Piedmont borders on Switzerland to the North, France to the West, Valle d'Aosta to the North-West, Lombardy to the East, Emilia Romagna to the South-East and Liguria to the South. It extends over a surface of 25.399 square kilometres. It is divided into 6 provinces - Alessandria, Asti, Cuneo, Novara-Verbania, Torino, Vercelli-Biella. the Regional Administrative Centre is Torino.
|Piedmont boasts big itineraries in nature, culture, arts, history, excellent wines, gastronomy. Go to Piedmont for skiing, for visiting castels, thermae and sweet hills. Go to Piedmont for visiting a friendly and generous land. Just for a few hours or for long and unforgettable holidays. Piedmont: a land full of many good reasons for coming back!
PIEDMONT - NATURE
For the past few years the matters concerning nature and environment preservation have been of outmost importance. It is not new to Piedmont since in the past century, this region has set up a reserve in the Gran Paradiso to protect the flora and fauna typical of this land. For that this region established a provision that placed it ahead of its time. Gran Paradiso National Park, a part of which is located in Piedmont, lives up to its name. These same sensations are offered by the vegetation of any other park of Piedmont, which are real nature museum: one can admire animals which seem impossible to admire at such a close range, flourishing flowers and plants which give off unusual perfumes. Everything is pervaded by a sense of order and cleanliness. Every part of the region is concerned with environment preservation and this can be discovered by looking around it: limpid waters of the many rivers and streams, the big cultivated plots of land, the colourful orchards, the regular poplar grove following the river flow, the geometrical mirror-like surface of rice-fields and the perfect integration of the constructions made by men into the countryside. Man and nature: an indissoluble link which, in Piedmont, has deep roots and that the whole region is ready to foster for those who wish to experiment it on the occasions offered by the experience of a farm holiday. Environment respect and preservation mean love for life in every aspect, even the daily ones. Alimentation, for example, comes from nature: Piedmont submits many products to special care in order to keep their traditional features unaltered. Some examples are C.D.O. (Controlled Denomination of Origin) meat and cheese as well as sausages, marmalades and strong wines like the Nebbiolo and the Barbera.
PIEDMONT - MOUNTAINS
A good 550 Km of chains of mountains surround Piedmont to the south, west and north. Among the most famous massives there are Argentera, Monviso, Rocciamelone, Gran Paradiso, Rose. It is almost inevitable that mountains in Piedmont remind people skiing under the hot sun of clear winter days, but succeeding in being astonishing also in every period of the year. Snow sports, particularly in winter, are the main attraction, but another attractive sport is conquering mountains peaks. In fact, for some time, Piedmont rock walls have been a sort of test for alpinists' skillness. Other sports practised in this region are skiing-alpinism, trekking, mountain bike, hang gliding, etc. Often mountain valleys were found to be ideal places for preserving peculiar traditions. In Piedmont mountain areas today carry the signs of ancient stories still intact. Some examples are the ancient or perhaps even pagan origins of Venaus and Giaglione (Val Susa) "broadsworders" (spadonari) rite. Or the more recent (even though pluri-secular) origins of Sampeyre "Baio", a quinquennial tribute offered by Val Varaita (Cuneo province) Provençals in memory of their ancestors who drove out the Saracens. Then there is Walze's fascinating Ethnic group, a German-language minority inhabiting some minor small valleys in the upper Val Sesia (Vercelli province). In addition, traditions brought us craftsmanship examples of absolute value: Val Sesia and Val Varaita Venetian needlepoint-made laces. The same manual skill can be found in gastronomy: the rare and prestigious CDO cheese Castelmagno and the as much prized Raschera del Monregalese, a fine and spicy cheese, can testify to it.
PIEDMONT - HILLS (LANGHE AND MONFERRATO)
Piedmont offers the advantage of alternating pleasantly sweet slopes and little upland plains. Here hills are mainly the Langhe and Monferrato: two regions with different geomorphological conformation, linked by many natural riches. First of all the good soil and its products that, with a mild climate and an excellent position, have been favouring the developing of small feuds and seigneuries from the Middle Ages, testified by the presence of tens of castles, which still today constitute a touristic attraction that is rare to the point of being unique. In the Langhe as well as in Monferrato, wine production succeeded in preserving and increasing its qualitative level to the point of making this promontory popular all over the world. For example, those who arrive here for a farm holiday can join interesting enogastronomic amusements, following planned courses - like Wines Roads - or simply improvising, being sure that whatever found here will not disappoint them. Piedmont, above all with respect to wine wealth preservation, has made a considerable effort in the Langhe and Monferrato, realizing as much as 7 out of the 8 cellars: Acquiterme, Costigliole d'Asti, Vignale for the great wines of the upper and lower Monferrato; Barbaresco, Barolo, Grinzane and Mango to propose the best of the Langhe. And if tasting whets the appetite, this is not a problem: it will not be difficult to find here an elegant or unsophisticated restaurant able to offer skillfully the specialities of such a high-level typical cooking where the King of the Langhe, the truffle, will lord it. Indeed the real truffle is right here.
PIEDMONT - LAKES
Knowing Piedmont through its lakes means discovering a region rich in this not merely scenic source. Lake Maggiore and Lake D'Orta have been lucky to have an élite tourism for centuries. Towards west (più a occidente) there are the lakes of Viverone, Candia and Avigliana: perhaps a minor glory, but with the fascination of beauties which are partly still to be discovered. These lovely mirro-like lakes constitute a very attractive invitation for people fond of nautical sports: windsurf, rowing, sailing and water skiing are sports widely practised on our lakes. On the other side, the sweet slopes surrounding the lakes are for people keen on golf and horseback riding - these two sports fit well to the relaxing atmosphere created by the landscape. The lakes and their surroundings have always been areas selected by men for settling: this is testified by numerous historical and artistic buildings such as S. Michael's Sacra and Ranverso Abbey, near Avigliana, which are among the most important monuments of Italian medieval religious architecture; Mongivetto Castle overlooking Lake Candia. Borromeo Palace is the most popular artistic attraction of Lake Maggiore and with its gardens fills the "Isola Bella" (Beautiful Island) with colours - this island, together with "Isola Madre" and the Fishermen's Isle, constitutes the little archipelago of the Borromeo Islands. Again on Lake Maggiore, the Malpaga Castles ruins at Cànnero remind us of remote times and the Isle of S. Giulio, on Lake D'Orta, is charming also thanks to its interesting basilica, whose foundation dates back to the IV century.
PIEDMONT - TOWNS
One of the most interesting features of Piedmont are cities: first of all Turin and the five other capitals of province, but also many other urban centres which maintain the history, the features and above all the spirit of the cities compared to which they are only apparently minor. If Turin boasts the attractions typical of a big metropolis though keeping its human aspects, Alessandria, Asti, Cuneo, Novara and Vercelli can represent an ideal fusion of ancient and modern elements, perfectly developing the role of cities promoting initiatives which involve the whole province, though maintaining its peculiarities. Alba, Biella, Bra, Casale Monferrato, Mondovì, Saluzzo and many other towns are the heritage of ancient dukedoms and marquisate, small capitals which, with the passing of time kept their function of vital datum point for the surroundings, defending it proudly, always being in step with the times but in an everyday occurrence made of man-size rhythms. No town in Piedmont misses those features which make a urban centre a fine place where to live, not just for its inhabitants but also for being surely interesting to people who want to experience the ever constructive urban tourism: an artistic heritage consisting of squares, porticoes and monuments, green areas, characteristical shops and restaurants, craftsmanship and exhibition proposals, cultural events..... There is always something new to be discovered, something ancient to remember. And above all the discreet and reserved hospitality the Piedmontese are proud of and that tourists greatfully acknowledge.