WALKING IN PIEDMONT’S WINE COUNTRY
“Those who come to the Langhe (…) are seduced and sometimes irrevocably won by the beauty of its landscape, the ancient grace of its towns and the modus vivendi of its people, firmly determined, yet ever ready to grasp the flower of happiness with an unexpectedly gentle hand.”
Indulge yourself in a true holiday for the senses in the Langhe, Piedmont’s wine country, universally recognized as one of the most beautiful places in Italy. In 2014, it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it constitutes an outstanding example of man’s interaction with his natural environment. It provide an extraordinary living testimony to winegrowing and winemaking traditions that stem from a long history, and it bears witness to a sustainable economic structures. [UNESCO World Heritage Site]. Here is where gastronomy, wine, hazelnuts, chocolate, and truffles set the rules.
The Langhe are a magical land of vast horizons, where ancient castles and hilltop towns crown the gentle slopes of vineyards. A spellbinding place, it played a major role during the Italian Resistance, and it is the setting for famous novels of local writers such as Beppe Fenoglio and Cesare Pavese. Here, one can still appreciate the authentic Italian flavor, exceptional gourmet food, extraordinary wines, and the heartfelt traditions and culture. Walking on hilly terrain and on a combination of quiet paved country roads, farm paths, and tractor tracks through vineyards, we wander from one village to another, enjoying splendid panoramas over the Alps and the Italian Riviera.
Visits to medieval castles, fortresses, and enchanting stone hamlets introduce us to a rich and complex history. We will have an exclusive visit to a family-run hazelnut farm and savour the simple but extraordinary regional cuisine at traditional restaurants, recognized by the SlowFood movement for their commitment to sustainable farming and agriculture [www.slowfood.com]. Spanning from the delicious “tajerin”, homemade egg pasta, to mouth-watering desserts, made with the “tonda e gentile”, the celebrated hazelnut of Langhe, the experience is certainly a feast for the senses. Boutique cantinas and renowned wine cellars will introduce us to renowned wines such as Barolo, Barbaresco, and Barbera. We conclude the tour in Turin, a beautiful and elegant city of Roman origins, cradle of the Italian Risorgimento, and first capital of Italy.
DAY BY DAY
Day 1 Pollenzo – Cherasco
After your arrival at Turin Airport, we make our way to Pollenzo. Founded by the Romans in the second century B.C., it is a site of extreme archaeological and historical interest. It is home to the University of Gastronomic Sciences and the Wine Bank. We visit the small town, built on the remains of the Roman amphitheatre, and the Wine Bank. A guided tour introduces us to Cherasco, officially founded in 1243, and its exquisite historical centre with numerous medieval buildings and baroque residences with frescoed interiors. We will make a mandatory stop at an artisanal chocolate shop, where you can taste and buy the famous “Baci di Cherasco”, clusters of hazelnuts covered with dark chocolate, as well as a wide variety of other exquisite chocolates.
Day 2 La Morra – Vergne – Novello – Barolo
At 513 m/1683 ft. in elevation, and located in the heart of wine country, La Morra is the highest hilltop town in the area. We walk to Vergne, whose houses are decorated with murals made by local artists, and where a local welcomes us in her home for a refreshing drink. Continuing through wheat fields, hazelnut orchards, and vineyards we reach Novello, a quaint village perched at the edge of a hill, founded by the Romans in the first century B.C. After a light lunch accompanied by some local wine, another hour of walking brings us to Barolo where we will take a guided tour of a historical wine cellar followed by a wine tasting.
Day 3 Neive – Barbaresco – Alba
Neive, in the Barbaresco region, is one of “Borghi più Belli d’Italia” [www.borghipiubelliditalia.it], a club frounded in 2001 to preserve and re-vitalize small Italian hamlets of artistic and historic interest. Generally off the main touristic circuit, these hamlets are at risk of being “forgotten”, leading to degradation, depopulation and/or abandonment. Neive was a possession of a noble Roman family, to whom it owes its name, but its origins date as far back as the Neolithic times. We hike through vineyards of Nebbiolo grapes and reach the town of Barbaresco, where we stroll through the quaint and charming town. We enjoy a guided tour of the charming, historic town of Alba. Founded in 89 B.C. by Gneo Pompeo, Alba is the capital of the Langhe. The town is famous for the white truffle, and it hosts the International Truffle Festival, which attracts visitors from all over. Known as the “town of the 100 towers”, and it held a strategic role during the Italian Resistance, helping pave the way for the liberation of Italy from fascism.
Day 4 Monforte d’Alba – Serralunga
Of ancient origins, in 1028 Monforte was seized by the army of the Archbishop of Milan, in an effort to crush the religious group of the Cathars’, considered heretics, whose origins and faith are controversial and yet to be determined for certain. From Monforte, we hike to Serralunga, along panoramic ridges, through oak and poplar forests, hazelnut orchards and vineyards. We take in wonderful views of this exquisite medieval town and the slender silhouette of its castle, a true “Medieval skyscraper”. We visit the thirteenth-century castle, a magnificent example of medieval architecture, one of the most-well preserved castles in Piedmont, and the most important from an architectural and historical standpoint.
Day 5, 6 Alta Langa
Two memorable days in Alta Langa (high langa), also known as Langa of the Valleys, due to the three deep valleys that form its territory. We’ll explore each valley, walking through hazelnut orchards and forests, with formidable balcony views over deep valleys, the Maritime Alps and the Italian Riviera. This pristine area, which played a major role during the Italian Resistance in World War II, and was the setting for several famous local literary pieces, has maintained its true and authentic characteristics. We walk throught stone villages that seem suspended in time, to the formidable 10th century fortress of Prunetto. On an exclusive visit to a hazelnut farm, we will enjoy the “Tonda e Gentile”, the famous and respected hazelnut of Piedmont, ingredient par excellence in most of the local desserts.
Day 7 Turin
Cradle of the Risorgimento, this elegant baroque city had a critical role in the unification of Italy under the House of Savoy, which established it as first capital of the Italian Kingdom in 1861. We visit its elegant historical centre, with the Royal Palace, Palazzo Madama, the first Senate of the Italian Kingdom, and the Cathedral, which houses the Holy Shroud. Turin is also renowned for its outstanding museums, such as the largest Egyptian museum outside of Cairo and the Museum of Italian Cinema, as well as for its historical cafès and arcaded streets. Built over many years upon the will of the Savoy family, the arcades reach a length of eighteen kilometres. They had a dual function: to enhance the look of the historical centre and to protect royal members from the rain.
Day 8 Departure
Typically, trip participants leave for various destinations at the end of the tour. For this reason, there is no official group transfer from Torino. If you are returning Turin Caselle Airport, public buses leave regularly from the center of town. You may also connect to the train of your choice from Torino’s main train station.
From Euros 2950 per person.
Euros 450 | Single supplement.
Prices are quoted in Euros and based on double occupancy.
What Is Included:
Airport transfer on Day 1.
Private vehicle with driver as specified in the itinerary.
English-speaking guide for the duration of the trip.
Guide’s accommodation, meals and expenses while with clients.
All guided tours with licensed guide, as mentioned in the itinerary.
Seven nights in double accommodations in 4-star hotels.
All tourist taxes.
Exclusive visit of hazelnut farm.
Seven breakfasts, six lunches, five dinners.
Water and coffee/tea with your group meals at hotels/restaurants.
Wine tasting as per itinerary.
Private and public transportation, as per itinerary.
Entrance fees to museums/points of interest and activities as specified in the itinerary.
Gratuities to porters, drivers, and at restaurants.
What Is Not Included:
Airport transfer on Day 8.
Two dinners, one lunch.
Truffles with meals*.
Any insurance (trip cancellation, baggage loss, rescue/evacuation, medical, etc.).
Additional expenses due to unexpected changes to the itinerary, or added activities.
Wine tasting other than what specified in the itinerary.
Personal expenses (laundry, sodas or alcoholic beverages, telephone calls, etc.).
Anything else not mentioned in “What’s Included in the Price of the Trip”.
Unused transportation during the tour will not be reimbursed.
* The cuisine of Piedmont and, specifically, of the Langhe region, which we will visit, makes the white truffle the main protagonist of each meal. Usually, restaurants offer dishes with white truffles only during truffle season, which is in late autumn. However, other types of truffles can be found even earlier in the year. Due to the high fluctuation in the cost, which can range from Euros 2000 to Euros 5000 per Kg., we opt not to include it in any of the meals on this tour, as we cannot have an idea, at the moment, of what the prices will be in 2017.
TRIP DATES & DETAILS
2017 Dates: July 25 – August 1
Season: April – October
Trip Length: 8 days
Trip Activity [more details]:
Walking | Hiking
History | Culture
Scenery | Flora | Fauna
Gastronomy | Wine
Trip Rating [more details]: easy to moderate
The Guide [more details]:
The guide(s) will be confirmed about thirty days prior to the beginning of the trip.
ACCOMODATIONS & MEALS
Breakfasts – They consist of a generous spread of meats, cheeses, fruit, yogurt, juice, cereal, fresh bread, and other baked goods, accompanied by coffee or tea.
Lunches – On most days, we have a light lunch at traditional, family-run restaurants. On one day, we enjoy a picnic consisting of local meats, cheese, at least one vegetable, freshly baked bread, and other delicacies.
Dinners – Except for one night, when we dine at one of the hotel’s star-Michelin restaurant, we eat at traditional restaurants recognized by the SlowFood movement [www.slowfood.com] for their commitment to sustainable farming and agriculture. All restaurants reflect the traditional cuisine of the region, revisited in different ways. To allow some private down time, or a break from a week of enogastronomic experience, two dinners are not included.