I live in Lyon an plan on spending a long "romantic/relaxing" weekend (3-4 days) in Italy with my gf.

The thing is I want to get there by train, which means I'm pretty limited in my choice: the city needs to be close to Lyon/France.

I know I can't get further than Turin (Torino) or Genoa (Genova), so I'm trying to decide between those 2 destinations (or another?). Is there a clear difference in "tourism experience/quality" between those 2 cities? Is there a clear choice for a first time in Italy?

I'm open to other cities as well as long as they are closer to Lyon, and they are big/distractive enough for 3-4 days.

I'm asking this on objective standards. I know for example that Napoli is not a very classic touristic destination when opposed to Roma or Venice.

I hope my question is specific enough and objective enough not to get closed.

  • What about Milano? Jan 18, 2013 at 10:06
  • It's getting far, I'm trying not to exceed around 5 hours of train. Jan 18, 2013 at 10:12
  • Okay I see, the fastest train I could find is 5:02 :) Jan 18, 2013 at 10:13

1 Answer 1


Both Turin and Genova are two big cities able to provide you a lot of attractions, the choice of the best one really depends on what you are interested in and what kind of cities you prefer in general.

As a personal point of view I consider Turin far more elegant than Genova: nice streets with elegant buildings, the possibility to climb (by car or by a little old train) on the hill of Superga close to the city and have a wonderful view on the city and the Alps in the background, a lot of history related mostly with the period of the wars that brought to the formation of Italy as a single state (but also big roman ruins), the biggest egyptian museum in the world outside Egypt and a vibrant night-life.

Genova has a strong connection with the sea: the wonderful acquarium is considered its main attraction and its internal streets (Carrugi) are quite peculiar too. Even Genova has a rich history and has been one of the major european cities in term of power, so you can find several nice buildings reflecting this. I don't know about the night-life there but I never heard anybody praising it like I did with the Turin one.

Regarding the food, both have particular regional dishes (pesto from Genova for example) but I guess that Turin with the wonderful wines from Piemonte and the "fassona" meat could be considered better even from this point of view.

  • 1
    Genova's population is significantly older than in Italian cities typically. So I'd bet on Torino for nightlife too. I visited Genova in November briefly, and in a way it felt like its glory days are long gone...
    – Jonik
    Jan 18, 2013 at 11:25
  • @Jonik I don't know about the average age of the population in Genova but I guess that when you say that you feel like its glory days are long gone you refer to the sense of "disorder" that the city gives (at least to me). For what concerns the question, some people can find this feeling of "decadence" romantic (not my case anyway), that's why I said that deciding which is the best city really depends on the tastes of the user who put the question.
    – shard
    Jan 18, 2013 at 11:31
  • (Follow the link I gave for demographics.) Yeah; not sure about disorder, but decadence rings a bell. Things were a little run-down. Then again, the lady at my guesthouse was welcoming and lovely, and I spent less than 24 hours in the city without seeing much of anything (so maybe I shouldn't judge it too early).
    – Jonik
    Jan 18, 2013 at 11:42

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