Five Trips to Tempt You to Piedmont

Laura

We love places that offer up a little something for everyone – and Piedmont is definitely one of those places.

Nestled up in Italy’s lesser-visited north-west corner, the region counts spectacular countryside, ancient hilltop towns, world-renowned wineries and a very Parisian capital city among its charms (and that’s before we’ve even mentioned its cuisine).

Whatever you’re dreaming of for your next Italian adventure, we’ve got five wishlist-worthy trips that might just tempt you to try out this scenic slice of ‘the boot’…

The spa escape

il-boscareto-spa-piedmontNestled in the heart of Langhe’s UNESCO-listed landscapes, Il Boscareto Resort has ‘spa break’ written all over it. Just 90 minutes’ drive from Turin Airport, you’ll feel yourself start to relax even before you arrive, as you wind your way through vineyards and over rolling hills.

The spa really makes the most of these views, with loungers laid out beside the pool’s floor-to-ceiling windows (which retract in the summer months) and outside on the terrace. There’s a hot tub up here too, plus a gym for vineyard-view workouts.

Pad downstairs and you’ll find a sauna and Turkish bath, as well as a trio of treatment rooms – our favourites include the Himalayan salt scrub and the fusion stone massage.

Elsewhere, the hotel lines up a bistro bar and Michelin-starred restaurant (with views that stretch over to Serralunga d’Alba’s hilltop castle), and rooms with spa kits and Bang & Olufsen TVs. If you fancy a sightseeing side-trip, Alba is just half an hour’s drive away.

The city-and-countryside combo

turin-piedmontTurin, Piedmont’s capital, is one of Italy’s most underrated cities. Its streets are lined with grand baroque buildings, its piazzas hide elegant cafes, chocolatiers and patisseries, and its restaurants serve up delicious Piedmontese specialities (think Barolo-braised beef and truffle-topped pasta) and bottles of top-quality local vino.

Turin also makes a fantastic addition to a countryside holiday. You’ll likely be flying in and out of the city’s airport, so stick around for a couple of days before heading out into the hills. Fifty miles south of the city is Villa d’Amelia, a serene country retreat that’s worlds away from Turin’s buzzing streets.

villa-d'amelia-piedmontThe hotel has a location worth writing home about, perched on a hilltop with views across woodland, Barolo vineyards and hazelnut groves to the Alps. Cuisine is a big focus – there’s a gourmet restaurant and a wine cellar housed in an old chapel, plus staff can provide you with a map of nearby wineries to tick off. There’s a panoramic pool terrace too; it’s the perfect place to doze after a boozy lunch.

Sound like your kind of holiday? Ask our Italy Experts to put your Piedmont itinerary together – we’d suggest two nights in Turin and a week in the countryside, but it’s completely up to you how long you stay in each place.

The foodie getaway

Hotel-Albergo-Dell-Agenzia-PiedmontWhen your hotel is located within the same Neo-Gothic complex as a University of Gastronomic Sciences, you know you’re in for a foodie treat.

It’s all about the Slow Food philosophy at Albergo dell’Agenzia (the movement’s creator also founded the university), with fresh, local ingredients served in the hotel’s Garden Restaurant (alongside a wine list of some 300 Piedmont labels). Even breakfast is spectacular, with artisanal pastries, organic juices and delicious cheeses made in the surrounding hills.

Work off the calories with strolls through historic Alba and Bra, both a short drive away.

Top tip: To really up the gourmet factor, time your trip to coincide with Alba’s white truffle festival, which takes places every autumn (usually between early October and mid-November).   

The scenic cycle

Langhe-Vineyards-PiedmontPiedmont’s gently rolling hills are perfect cycling territory – our itinerary here (in conjunction with cycling experts Headwater) is rated 2 out of 5, so it’s suitable for fair-weather riders or more experienced cyclists looking for a relaxed trip.

This nine-day trip travels in a loop, starting and finishing in the quaint village of Benevello. Along the route, you’ll pedal through vineyards, forests and UNESCO-listed landscapes, stopping off at picturesque towns and villages like Barbaresco and Nieve.

You’ll rest up in historic hotels each night, and have plenty of time to sample the region’s famous food and wine. The cherry on top? Headwater’s unique wine-carrying service. If you fancy buying a couple of bottles at any of the wineries you visit, they’ll pick them up for you and have them waiting at your final hotel, so you won’t need to worry about weighing down your backpack.

The boozy break

locanda-la-raia-piedmontAs the home of Barolo, Barbaresco and Dolcetto (to name a few), Piedmont is a brilliant pick for a wine-themed long weekend. You could base yourself pretty much anywhere in the region and be in reach of a fantastic vineyard or boutique winery, but our pick is Locanda La Raia, a small (but perfectly formed) hotel in the Gavi hills.

Twelve unique rooms and suites are furnished with antiques and contemporary artworks, with views over the estate’s vineyards. Days can be spent tasting home-grown biodynamic wines in the cellar, soaking in the spa pools or following walking trails through the Cortese and Barbera vines (just be back in time for aperitivo, when an antique cabinet is opened up to become a makeshift cocktail bar).

Need something substantial to soak up the alcohol? Food is delicious and mostly locally sourced, and there are cooking classes and courses to learn a few Piedmontese recipes yourself.

Top tip: Looking for something longer? Take a look The Wine Trail, our two-week itinerary that kicks off in Turin and takes you to some of Italy’s best vineyards and wineries.  

Have we tempted you to try Piedmont?