Piedmont (It. Piemonte, from pie di monte, foot of the mountain), a N. W. division of Italy, bounded N. by Switzerland, E. by Lombardy and Piacenza, S. by Liguria, which separates it from the Mediterranean, and W. by France; area, 11,301 sq. m.; pop. in 1872, 2,899,564, nearly all Catholics excepting 30,000 Walden-ses. Piedmont and Liguria, including Genoa and Porto Maurizio (area 2,056 sq. m., pop. 843,812), have been lately united, making the aggregate area 13,357 sq. m., and the population 3,743,376. Piedmont proper contains the provinces of Alessandria, Coni or Ouneo, Novara, and Turin. It is enclosed on three sides by stupendous mountains, and completely drained by the Po and its numerous tributaries. In the intense heat of summer the ground of the plains toward Lombardy becomes so scorched that crops are only saved by a system of irrigation which is developed to great perfection. Half a million acres are scored with artificial channels; for the privilege of using the water a tax is levied. Thus districts once waste have been reclaimed and made very productive. The region of the Po is exceedingly rich in cereals, wine, oil, and fruits. Excellent silk is exported in large quantities, and is manufactured to some extent, along with wool, linen, and other articles.
Piedmont has shared the vicissitudes of the house of Savoy, and once was a principality. The name was long used to designate in a general sense the Sardinian states, though the region was merged in the kingdom of Sardinia in the 18th century, and in that of Italy in 1861. (See Italy, Sardinia, and Savoy).