A food and wine lover’s paradise, Piemonte sits at the foot of the French and Swiss Alps in Northern Italy. Unlike its famous neighbours, it is relatively undiscovered by the Brits and other English speaking nations, and many people pass by on their way to more traditional holiday spots without realising the treasures it contains.
As well as hosting the 2006 winter Olympics, Turin was once the home of the Savoys, the Italian royal family, and as such boasts many beautiful baroque-style palazzos and museums. It has over 23km of porticos, which were built to keep the sun and rain off the royal family as they walked from palace to palace.
A good starting point is the Mole Antonelliana, where you can take a lift to the top of its spire to see a panoramic view of Turin. It was originally built as a synagogue but now hosts the museum of cinema and film. Turin is also home to the second largest Egyptian museum outside Egypt.
A visit further south to the hills of Langa, Roero and Monferato is a must, both for the spectacular views and the world famous wines including Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Arneis, Favorita …..and so the list goes on. Throughout the summer, towns and villages hold their annual feste to celebrate their local produce; pasta specialities such as tajarin and agnolotti al plin, bollito, a delicious mixture of boiled meats served with potatoes and a green sauce, costine, spare ribs cooked slowly over an open flame, as well as locally produced nuts and cheeses.
Like many Italian towns, Asti holds an annual paglio in which riders race for the honour of their ‘borgo’ or quarter. The town of Alba takes this one step further, poking fun at its neighbours by using donkeys instead of horses!
Alba is a beautiful town of medieval origins. It was awarded the Medalia d’Oro after the Second World War for the bravery of its citizens and partisans. For 23 days in 1944 it declared itself a republic. On the 10th of October, over 2000 partisans took the city and 200 lost it to the fascists on 2nd November. Nowadays it is famous for white truffles and of course fine wines.