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Italy: Piedmont Region - 7 day(s), Europe, Italy

Overview

In Piedmont, rolling countryside, sun-swept vineyards, and breezy orchards contrast beautifully with the snowcapped majesty of the Alps. A walk through this spectacular region presents medieval castles and fortified villages along with gourmet restaurants and artisanal cheese-makers—no wonder the Slow Food movement started here! Take your time savoring Piedmontese delicacies in a hands-on cooking class at a traditional farmhouse in Roero or sipping world-re­nowned vintages at the famed Marchesi di Barolo winery. Explore the 12th-century chapel of Santo Stefano in Perno, and then marvel at the colors in the surrounding hillsides, home to more than 43 different orchid varieties. Throughout this unforgett­able experience, you’ll stay in unique lodgings, including a 17th-century farmhouse, an elegantly restored villa, and a former royal estate. From a truffle hunt on the outskirts of Alba to a cheese-making demonstration in Borgomale, the good life is always only a few steps away in this less-traveled Italian destination.

What’s Included

  • 2 expert, local guides (for groups of 8 or more)
  • All meals except for one dinner; local wine included with dinners
  • All accommodations while on tour
  • Entrance fees and special events as noted on the itinerary

Dates and Pricing

Start date

End date

Duration

Price

Start date:
5/17/15
End date:
5/23/15
Duration: 7 Days
from4,698.00
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Start date:
6/7/15
End date:
6/13/15
Duration: 7 Days
from4,698.00
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Start date:
9/27/15
End date:
10/3/15
Duration: 7 Days
from4,698.00
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Start date:
10/4/15
End date:
10/10/15
Duration: 7 Days
from4,698.00
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Itinerary

Day 1 – Turin and Pollenzo
After a brief welcome meeting in Turin, you set off on a walking tour of the city known as the “Capital of the Alps.” Mid-afternoon an hour transfer brings you to the town of Pollenzo, the Italian base of the international Slow Food Movement—and your home for the first two nights of your vacation. Thecountry estate of King Carlo Alberto of Savoy has been restored into a sprawling four-star hotel with extensive grounds, outdoor swimming pool, and indoor spa. The complex also includes the University of Gastronomic Sciences, the Wine Bank, and Ristorante Guido, all of which have been conceived and developed by the Slow Food organization. Following a welcome aperitivo and tour of the Wine Bank, a short drive to the nearby town of Bra brings you to a charming restaurant that was the first on the Slow Food Movement’s list in Italy, Osteria del Boccondivino* (roughly translated as “divine mouthful”). *Depending upon availability, a comparable Slow Food restaurant may be used.
Day 2 – Montemarino to Borgomale and Roddi to Pollenzo
After a buffet breakfast, you embark upon a 45-minute minibus transfer to the trailhead. You are joined by an expert local truffle hunter who shares his secrets of hunting for the delectable mushroom. You then arrive at a renovated farmhouse above the village of Borgomale, where a boundless panorama provides inspiration to a celebrated and passionate local cheesemaker. He gives a demonstration, explanation, and a tasting of some savory cheeses. A short transfer delivers you to the start of an easy afternoon walk along the banks of the Tanaro River and parallel canals. Prior to dinner at your hotel’s restaurant, join your guide/s for a walking tour of the property and town. The menu tonight features, of course, the region’s wines and the freshest seasonal ingredients.
Day 3 – Treiso and Natural Park of the Rocche
Set off for a day of fun-filled activities. A short transfer brings you to the hilltop town of Treiso, where you set off on a two-hour morning walk. You arrive at the Rocche dei Sette Fratelli, a series of canyons resulting in a huge natural amphitheater. A short drive delivers you to the Agriturismo Casa Scaparone, located just outside the town of Alba. Today, the self-sufficient farm is home to fruit orchards, vineyards, terraced organic vegetable gardens, and a barn full of animals. A relaxing lunch here may feature homemade soup and frittatas made from the farm’s fresh vegetables. Following lunch you transfer to your home for the next two nights—a 17th-century, family-owned farmhouse, within the Natural Park of the Rocche. This evening you gather in the hotel’s dining room for an aperitivo of local wines and cured ham and cheeses, before sitting down to dinner.
Day 4 – Natural Park of the Rocche
After breakfast, you transfer to the nearby village of Montà to set out on one of several trails that make up the “ecomuseum” of the Cliffs of Roero. Setting off from the outskirts of Montà, your walk along the sandy and semi-shaded “Wolf's Trail” brings you to the home of a local beekeeper. Here you learn about the evolution of beekeeping over the centuries, how bees communicate and dance, and of course sample some honey and honey products. Transferring to the tranquil overlook at Sacro Monte dei Piloni, a picnic lunch of savory and sweet tarts and fresh fruit is unpacked. Afterwards you transfer back down to Montà for a stroll through town and refreshing gelato. You may then choose to return to your hotel by bus to relax, or to continue directly from Montà along the “Chestnut Trail,” which leads you to a perfect panoramic viewpoint over the striking Rocche hills. The path continues to Saint Nicolao, on an important bird migration route, and eventually leads you directly to your agriturismo hotel. After some time to relax and refresh, you depart for an optional hands-on cooking lesson at Il Mongalletto, a traditional Roero farmhouse. For those who choose this option, you prepare several traditional Piedmontese dishes, with the expert assistance of Il Mongalletto’s chef, and dinner (for everyone) is a festive affair featuring the fruits of your labor.
Day 5 - Diano d'Alba to Grinzane Cavour and Castiglione Falletto to Monforte d’Alba
This morning you leave the Roero and enjoy a scenic transfer into the heart of the Langhe region, the home of Barolo wine. Arriving at the village of Diano d’Alba, you set off on a trail that connects to Grinzane Cavour and offers stunning views of the Alps. Following a visit to the 13th-century castle where the famous truffle auction is held each fall, a short bus ride brings you to the village of Castiglione Falletto. Lunch awaits at a small family-run restaurant with a spectacular view over the surrounding countryside. Fortified by lunch, you continue on foot to your final destination and home for two nights—Monforte d’Alba (for those who prefer to go directly to the hotel, a minibus transfer is provided). A final climb brings you to the entrance of your historic hotel, an 18th-century villa converted into a charming hotel just outside the ancient town walls.
Day 6 – Monforte to Barolo and La Morra to Barolo
Setting off on foot from your hotel, today’s trails venture through the heart of Barolo country. From the historic center of Monforte, the panoramic path leads down the valley towards Novello, through vineyards, and on to Barolo—the town that gave its name to the world-renowned wine. Arriving at the historic Marchesi di Barolo winery, we are welcomed for a tour and tasting. During your tour you learn about the unique soil and climate and the wine’s production.
Day 7 – Alba and Turin
Your last morning in this special region includes a visit to Alba, the truffle “capital,” where the outdoor market and shops are brimming with local specialties. There is free time to browse or visit its 13th-century town hall or cathedral built over the 12th to 15th centuries, before continuing on to Turin, where you bid farewell to newfound friends.

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Member Price from $4,698
Nonmember Price from $4,798
Tour Code:
COWAIP
Main Activity:
Culinary
Other Activities:
Hiking
Nature
Sightseeing
Walking
Activity Level: ?

Suitable for most fitness levels. You’ll have to walk and maybe even do some light hiking.

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