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Piemonte

An extraordinary list of attractions from lush forests to majestic mountains that encircle marvellous cities, from castles spanning every era in unique settings to trails winding through the glorious silence of the green hills. No, you’re not dreaming. This is the world that awaits you in Piedmont, a region that beckons with art, history, and unspoiled nature. Discover Turin with its celebrated museums, the residences of the Savoia royal family, including the Venaria Reale, and sacred relics such as the Shroud of Turin.

At Lake Maggiore, enjoy the charming towns nestled along the shoreline, such as Stresa and Verbania, as well as the Borromee Islands. Wander among the castles dotting the hills of The Langhe and Monferrato, areas that are particularly beautiful during the grape harvest. Don’t overlook the region’s renowned Alpine tourism, from ski resorts in Sestriere, Bardonecchia, Alagna, and Valsesia to the wild, awe-inspiring Gran Paradiso and Val Grande national parks. No matter what type of holiday you fancy, you can experience it in Piedmont.

This region has always played a central role in history as the site where many significant events have taken place and new ideas flourished. The Roman influence is well represented in Turin’s orderly, grid layout. In the 16th century, the Duke of Savoy, Emmanuel Philibert, moved the capital of the duchy here. The liberalism of statesmen Giovanni Giolitti and Luigi Einaudi arose in the 20th century in this territory. Industrial giants Fiat and Olivetti were founded in Turin. Here a variety of fields got their start: cinema, telephone, radio, television, fashion, and football. And the region also became the promised land for southern Italians seeking work. This internal migration has resulted in a marvellous blend of people, cultures, and traditions without equal in our country.

Piedmont is sweet tooth heaven with its beloved delicacies and blends of traditional recipes and reinterpretations. Gobble up Nutella, gianduiotti (chocolates made of chocolate and hazelnut cream), zabaglione, meringues, marron glacé, amaretti (almond-flavoured biscuits), and bignole, the glorious cream puffs, the royal highness of Piedmont delicacies. And this is just a sample of the culinary masterpieces whipped up in the region’s pastry shops, where the sweets of the royal court meet that of the common folk. Sophisticated and creative savoury dishes are also the norm: agnolotti (meat-filled ravioli), caponet (cabbage leaves stuffed with meat), soups, and pot roast. All of the delicious, traditional dishes feature quality ingredients combined with creativity and flair.

What’s better than spending an afternoon shopping with a break for hot chocolate and biscuits? You will love browsing (and buying) in the ceramics workshops in Mondovì and Castellamonte, the goldsmiths’ studios in Valenza Po, and the furniture makers shops in Saluzzo. Scour the local markets for one-of-a-kind finds. Turin’s historic Balon market or the antique market in Cherasco are favourites. Serious fashionistas will want to make a beeline for Serravalle in the Alessandria province. The McArthur Glen Serravalle Designer Outlet is the largest outlet not only in Italy but also Europe.

Towering, rugged mountains enclose the Piedmont region on three sides. The Po River flows alongside the gently rolling hills creating storybook landscapes. Nestled between the hills and mountains, you can explore the region’s major lakes – Maggiore, Orta, Mergozzo – and Avigliana’s two small lakes. Visitors in search of fascinating, unusual spots will fall head-over-heels in love with these lakes. And then check out the 11 valleys and many paths that once upon a time were commercial routes and the only way to reach other villages.

Italian sports took root in Piedmont. In 1844, the first sports club was founded here; in 1863, the first rowing club; in 1876, the first Milano-Torino cycling race, which still takes place today; in 1898, the first football championship. In this land of firsts, sporty types will have a hard time choosing among the mountains, rivers, natural reserves, and sporting facilities. Take your pick from Alta Val Susa and Chisone, the ski resorts that hosted the2006 Winter Olympics, or the small ski resorts in the Gran Paradiso National Park, the perfect spots for those who love skiing but also trekking among the springtime’s stunning colours and sweet smells.

In the heart of Val Bormida lies the small town of Acqui Terme. Since the second century AD, the historic centre has been the oasis for those seeking a good, healthy soak in sulphur springs. Nestled in a pristine wilderness, you can enjoy some precious moments of serenity in Crodo’s thermal baths. Imagine yourself sitting in a quaint café sipping a Crodino, the non-alcoholic bitter aperitif that bears the city’s name. How very chic! Vinadio’s thermal bath complex is one of the most beautiful spots in the Maritime Alps. It’s not unusual to see visitors neck deep in the open-air hot baths while gazing upon the snow-blanketed hills.

Turin’s Quadrilatero Romano, an ancient neighbourhood on the edge of the city’s historic centre, is a trendy meeting spot with nightclubs, wine bars, restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques open until late. Borgo Dora and San Salvario are two other historic neighbourhoods where young people gather; The Murazzi, a stretch of ancient arcades along the banks of the Po River, transform into a nightlife hub during the summer. Drink, dance, and listen to music with the water lapping nearby. Throughout the region, you will find a vast selection of events, concerts, and shows to meet your every desire.

The seven Sacri Monti (Sacred Mountains) in Piedmont are definitely worth a visit: Belmonte, Crea, Domodossola, Ghiffa, Oropa, Orta, and Varallo Sesia. Each is built around a different aspect of Christianity and often are composed of stations of the cross and chapels that lead to a sanctuary at the summit. The themes include the lives of Christ, the Virgin Mary or saints, the stations of the cross, and the mysteries of the rosary. Pilgrims flock to these holy mountains where culture and faith meet along routes alive with history, tradition, and nature.

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piemonte

Excellences of the region

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