Our territory

PIEDMONT. The name of the Region appears to describe the main geographical feature of this territory, meaning “at the foot of the mountains" (piede + monte in Italian), however the landscape can change rapidly within a few kilometers.

There is the alpine territory, with high peaks such as the Monviso and the Monte Rosa. Mountain lovers will be spoilt for choice both in the winter and in the summer. There is also the hilly Piedmont of the Langhe and Monferrato areas, well known for food and wine tourism, including the celebrated wines Barolo, Barbaresco and spumante, and the sought-after white truffle, that attracts gourmets from all over the world.
In the Northeastern Piedmont there are lakes, the Lago Maggiore and the Lago d’Orta, and along them so many romantic places for a relaxing stay. Last but not least, Piedmont was the cradle of the unification of Italy, and its main city Turin was the first capital of the country. In fact the whole region is incredibly rich in art and culture.

Turin and its Province

It is advisable to spend more than a day to discover the city. The classical walking tour takes you to the ancient Roman remains, such as the gate Porta Palatina and then to many imposing Baroque buildings: the Royal Palace, for centuries the residence of the House of Savoy, the San Lorenzo Church, a 17th century masterpiece conceived by the architect Guarino Guarini. Of great importance is the Palazzo Madama with its grand staircase designed by the architect Filippo Juvarra.

The tour continues on to Via Roma with its Baroque Piazza San Carlo, at the centre of which rises “L Caval 'd Brons”, an equestrian monument representing Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, the duke who made Turin the capital of the Duchy of Savoy in 1563.

You can proceed to Piazza Carignano, to admire the Palazzo Carignano by Guarino Guarini, where the first king of Italy was born and where the first Italian Parliament was based.

A lot of visitors come to Turin also to see the place where the Holy Shroud is kept, in the cathedral dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, the only example of Renaissance architecture in Turin.

The city boasts many interesting Museums: the Egyptian collection, second only to the Cairo Museum; the Cinema Museum, located in the iconic building of Turin (the Mole Antonelliana), or the entertaining brand-new Automobile Museum.

In addition, the former venues of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games can be seen and also some examples of 'industrial archaeology', such as the former plant of FIAT Lingotto, reshaped by Renzo Piano in the 1990s to become a cultural center. In the same area you can enjoy the abundance at EATALY, a temple of delicacies promoted by the Slow Food Movement.

Turin provides a good base for a huge variety of daytrips. Here are some suggestions:

  • The hunting lodges of Venaria Reale and Stupinigi, both awarded world heritage status by Unesco in 1997
  • In the Susa Valley the Abbey of San Michele, set at the top of the Mount Pirchiriano, and the gothic complex of S. Antonio of Ranverso with frescoes dating back to the 15th A.D.
  • The Canavese District and its main city Ivrea, seat of the Olivetti Foundation and where a curious historical carnival takes place every year, including a battle with oranges! Also in this area there are some castles to visit, such as Masino and Agliè

Cuneo and its Province

Known as the “Provincia Granda” (literally, the Big Province), because of its size, the Province of Cuneo is a land rich in art, culture and history.

The Castle of Racconigi, one of the former summer residences of the House of Savoy, is one the most appreciated by the visitors, because the rooms still breath history, since the residence was used up until the 1940s by the Royal family. In the year 2010 the park of the castle was prized as the most beautiful park of Italy.

Not far away from Racconigi, there is one of the most prominent abbeys of Piedmont: Staffarda. The complex was founded in the 12th C. and was widened several times. It represents a distinctive example of the piedmontese Gothic.

Worth visiting are the cities of Saluzzo, with its Cathedral and the San Giovanni Church; Cuneo, of triangular shape, full of porticoes and historical shops; Mondovì and the Sanctuary of Vicoforte.

The Cuneo Province is rich in 14th-Century’s frescoes, such as those of the Manta Castle, or those in the remote chapels of Elva and Macrà.

The Langhe’s landscape is marvellous, characterised by hills covered by the nebbiolo vineyards. After visiting the renowned cellars, it is advisable to walk along the streets of Alba and Cherasco, rich in artistic heritage, both from the Middle Ages and the Baroque period.

In the castle of Grinzane Cavour, an impressive imposing monument, is based the Enoteca Regionale, where you can try all the great wines of the region, while the University of Gastronomic Sciences is in Pollenzo.


Asti and its Province

Known all over the world because of its sparkling wine, the Spumante, Asti boasts a rich artistic heritage. The imposing Cathedral, dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption and to Saint Gothard, is one of the most important brick, Gothic building in Piedmont. Among the main sights there is also the Collegiata di San Secondo (13th Century) whose name refers to Secundus of Asti, the city's patron saint. The façade has three notable Gothic portals, while the interior houses a remarkable polyptych by Gandolfino d'Asti.

Every year in Asti on the 3rd Sunday of September takes place the famous Palio, in which all the old town wards, called "Rioni" and "Borghi" plus nearby towns compete in a bareback horse race. Asti's Palio is the oldest recorded one in Italy. The race is preceded by a colorful, medieval pageant through the old town.

The area around Asti, called Monferrato, forms a spectacular expanse of rolling hills, marked by a succession of vineyards. Together with the Langhe and Roero areas the Monferrato was nominated to be in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

An important stop for religious tourism is the Colle Don Bosco, where Don Bosco, the founder of Salesian Society, was born. Also worth visiting the Romanesque Abbey of Vezzolano, set in an enchanting rural landscape.


The Sacro Monte of Varallo

The founder was Bernardino Caimi, a friar from Milan, who lived in Palestine for a long time. In the 15th Century it was dangerous for pilgrims to go to Palestine because of the Turkish-Christian war. For this reason, returning to Italy, he decided to build in Varallo a new Holy Land. The complex is made up of 44 chapels recalling episodes of Jesus’ life.

Construction and decoration, with a huge number of eye-catching paintings and sculptures, lasted around two Centuries. Remarkable artists such as Gaudenzio Ferrari, Morazzone, Giovanni d’Enrico and his brother Antonio, known as Tanzio da Varallo, were involved in the project.


The Lake District

The Lago Maggiore was in the past the holiday destination for fashionable circles. The three Borromeo Islands in the middle of the lake are of rare beauty: the Isola bella with its Baroque gardens commissioned by Carlo III Borromeo for his beloved wife, the Isola Madre with its elegant palace and a marvellous botanic garden, and the Isola dei Pescatori ( literally, the Island of the fishermen), a quaint place where to enjoy a romantic dinner.

In Arona it is possible to climb inside the colossal statue dedicated to Saint Carlo Borromeo, also known as San Carlone (the big … well, huge Carlo!). If you are not afraid of heights, from there you can admire the wonderful scenery, facing the lake.

Not to be missed is a visit to Stresa, one of the stops of the Grand Tour, described by writers like Stendhal, Charles Dickens, Lord Byron and Ernest Hemingway.

The Orta Lake is smaller but absolutely worth seeing. Two most characterful places are the village of Orta at the shore of the lake and the little Island San Giulio.