Piedmont Photographs, Museums, Lakes, Wineries, Transportation
This is a food lover's paradise, so we guess that means there's something here for everyone! Occupying a large area that borders on France and Switzerland, Piedmont is the ancient dominion of the Savoys, the ill-fated royal family who ruled Italy from the Unification in 1870 until abdication in 1946. But Piedmont is a world unto itself. Perhaps it was the thick fogs that often shroud its world-class vineyards - even giving their name, nebbiolo, to the region's premier grape - that cut it off from the rest of the peninsula. Certainly we can say that of the Alps, which loom so magnificently on the eastern and northern borders. Add to that the region's hopelessly picturesque lakes and hills (of which there are far more per square mile than in Tuscany), and you get a people who long ago learned to rely on their own small community for everything.
It has only been since the 1970s that even the rest of Italy has discovered the beauties and the bounties of Piedmont. Now it is a mecca for gourmands from every corner of the universe. They come to sip its wines, nibble on its cheeses, savor its stupendous meat dishes (in a country where fresh meat is rarely a mainstay), and last but far from least, they come to pay whatever price they must to taste its truffles. In the autumn, every small town in the region has a truffle, wild mushroom and/or wine festival, and here you will see the happy travelers devouring free samples, mingling in the piazza with the sweet and friendly but often rather bewildered locals, who are flattered but still not quite accustomed to all the attention. One of the easiest ways to experience all this bounty is with our private independent tour package called Wine, Truffles & Castles in Piedmont.
We don't want you to think all you can do in Piedmont is eat and drink! Far from it. Spend a few romantic days on Lake Maggiore or teensy Lake Orta. Visit a Sacro Monte, a very unique local invention that offers you the chance to stroll among a dozen or so miniature chapels in an idyllic setting. Tour an authentic medieval castle - the region has some of the country's most dramatic fortresses. And do try to schedule a couple of days in the capital, Turin. This stately 19th-century city is virtually free of tourists, except for the aficionados who come to see Europe's best Egyptian Museum, the Automotive Museum or the Savoys' Royal Palace. The Holy Shroud also abides in Turin and is periodically on display for believers and skeptics alike.