After hosting the skiing World Championships in 1997, Sestriere was the sporting centre of the Torino 2006 Olympics, with its 400 kilometres of pistes in the Via Lattea skiing area connecting Sestriere to Sauze d'Oulx, Cesana and Claviere, and extending over 400 kilometres of tracks, equipped with artificial snow installations.
Even before Alberto Tomba's sporting prowess was seen on the world's televisions and added to its fame, Sestriere was the most popular ski resort in Piedmont with the rich and famous. In the fifties, film stars of the calibre of Liz Taylor, Ava Gardner and Audrey Hepburn came here, accompanied by the Roman princes Torlonia and Ruffo. It was created in the 1930s on an initiative of the Agnelli family, as an experiment in tourism based on the Turin population's newfound enthusiasm for skiing. The town was constructed at a height of two thousand metres, on the pass that connected the Chisone valley to the upper Susa valley, in a sunny, panoramic position. The winter season at Sestriere started when the first chairlifts - the Monte Sises and Fraiteve lifts – were opened.
The tall hotel buildings and the residential architecture, built according to a horizontal "beehive" system to exploit the available space to the full, are very impressive, laid out around the few non-tourist buildings, such as the Napoleonic obelisk, the Regina Pacis chapel of Mary and the church of Saint Edward. The parish church of Saint Anthony in the Champlas du Col hamlet, looking onto Cesana, is seventeenth century, while Borgata, the other hillside village, lies along the Chisonetto stream on the Pragelato slope.
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