Palazzo della Grana;
- Palazzo Ducale;
- Villa Taparelli D'Azeglio.