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1 Luglio 2019

The tourists’ dilemma: Turin or Milan?

Unparalleled as Italy’s cultural heritage is, time and budget constraints may force tourists to choose which city to visit

Alessio Colella (translation by Lorenzo Bijno)

Turin or Milan

The Mole Antonelliana (Turin) and the Duomo of Milan

Those who wish to visit northern Italy but have perhaps only a few days available often have to choose between Turin or Milan. While Milan, the capital city of Lombardy, has historically been a tourist magnet, Turin, once the capital city of the Duchy of Savoy, since the 2006 Winter Olympics has gained several positions in the ranking of the most visited cities in Italy over the last ten years.
With the following article, we hope to help tourists, be they foreigners or not, who wish to choose between the former or the latter.

The landmarks of these two cities, while both extremely evocative of the history of the regions, boast two completely different stories.
On the one hand, there is the Duomo of Milan, which has very ancient origins and is the result of centuries of work. It is one of the most famous Gothic monuments in the world, with the characteristic Madonnina, a little statue of the Virgin Mary, marking the highest point of the church.
On the other hand, there is the Mole Antonelliana, which dates back to the 19th century and whose shape is just as characteristic as unique. Perched on the top of the Mole Antonelliana is a star, which replaces the sculpture of the Winged Genius – a divine creature which takes the form of an angel but is not to be mistaken with a common angel – following a cloudburst that destroyed the spire of the Mole Antonelliana at the beginning of the 20th century.

The charm of the Royal Residences of Piedmont knows no bounds. In fact, Turin and its neighboring municipalities are home to an enviable heritage of architecture. When surrounded by the delicate elegance of the Royal Residences, the tourist can immediately imagine the splendor of the ancient past of the palaces.
The history of Lombardy can instead be summarized in the Sforza Castle, whose grandeur recalls the Duchy period, when Milan was one of the major powerhouses in Italy.

Tourists are not only thirsty for culture, but they also share a common taste for local delicacies, such as the Gianduiotto and the Panettone.
The Gianduiotto is the typical chocolate of Turin. Produced for the first time in 1865, on the occasion of the Italian Carnival, it has established itself over time, reaching world-wide fame only in recent years.
Milan, on the other hand, is home to the Panettone, a cake usually eaten during the Christmas holidays, although it has recently been sold also on August 15th, as documented on the internet by various initiatives.
With such delicacies, no tourist will be left asking for more.

The streets of Turin cross the city in a chessboard pattern, which can be found in all the cities founded by the Romans. By means of such pattern, those living in the city could move from one road to the other without losing their sense of direction. Milan, on the other hand, follows a concentric circle structure, which is ideal for those travelling from the outskirts to the center of the city.

After briefly describing the main features of these two cities, the time has come for the final verdict.
On the one hand there is Turin, the first capital of Italy, on the other Milan, the financial center of the country. Thanks to the high-speed train connecting both cities, you can get from one city to another in less than an hour, so we strongly advise you visit both, but if you really can only choose one… then come to Turin.


In collaboration with Study In Torino


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