Piedmont Italy Travel  

The Region of Piedmont, Italy will soon be discovered by the world with just three months until the 20th Winter Olympics Games begin in Turin! The Region of Piedmont is located in northwest Italy, sharing alpine peaks with neighboring France and Switzerland. The Po River, Italy’s largest, crosses through the region, with capital city, Torino (Turin) in the valley. Piedmont is a region rich in cuisine, culture and beautiful natural landscapes, from snow-capped peaks to vineyard-covered hills to clear mountain lakes. History is well preserved in the region: Turin, after being the capital of the Savoy reign for 300 years became in 1861 the first Italian capital, It hosts the second most important Egyptian Museum in the world, after Cairo, the Holy Shroud, the famous self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci, the opulent palaces of the Savoy royal family and the National Museum of Cinema. Torino (Turin), the region’s capital, is host to the 2006 Olympic Winter Games

American travelers often make a mistake bypassing beautiful northwestern Italy in favor of Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast. For those travelers interested in an undiscovered region brimming with authentic Italian charm, a visit to Piedmont will be a pleasant surprise. The Piedmont Region offers numerous world-class attractions: from outstanding ski slopes and hiking trails to heavenly cuisine, lavish castles and mansions of the Savoy royal family as well as numerous vineyards. The following is a brief introduction to the region:

Winter Sports
With magnificent ski resorts mixed in with traditional mountain villages, all surrounded by undiscovered forests, the Piedmont Alps is set to captivate the world as the setting for the 2006 Olympic Games! This region of Italy offers more than 1,200 miles of ski runs, spanning from the Maritime Alps to the Monviso and the Susa Valley to Monte Rosa. The Olympic Mountain’s renowned ski resorts all are located within 60 miles of Turin, including Sestriere, Sauze d’Oulx, Claviere, Cesana Sansicario, Bardonecchia, Prali and Pragelato. Nestled in the snow-drenched area nicknamed “the Milky Way,” these resorts offer varied options including dynamic downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, heli-skiing, nighttime skiing, ice-skating, ice climbing and dog sledding with Siberian Huskies.

Culinary Delights
To experience the Piedmont Region is to experience culinary delights that can be found nowhere else in the world! With meals made of incredibly fresh ingredients, all locally grown, it’s no exaggeration to say the Italians of the Piedmont region live to eat and drink: as the Italians say, in Piedmont baby's comforters are dipped in wine!

Piedmont is home to the Slow Food Movement, a global organization founded in the small town of Bra. Heralded as the “cure” for a distressingly fast-food world, slow food promotes the sanctity of taste, taste education and food preservation with fairs, events and educational programs and also produces food and wine guides. Global Philosophy Travel specializes in culinary tours and wine tours oftentimes involving Slow Food events. Click here to see a recent small group tour in Umbria, Italy!

Piedmont also is home to the white truffle, which is coveted by gourmands around the world. Piedmont's white truffle season begins in late October and extends through early December. Global Philosophy Travel also arranges small group tours to Italy that include truffle hunting. Imagine, a pound of these truffles can go for more than $2,000!

Piedmont is also home to small farms that produce delightful cheeses, subtle and sharp, creamy and dense, crafted in equal parts by favorable natural conditions and human ingenuity. The most famous Piedmontese chees is the Toma of Piedmont, among eight Castelmagno regional DOP cheeses whose quality is recognized and protected by the government.

Piedmont’s divine Tonda Gentile, hazelnut, a uniquely sweet variety so special that it has been award European Union Protected Geographic Indication status – a sort of food patent that separates it from inferior imposters. It is the centerpiece of Nutella, the hazelnut and chocolate spread that has become a worldwide favorite, as well as the central ingredient in the regional hazelnut torte – not to mention ice creams and other confections! This undiscovered region of Italy is certainly an excellent spot for your next culinary vacation!

Piedmont also nurtures the grapes that make the region one of the world’s best wine producers. Of Italy’s 20 regions, Piedmont leads the pack in number of wines that meet the exacting standards to be awarded DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) status, including bold red Barolos and Barbarescos and complex, dry, Gattinaras and Ghemmes and sweet, lighthearted white Astis.

Landscape
Piedmont’s Lake District provides breathtaking vistas and rejuvenating waters. The great Lake Maggiore, the smaller Lake Orta, both just 90 minutes from Turin, shimmer like the most exquisite precious stones. The lush beauty of their gardens, trees and scenery are fitting backdrops to the splendor of the lakes, while perfectly preserved villas, luxurious modern resorts and charming fishing villages dot the mountains and shoreline, having changed little over the centuries.

Piedmont’s stunning parks and mountains, and the region’s wide, untouched valleys, lakes and rivers, offers the active adventurer many options such as world-class hiking, mountain climbing, kayaking, rowing, cycling, paragliding, horseback riding as well as multi-sport vacations. In addition, five of the top ten golf resorts in Italy are in the Piedmont region. The Alpine valleys close to Torino – Lanzo, Susa, Chisone, Germanasca and Pellice – are ideal for both day hikes and lengthy treks, taking visitors as far as the Gran Paradiso, Italy’s oldest national park Click her to visit their website.

The Olympic Mountain Range is a lush paradise for active adventure enthusiasts and amblers, with tough rock faces for climbers. Other outdoor adventures include canoeing, rafting, hiking scenic wooded trails, lush valleys and pristine lakes. Piedmont’s dramatic wilderness also stretches far beyond the greater Torino area, with parks such as Alpe Devero inviting travelers to hike through pastures and grasslands to the Devero Lake, nestled in a mountain basin shaped by glaciers in the northern part of Piedmont, near Switzerland.

Culture and History
The Piedmont Region is the intersection of many critical moments in Western civilization and offers several museums and attractions that serve as windows to the past. Following are just a few of the cultural landmarks in the region, with their web site addresses. For a complete listing of cultural and historic landmarks in the Piedmont Region, click here.

- Egyptian Museum in Turin
- Chapel of the Holy Shroud in Turin
- The Royal Palace of Venaria
- Museum of Contemporary Art in the Castle of Rivoli, Turin
- National Cinema Museum in Turin

 

Interested in traveling to Piedmont or another region of Italy? Visit our Travel Italy page for more ideas! We'll be happy to assist you in customizing a memorable Italian vacation!

 

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