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Sestriere, Italy

So, a former sheepherding community is going to host the 2006 winter Olympics eh? Bet you didn't know that did you dear reader? The village is Sestriere, in Italy's Piedmont (Piemonte) province. Piemonte for those of you that are geographically challenged is home to the very well known manufacturing city of Turin. This, I think is the name that will be given to the world as the "host" of the 2006 winter Olympics. Much like Albertville in France or Innsbruck in Austria, or Salt Lake City for that matter.

Anyway Turin is also host to the Fiat carmaker and its very well known Agnelli family.
This is where we get to the Sestriere bit. Apparently in 1930 Senator Giovanni Agnelli figured that Sestriere was a great place to ski and a great place to develop and share.

Now you will see what foresight really is. The late and truly foreword thinking Senator Agnelli, began, way back in the 30s' what can only be described as Europe's
(the world's?) first purpose built resort. This means that it was designed and built to accommodate as many people in as convenient a space to the year round amenities as possible. What it did not mean was a community for farmers, the weekending Turin gentry or any other of the extremely privileged set for that matter.

What it meant was a place for the masses to ski and no, it does not matter a damn that the masses that skied in those days were the privileged few. A purpose built resort was born-and very soon it will be the mainstay of the 2006 Olympic games. So there.

So when one makes the 100 or so KM trip (about 60 miles) from Turin to Sestriere, what will one find? Well like many purpose built resorts, it is no beauty contest winner. At first glance in fact, Sestriere might best be called an “ugly duckling.” But beauty does, indeed, lie in the eye of the beholder. These clumps of high rise apartments do, in fact, represent great accommodation for – dare we say it – the skiing masses that are, these days, definitely not the privileged few. Senator Agnelli was right on target. More
 

   
 

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