The area between Turin, Milan and Genoa is today known in Italy as the industrial triangle. And yet the names of these same cities evoke three of the most magnificent aspects of Italy's natural scenery: the Alps, at whose feet Turin spreads the regular network of its straight streets; the lakes, which are set like a diadem on the brow of the Lombard capital; and the sea of the two Rivieras which meet where Genoa sits, enthroned like a queen.
In very ancient times it was over the Alpine passes that the invader entered Italy the Gauls, Hannibal, the innumerable Barbarian tribes; and over these same passes the Roman legions poured into Gaul, into Switzerland and into Germany. This, then, is why the civilization of Piedmont and Lombardy seems so closely related to that of western and central Europe, and especially to that of one particular state, long since vanished, but of which evidence keeps reappearing like some not entirely forgotten memory of spiritual unity: the kingdom of Burgundy. But no invaders landed in Liguria; on the contrary, the merchants and, when necessary, the warriors of Genoa set out from its shores bound for the prosperous colonies of the eastern Mediterranean, or for the Crusades.
Although their historical evolution from the Middle Ages on was by no means similar (Turin became the capital of a kingdom which was later to give birth to the Italian State; Genoa set itself up as an aristocratic republic; and Milan, after a brief seigniorial phase, fell under foreign rule), a profound and lively sense of unity exists between these three regions.