An extraordinary exploit of technology, science and industrial renewal marks the second half of the nineteenth century throughout the western world. The showcase for progress are the great exhibitions, spectacular and international events such as that of London in 1851 or Paris in 1889. Even the Kingdom of Italy, just born in 1861, engages in organizing similar events. These are smaller-scale exhibitions, which are intended above all to contribute to the formation of national identity. In addition, the large influx of visitors to the host cities helps to delineate the branch of urban tourism. In this, Italy can combine its artistic heritage with the expressions of progress. Our article considers these two aspects in Milan in the 1870s. In particular, we analyse the perception that Milanese society on the one hand and external visitors on the other have of the Italian Industrial Exhibition (1871), the Historic Exhibition of Industrial Arts (1874) and the places of interest in the city. We study private reports, institutional documents, tourist guides and catalogues. Our research reveals a cross-section of Milanese urban tourism, in which stands out the effort of the entrepreneurial elite to enhance local attractions and provide the best accommodation facilities.
Keywords: Exhibitions, industrial arts, Unification of Italy, urban tourism, Luigi Marchelli