Piedmont Region and Turin
Piedmont, Italy, sit in the north western corner, bordered by both France and Switzerland and literally means ‘at the foot of the mountains’. With a dominating skyline of some of Europe’s greatest mountains, Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn, Piedmont was once described as a ‘microcosm of Italy’s best’.
The Piedmont region is one of the most extraordinary and varied regions of Italy with a mosaic of vineyards, plains of rice and is home to some of the most dramatic castles and fortresses in the country.
We start in the north, in the capital city of Turin, or Torino. In Turin, tourism is popular, as not only is it a rather stately and elegant 19th Century city, it is Europe’s capital for baroque, chocolate and cars. It is also said to be home to Europe’s best Egyptian museum, the Automotive museum (appropriately so, being home to the Fiat motor car), and the Savoy Royal Palace – once home to the feudal family from southeast France in the 11th Century. The Holy Shroud also abides in the city and is periodically on display for all to see.
To the west of Turin are some of Italy’s most exclusive and popular ski resorts. Skiing is big business here with resorts such as Sauze D’Oulx, Limone Piemonte and the Olympic resort of Sestriere; all a haven for skiers and boarders. It is also home to the spectacular sight of Sacra di San Michele, the Benedictine Abbey of St Michael. This fortified Abbey is perched high atop Monte Pirichiano and is reminiscent of a fairy tale castle with a backdrop of snow capped mountains; truly breathtaking.
Home to the treasured white truffle, we head south of the region to Alba where these delicate and aromatic truffles are considered Italy’s best. The south of Piedmont is also home to some marvellous wines, notably from the vineyards of Barolo and Barbera. The town of Asti nearby is also famed for its sparkling whites.
The Piedmont region offers great outdoor living, with hiking, climbing, biking, horse riding and a variety of winter sports. Fantastic for explorers, on foot or by bike, there is always an antiquity to visit. A must-see on your schedule has to be the Valley of Abbeys in the Susa Valley, the ancient pilgrim’s route for all ‘looking for their lost heavenly home’. UNESCO recently declared Piedmont’s Sacri Monti (sacred mountain) to be a World Heritage site. An extraordinary collection of 20 chapels, they offer beautiful painted frescos from the life of St Francis. Created over three centuries they display the changing face of art from the simple Renaissance, to the grandiose Baroque designs, followed by the softened and delicate fashions of the Rococo era.
Glorious history, awe-inspiring art, a contrast of landscapes and a mecca for the gastronomes, this region offers something for just about everyone. A lengthy stay is simply the only way to experience all Piedmont (and Italy) has to offer.
| PIEDMONT FOOD || || SHOPPING IN PIEDMONT|| || PIEDMONT WINE || || PIEDMONT ART AND ARCHITECTURE |
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|The Piedmont region is a food lover’s paradise and home to some of the most world renowned cheeses and wines. Piedmont's signature dish, "bagna cauda," is a delicious fondue made of garlic, anchovies, olive oil, butter and milk and served with a whole host of vegetables, bread and grissini (bread sticks). Dishes of pasta, prized beef and truffles are always high on the menu.|
The local cuisine is elegant, with a French influence and is always freshly prepared. Indeed food lovers from Milan and Turin flock to the region on a weekend to enjoy the sumptuous and rather lengthy menus, so booking a table is always a good idea.
South of the region is the home of the treasured white truffle, a much rarer version than the more commonly found black truffle. Look out for the truffle market in Alba, every Saturday morning during the season
| ||Outdoor markets are some of the most interesting in Italy and Piedmont is no exception. Across the region you will always find a market full of antiquities, priceless art and knick knacks, and then there’s the fantastic choice on offer at the food markets. If engaging in some Turin tourism, the daily market in Piazza della Republica is said to be Europe’s largest open air market and is a must see for all tourists on the hunt for a one-off purchase.|
Shopping in Turin is a typical Italian city full of the most popular brands, alongside unusual shops selling the local Piedmontese produce.
| ||Piedmont is often called the ‘Burgundy of Italy’ as it is most famous for its boutique wines. In certain areas of the region, villages dedicate their lives to the vine with families inheriting the wine production business. The world famous wines of the region are the DOCG Barolo and Barbaresco wines, named after the villages in which these grapes are grown. Both fantastically rich heavy bodied wines made with the native Nebbiolo grape. |
Luckily, there are a whole host of public and private enoteche (wine exhibition centres) and botteghe del vino (wineries) which invite visitors to taste and learn all about Piedmontese wines.
Rich in art and architecture, Piedmont offers a whole host of castles, palaces and prized works of architecture to admire. Amidst the classic architecture of the Italian city of Torino, stands the unusual and rather striking design of the Mole Antonelliana. Dominating the city’s skyline its dome at 160m high was designed by Alessandro Antonelli and now houses the National Museum of Cinema.
The famous Residences of the Royal House of Savoy are scattered throughout the province and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Most noteworthy is the Royal Palace restored numerous times and now a museum housing art and furnishings belonging to the past sovereigns. In the centre of Turin there is also the Palazzo Madama housing the civic museum of ancient art.
Also worthy of a visit is Cherasco, the town with star-shaped walls and the most famous abbey in the province Staffarda, a most impressive example of gothic architecture.
If you are considering renting a villa in the Piedmont region, Cottages to Castles are pleased to offer a selection of privately owned and superbly presented Italian villas for rent
. Choose your dream vacation home in Piedmont and Torino here.
OUR FULL RANGE OF HOLIDAY HOMES IN PIEDMONT REGION AND TURIN
Melazzo (nr Acqui Terme), Piedmont
Sleep 4 | No of bedrooms 2
Sleep 16 | No of bedrooms 8