Nestled in the north west of the country and fringed by the French and Swiss Alps, Piedmont is one of Italy‘s most naturally beautiful regions. Its name means ‘at the foot of the mountains’ and it is a patchwork of snow capped peaks, sweeping valleys and plains dotted with vineyards, farmhouses and pretty baroque towns. It is also a region famous for its food and drink with enough wineries and chocolate shops to ensure no visitor is ever left hungry or thirsty.
Italy‘s longest river, the Po, originates high in the mountains, giving life to Italy‘s most fertile plain. Rice fields dot the landscape while further up you’ll find the two national parks of Gran Paradiso and Val Grande National Parks, as well as internationally-renowned ski resorts. Hidden in the surrounding hills are seven of the nine Sacri Monti, groups of chapels from the 16th and 17th centuries that are dotted around Piedmont and Lombardy.
Turin is Piedmont’s most elegant city, characterised by tree-lined boulevards, lively piazzas and pretty baroque architecture. It briefly served as Italy‘s first capital and donated its monarchy to the newly unified Italian nation in 1861. Observe this regal past by heading out to the magnificent Palace of Venaria and the Stupinigi Hunting Lodge. In the city itself, the best way to spend your time is to wander along the wide avenues, dip in and out of the beautiful belle epoch cafes, and explore its world-class museums.
Further south is the town of Alba, a maze of cobbled streets and red brick towers and famous for its truffles and hazelnuts. It is also the gateway to Piedmont’s famous wine regions, known for their boisterous reds such as Barbaresco and Borolo, which has earned itself the title ‘king of wines and the wine of kings’.
When to go
This is a year-round destination but the most popular times to visit are in summer (July-September) and in winter things are much quieter. Spring (May-June) is a nice time to do as the weather is warming up. Fall is harvest and truffle season.
What to do
- Indulge in the region's famous produce - chocolate, hazelnuts and wine
- Explore the elegant city of Turin
- Seek out a cosy bar for a glass or two of Barbaresco or Borolo
- Hike and cycle through the beautiful countryside