PIEDMONT - Fog-shrouded Hills, Truffles and Noble Wines at the Foot of the Western Alps
Turino, Alba, The Piedmont wine road: Barbaresco and Barolo, Orta San Giulio, Stresa on Lake Maggiore, the Borromean IslandsandMilan
The highly anticipated harvest followed by truffle season makes November a perfect time to go to Piedmont.
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Day 1 – Arrive in Turin The Royal City of Turin (or Torino) is considered one of the most elegant and beautiful in Europe. It is compact yet bustling modern city with impressive historic buildings, excellent restaurants and stunning views of the Alps. You'll be transferred from the airport to our hotel and enjoy an afternoon orientation by your Tour Director.
Tonight: Included Welcome Dinner Overnight in Torino, 2 nights.
Day 2 – A Day in Turin This morning we’ll meet our local guide for walking tour and learn about the city’s history, culture, and quirks. We'll venture into the old Roman Quadrilateral, an ancient enclave where the original city walls and gate can be seen, and stroll through Piazza Castello, home to Turin Cathedral and the Palazzo Reale for an unparalleled glimpse into royal life during the Savoy Dynasty. The last stop on our tour will be at the impressive Porta Palazzo open-air market, the largest-open air market in Europe where you can snack on salumi and gourmet cheeses, or sit down for lunch at one of the artisan eateries.
Lunch and the afternoon are yours to enjoy.Think about: • The Cinema Museum for a a peek into Italian motion picture history. • The Egyptian Museum, considered the second-best collection of Egyptian artifacts in the world (after the Egyptian Museum in Cairo). • Taking a stroll along the Po River through the scenic Parco del Valentino.
Day 3 – To Alba, the City of a Hundred Medieval Towers The city of Alba is located in the Langhe Valley, a little over an hour’s drive (southeast) from Turin in the heart of Piedmont wine country. It is the perfect walkable, picturesque Italian city. You don’t have to spend many hours in this town to realize that here, it's all about food, especially truffles, chocolate and wine. It's where Ferrero Rocher and Nutella came from. The decadent chocolate hazelnut Gianduia dessert was invented here. And the city hosts the famous truffle fair between mid-October and November. We'll enjoy a relaxing day exploring this lovely town.
Tonight: Included dinner. Overnight in Alba, 3 nights
Day 4 – Piedmont Cuisine and Cooking You'll have the morning to enjoy Alba at your leisure. This afternoon we'll explore the rich culinary heritage of Alba. In Chef Stefano's busy kitchen, every plate and dish produced tells a story about Alba and Piedmont. We'll roll up our sleeves and cook in the luxurious ambiance of the renovated castle overlooking the nearby Valley del Tanaro and enjoy the fruits of our labor as the sun sets over the Langhe Valley. Overnight in Alba
Day 5 - To the Wine Country, Part Uno - Barbaresco Just 20 minutes from the world-renowned wine regions and villages of Barolo and Barbaresco, Alba is the perfect base for exploring Piedmont’s wine country. We'll spend the day at the area's best wineries enjoying Barbaresco wines. This strong red wine with complex notes is made from the Nebbiolo grape. One of the little known secrets of the southwest corner of Piedmont is the Roero. It sits just across the Tanaro River from Barbaresco. The region was once covered in ocean, so the soil remains rich in sand and even fossils. This gives their Nebbiolo-based wines even more elegance and finesse,
"But I like beer!" Nessun problema! Piedmont has become the center of an extraordinarily eclectic, ambitious Italian craft-brewing scene. Italian brewers are making some of the most exciting beers in the world right now, Wine, beer ... or both: we can plan your day around your tastes. Tonight: Dinner on your own Overnight in Alba
Day 6 - To the Wine Country, Part Due - Barolo and then on to Lake Orta We'll say "Ciao!" to Alba and head to the eastern wine road with a morning stop in the charming town of Barolo. We'll make a stop at a castle wine museum and tasting room where we'll try a variety of wines from the Piedmont region. You'll have some time to wander through the little streets of the historic center and visit the shops. We're then on to a very special included lunch, which of course, will come with a variety of Barberas and Nebbiolos. We'll also sample some Dolcettos (not sweet, despite the name), and on the white side, Arneis, Erbaluces, Moscatos Bianco (sparkling!), and Gavis, which are made from Cortese grapes. After lunch, take a well-deserved snooze on the motor coach as we travel northward to Lake Orta and the town of Orta San Giulio. The village is a maze of picturesque streets and narrow cobbled lanes, flanked by old stone walls, craft boutiques, antique shops and lively cafés. The town is small and intimate, so you'll have the evening on your own.
Overnight in Orta San Giulio
Day 7 - A Day in Orta San Giulio The day is yours to spend as you wish. You can shop for ceramics, antiques and local gastronomic specialties, or perhaps take a row boat out on the lake.
In the middle of the lake, right in front of Orta, lies San Giulio, an enchanting island which houses the basilica of San Giulio and several colorful villas surrounded by bougainvillea. You can take the ferry and take a meditative route that goes around the island. Called the “way of silence and meditation”, it is an evocative blend of spirituality and architecture.
You can also hike the hillside above Orta, following the path over the Sacro Monte. This is a sacred walk is an extraordinary synthesis of architecture, sculpture and art, punctuated by twenty chapels dedicated to the life of St. Francis.
Tonight: Included dinner Overnight in Orta San Giulio
Day 8 - To Stresa on Lake Maggiore Lake Maggiore borders both Lombardy (on the east shore), Piedmont (on the west shore), and straddles the Swiss-Italian border. On its shores sits the town of Stresa. Enroute, we'll stop Verbania and to visit Villa Taranto, one of the most important botanic gardens in the world, with thousands of species of trees and flowers from all over the world,
Tonight: Included dinner in Stresa Overnight in Stresa
Day 9 - A Day on the Borromean Islands Bella (beautiful), Pescatore (fisherman) and Madre (mother). These three islands on Lake Maggiore were named after the aristocratic Borromean family—art and garden lovers—who bought the land in the 16th century and transformed two of them into luxury residences. Today, we'll travel by ferry. We'll begin our day at Isola Bella with a visit to the Baroque Palazzo Borromeo to tour the opulent rooms filled with 15th-century art, intricate tile work and beautiful frescoes. We'll finish in the gardens before we hop the ferry to Isola Pescatori, also known as Isola Superiore, the northernmost island of the three. It’s a beautiful little fishing village where we'll have lunch. (not included) Those naturalists among us can continue on to Isola Madre, and tour the English-style Giardini Botanici dell’Isola Madre: seven terraces include cypress trees, camellias, rhododendrons, plus a wild community of peacocks, pheasants and parrots,
Tonight: Included Farewell Dinner in Stresa Overnight in Stresa
Day 10 - Transfers to Milan Malpensa Airport for flights out.
or join us for and extra day in Milan When we arrive in Milan, we'll drop our bags at the hotel and meet our guide for our tour, including reserved timed admissions to the Scala Opera House and the Last Supper. Discover how business and history blend together in Milan. We'll begin our tour at the Piazza del Duomo, including a skip the line ticket to the roof. Just across the square is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, one of the most beautiful covered gallerias in the world. Begun in 1865, it was the first to make use of an iron glass structure. We’ll then visit La Scala opera house, the most famous theatre hall in the world. After lunch (not included), we're on to see Leonardo’s masterpiece, The Last Supper, painted in the refectory of the Santa Maria Delle Grazie church. The church and adjoining refectory were badly damaged in World War II, and during the repair work, old sgraffito paintings in the dome were brought to light.
Tonight: Included dinner in Milan Overnight in Milan
Day 11 - Transfers to Milan Malpensa Airport for flights out.