One of the more intriguing ties in Euro club football this week sees Torino take on Wolves in the final qualifying round of the Europa League.
Evenly matched on the pitch, the two cities could not be more different off it; here then, is a short guide to why this game really is a tale of two cities.
Turin’s historical centre is predominantly Baroque with much of it being developed under the Kingdom of Savoy. The Piazza Castello with the Royal Palace in the background dominates the heart of the city as does the Piazza San Carlo, built in the seventeenth century with its cafés and restaurants which, on any given day, is where the Torinese go to unwind after a hard day at the office.
The beautiful Baroque façade of the Palazzo Carignano which houses the “Museum of the Risorgimento” – a celebration of Italy’s unification in the late 1800’s, is a must for any visitor as is the Palantine Gate, which gives you access to the city walls of Julia Augusta Taurinorum and takes you into the modern Turin.
Wolverhampton can claim to be the birthplace of traffic lights in the UK with the first set being located in the city’s Princes Square. The poles are painted black and white as they were on their inception in 1927, but despite their interesting background they still fail to stop drivers jumping red lights.
Turin’s Via Roma is one of the most exclusive shopping streets in Italy and plays host to some of the country’s biggest fashion houses. If you take a leisurely stroll down here there’s a good chance you’ll bump into one of Juve or Torino’s big name players – but forget attempting to see Cristiano Ronaldo, as reports suggest the street is cordoned off when he has the odd million burning a hole in his pocket.
Even so, for those of us who want to see how the other half live, there’s nothing wrong with the odd bit of window-shopping and a chance to grab a selfie with Aaron Ramsey.
Back home, Wolverhampton can boast the Wulfrun Centre, a concrete edifice named after an Anglo-Saxon noble woman who died around 994 and which houses prestigious fashion names such as Primark and Peacocks. Just like any concrete shopping centre in the UK, the Wulfrun also hosts a Greggs, Card Factory, Poundstretcher, Savers and an Iceland.
EATING & DRINKING
Turin is a hotbed for chocolate manufacturers and the local recipe is called gianduiotto, which originates from the Piedmonte region and is popular in northern Italy. Walk down any street or into any palazzo and you’ll find smart restaurants serving five-star cuisine with Turin being at the heart of the “Slow Food Movement”, which started in the mid-80’s as a reaction to the growing trend for fast-food restaurants in the peninsula.
For those on a budget, any Pizzeria in the city will do you a great deal on pizza tegamino; a small-sized thick-crust and deep-dish pizza served exclusively in Turin.
Any visitor to Wolverhampton will naturally be drawn to The Moon under Water; the local Wetherspoons located close to the city’s main train station. This proves a popular haunt for visiting football fans, who benefit from competitively priced alcohol enabling them to get tanked-up on a shoestring budget after consuming an all-day English breakfast for under a fiver.
The city also boasts other competitively priced food outlets such as “Chicken Licken” and “Favourite Chicken”.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Turin is home to several Opera Houses, the most famous of these being the Teatro Regio di Torino where Puccini premiered La Boheme back in 1896. The city is also famous for the “Shroud of Turin, a linen cloth bearing the image of a man who appears to have suffered physical trauma in a manner consistent with crucifixion and which is housed in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. The city has also been an important literary centre for many centuries and had a major influence on Italian literature following World War II.
Wolverhampton is home to 70’s glam rock kings Slade fronted by lead singer Noddy Holder and featuring lead guitarist Dave Hill, who is still in the current line-up. The band’s legacy in the city has seen legendary music venue The Wolverhampton Civic Hall re-name part of its complex “The Slade Rooms” in honour of Noddy and the boys.
Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant is a huge Wolves fan despite being born in West Bromwich and silent movie icon Charlie Chaplin once appeared at the city’s Grand Theatre on Lichfield Street. In more modern times Wolverhampton born singer Liam Payne came third on The X-Factor in 2010.