The name derives from the Latin word "ripulae" (short for "ripae": small river banks). It is a densely populated town in the province of Turin, on the hills between the river Dora Riparia and the stream Sangone. The municipal territory, lying at the foot of the Alps, borders to those of the nearby regional main city. It is a town with typical medieval characteristics, such as the old gateway entrance, Porta Sorda and the Tower of the Filanda, which both were part of the original walls, that unfortunately went destroyed.
The local historians report that the area was populated by the Taurini that, after the IV century B.C., were joined by the Celts, with who they coexisted peacefully. Here Hannibal and his army transited during their campaign against Rome and later, when the Romans settled in, their colonization gave a radical change in each and every aspect of the daily life. Situated along the main road to Gallia, near the border, it often submitted raids and was consequently sacked several times over the centuries. When the lands became part of the domain of the Savoy dynasty, Rivoli and its inhabitants lived a period of great stability and tranquility: Amadeus VI of Savoy proclaimed it as main centre of the County. In the XVIII century, with the Industrial Revolution, the town submitted another prosperous period with a series of industrial developments and plants, built on designs of the famous architect Filippo Juvarra. During the Napoleonic Ages, the French troops destroyed most of the old fortified walls and part of the main town center.
Not to miss:
- the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria della Stella, whose construction began in 1827. It is a building that was the subject of numerous rearrangements, as evidenced by the different styles that characterize it. The oldest part is the Gothic bell tower, topped by a spire adorned with pyramid and mullioned windows. Recently carefully restored, it features a clock donated by Amedeo of Savoy in 1723;
- the Parish of St. Martin. Its present structure was completed in 1788 and features a high altar and four lateral altars. Inside is preserved the Annunciation altarpiece dated 1790, a work of Francesco Gonin, and two statues of the early XVIII century, depicting Saint Lucia and St. Agnes. The high altar, manufacture of the XVIII century with a rich inlaid polychrome marble with bronze sculptured applications, comes from the church of San Lorenzo and San Massimo of Collegno and was placed here in the early XIX century. Behind the altar is placed a statue of St. Martin, a masterpiece dated 1697 of the artist Jerome Gherzi. The church also houses important pieces of furniture and other valuable works of art of the early XVIII century;
- the Church of San Rocco;
- the Church of Santa Croce;
- the Church of St. Bartholomew the Apostle;
- the Chapel of St. Grato;
- the Chapel of the Golden Cross at the cemetery;
- the Castle, residence of the Savoy, designed by Juvarra, even though it remained incomplete, the structure dominates over the town below. Today it houses the Museum of Contemporary Art;
- the XV century mansion of Conte Verde;
- Palazzo Piozzo;
- the Mill Barca, located on the banks of the river Dora Riparia, completely refurbished in 1891.