Finding your way around Piedmont

Finding Your Way Around Piedmont Italy

Where to visit and where to buy a home

Piemonte isn't the most famous of Italy's regions. Tuscany, Puglia and Sicily steal all the glory and that's not really fair. Piemonte is diverse, beautiful and never dull. But it's changing! Last year the area was given UNESCO status and already it's having a positive impact.

PIEMONTE: The name literally means 'At the Foot of the Mountains' and is often spelt Piedmont by the English speaking world and the French. It borders France to the west and Switzerland to the north. Just separated from the sea by Liguria, it almost has everything.

Most of its visitor arrive in Caselle Turin Airport and head for the alps to indulge in a week of skiing. Then there are the lakes to the north - Maggiore and Orta. These areas are big tourist hotspots, and for good reason. Fantastic scenery, good food and plenty of hotels, agriturismo, B&Bs and campsites.

Turin - the capital of Piedmont

Turin (Torino) is Piedmont's 'capital' and was the first capital of unified Italy (150 years ago). This is a 17th century masterpiece with clear evidence the Romans took the place seriously too. The architecture is some of the best you will see in Europe. And it's not just a little here and there surrounded by 1960s abominations. The city overflows with history and art and always takes itself very seriously.

Langhe and Monferrato, Piedmont

To the west is the area of the Langhe. Hills, castles, vineyards and wonderful people make it a great vacation destination. The famous Barolo Italian wine is from here, from the town of Barolo, of course. Also, famous names such as Barbaresco, Dolcetto, Spumante, Barbera, Moscato and Arneis. There are many Langhe wine tours and opportunities to visit wineries and Langhe vineyards. Wine producers are generally very happy to accept visitors for wine tasting sessions. The towns not to miss in this region are Alba, Barolo, Monforte, Serralunga, Neive and Diano d'Alba.

The city of Asti

East of Turin is the Monferrato, dominated by Asti. Asti is a little more developed but still a farmer at heart. Asti is a favourite city of ours. It's calm, friendly and easy to get around. The centre is small but very welcoming. Outside of the city are wonderful places to stay and places to buy wine. There are many agriturismo (farm holidays), B&Bs and self-catering accommodation. Visit Moncalvo (every bit as beautiful as Tuscany without the crazy prices..), Rocchetta Tanaro and Nizza Monferrato.

The Piedmont Lakes

The lakes have always been popular with visitors. The scenery is beautiful. Verbania, Stresa and Orta San Giulio are the popular towns.

Our favourite is Lake Orta, and the town of Orta San Giulio, it's described as a little Portofino. The famous Hollywood actor, director and producer Giuseppe (Joe) Tornatore started shooting a movie on the lake at the end of March 2015 and for the whole of April 2015. This is sure to put the lake on the map. The movie will be called "The Correspondence" and will star the beautiful Russian Bond Girl, Olga Kurylenko and British actor, Jeremy Irons.

A visitor to the Lake Orta had this to say:

Lake Orta and it's surroundings are a hidden paradise between the mountains; pearl of the Lake is San Giulio Island. A stunning location to visit! As the Telegraph reported, this small and hidden lake, is the most romantic and stunning of them all!

Piedmont Guide Book