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Passing through Italy - 2 nights in Turin or Milan or?

Hello!

I will be taking a trip to Europe in July. I am flying into Paris and flying out of Nice after a work event (the rest of my trip will be vacation). I have decided on the following itinerary so far:

7/2-7/4 - Paris - 2 nights
7/4-7/6 - Colmar - 2 nights
7/6-7/9 - Lucerne - 3 nights
7/9-7/11 - ITALY - Turin or Milan? - 2 nights
7/11-715 - Nice - 4 nights (two days work)

I took a trip to Italy three years ago and loved it so basically, I am just trying to get a small taste of Italy once again as I pass through on my way to Nice. I was thinking about Turin or Milan as they seem to be the easiest as I head to Nice. Mostly, I'd like to see some great sights and make the train travel to Nice as easy as possible. I open to any other suggestions. I love outdoor activities (hiking, biking, running, water activities, etc.). I am not that into museums but I do like castles. Thanks so much for any input!

Posted by
656 posts

I’ve been to both and enjoyed Milan but LOVE Turin. Plus, it’s more on your way and matches your likes very well. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Savoy (also kings of the post-unification Italy), and is littered with great castles. The town is a pleasure to stroll through, with porticoes everywhere and lots to see. It has a great cafe and aperitivo scene. Besides castles, I strongly recommend a small detour to Avigliana to see a 1000-year-old monastery on top of a mountain, Sacra San Michele. It’s rarely crowded and is stunning and memorable. 20 minutes by train from the center of Turin and then a short shuttle bus or taxi ride up the mountain. You can hike all over this area. We had the pleasure a few years ago of staying for two weeks in one of the smaller Savoy castles, used by the royal family for an annual “royal progress”, aka tax collection tour. My two cents.

Posted by
118 posts

Thanks for the information! That sounds great!! Is there any area that you would recommend staying in while in Turin?

Posted by
1260 posts

I have only spent one night in Milan, the night before a flight home, so I am no expert on Milan. But we spent two nights in Turin in 2015 and would love to go back. I chose Turin because my boss's boss's husband owns a restaurant in San Francisco that offers Piedmontese cuisine. It is so exceptional that I had to check out Turin.

Unfortunately, our two days in Turin were Easter Sunday and Monday so most places, including restaurants, were closed. I really wanted to see the auto museum in the old Fiat plant - but it was closed for the holiday. The town is beautiful and what food we could find was delicious. The Palazzo Reale stands out among the palaces we have seen for its lack of crowds and the armory.

The church with the Shroud of Turin is on the same square as the Palazzo Reale.

Posted by
1781 posts

I’ve been to Milan twice and I’m not a fan. Torino on the other hand is one of my favorite cities in Italy. Last October I stayed at the Concord Hotel, Lagrange 47 right near Porta Nuova and the RR station and recommend it. Convenient to the centro storico. Torino has one of the great automobile museums and a phenomal Egyptian Museum among its other attractions. For a great meal, visit Pastificio de Filippis.

Posted by
1920 posts

Another vote for Turin over Milan, given the choice of those two.

Posted by
118 posts

Thanks so much for the input! It's strange that you don't hear as much about Turin as some of the other Italian cities but apparently, it's well liked!

Posted by
1017 posts

We just got back from a week trip to Milan, Turin, and Lugano, Switzerland.

Milan has the Duomo and allows you on the roof amongst the the spires which is pretty cool. Lots of pedestrian only streets to wander. If you decide on Milan stay in the centre near the Duomo, not near the train station. Duomo is a quick metro ride from station.

Turin also has lots of pedestrian only streets. It also has a couple museums we thought were interesting- not typical Italy art museums. The Cinema museum, in central Turin and the Automobile Museum, a 15 minute metro ride. Eatitaly, near the auto museum us supposed to be great, but with our dog, we couldn’t eat there.

You might check to see which option involves less time on trains.
Lucerne to Milan is 3+ hours, then Milan to Nice is less than 5 hrs on direct train.
Lucerne to Turin is 4 1/2 hours with 1 change and Turin to Nice is 5+ hours with 1-2 train changes

While trains in Italy are generally on time, often they are not. Miss a connection and your trip just got longer by an hour or more. (A week ago a 2 1/2 hour trip with 2 connections took an extra 21/2 hours due to an hour delay on train 2).

Due to your limited time and many hours on trains, I’d chose Milan to simplify your train travel and potential for missing connections.

Posted by
118 posts

That's great feedback Karen! I hadn't that much about the potential for delays in train travel. I definitely can't afford a lengthy delay getting to Nice!

Posted by
1017 posts

After you buy tickets to the Duomo in Milan (and roof top), instead of waiting in line to get through security into cathedral, go to the opposite side toward the back and do the roof first (Lift or steps, depending on your ticket) On the roof there are signs pointing you to the way down into the cathedral. I wasted 45 minutes in line, then when my husband and I switched “dog duty” he walked up, then did the cathedral with no waiting.

Posted by
118 posts

Thanks for the advice Karen! I appreciate it!!

Posted by
15201 posts

Turin is a good stop but note that it's not on the most direct train route between Lucerne and Nice (as Nelly thought). It adds one train connection and roughly 45 minutes travel time both arriving and departing (as Karen described).

Posted by
118 posts

Thanks! It does seem that stopping in Milan would be my best bet. I already found a decent looking hotel near that Duomo so I think it will be a nice stop. Thanks again for the advice!