Sitting across the Alps from Switzerland and France, the Piedmont area of Italy has been self sufficient and left to its own devices for decades, if not centuries. The Savoy family, the rulers of Italy from 1870 until abdication in 1946, hail from Piedmont, and when the rest of Italy and then the world discovered what Piedmont had to offer, it is only a matter of time before this beautiful corner of Italy became a tourist’s paradise.
Piedmont has more lakes per square foot than Tuscany, and with thick shrouds of fog constantly rolling in and rolling out, the fresh green hills combined with sparkling lakes, vineyards and the Alps in the distance make Piedmont a breathtaking area to visit. The fog that is so prevalent on the hills of Piedmont is responsible for naming the grapes grown in its vineyards. The nebbiolo, to the region’s premier grape, is named after the thick fog that separates this region from others in Italy.
To spend time in the lush surroundings of Piedmont, spend a day or two visiting Lake Maggiore. Or, you might opt for the smaller version at Lake Orta. The region is home to some of the most impressive fortresses and castles in Italy dating make to the middle ages. Be sure to arrange a tour of at least one. Finally, spend time in the capital city of Turin. The Holy Shroud is occasionally on display in the city and the Savoys’ Royal Palace is there as well. Best of all, Turin is virtually undiscovered outside of Italy, so there are very few tourists in the area.
Tourists come to the Piedmont region to sample the beauty and fine weather, but primarily they come to taste the rich local delicacies that have made the area famous. Every town in Piedmont has a wine, truffle or wild mushroom festival once a year and these festivals draw in those who love a luxurious taste.
Of course, the fine wines, truffles and other treats aren’t simply available at the festival. All year long, tourists and Italians make the trip to Piedmont to visit with the friendly locals, sample the wines made in the region, try the local cheeses and taste the rich meat dishes the area is known for. In a country where meat is often not on the menu, the fine dishes in Piedmont are especially enticing.