5 reasons to include lower piedmont as a destination during your italian holiday
Try to imagine a place where the food is tasty, where old traditions are still important, where the pace of life is slow and people are friendly.
Now, try to imagine all of this surrounded by beautiful hills, mountains, lakes and rivers. Places where nature is still wild and untouched.
These places are the hidden gems of Italy.
We all agree that if you are planning a visit to Italy, you can’t miss the main cities like Milan, Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples etc.. but we highly recommend that every tourist spend a few days in a rural area to truly experience the real Italy.
Rural areas are perfect if you want to avoid tourists scams, overpriced restaurants and hotels and if you want to connect with the locals for an authentic experience.
One of the most appreciated among these enchanted places is Lower Piedmont, an extended area that is still undiscovered by mass tourism and easy to reach.
But what makes this area so special? Why should every tourist passing through Italy stop there for few days?
Here are 5 answers to all these questions.
1. Easy to reach
The territory is in the middle of an imaginary triangle that consist of Milan, Genoa and Turin and it is just one hour from these cities.
You can get there by car, driving on one of the principal italian highway, the A4 Milano-Genova, or, if you prefer, there are trains that leave every hour from the main cities. You don’t have to change your entire itinerary to get there, you just need to jump on a Frecciarossa train and enjoy a couple of days (or even more, why not?) in this beautiful territory.
The main cities to start your trip on Lower Piedmont are the following:
- Langhe Valley- Alba, Barolo, Barbaresco
- Roero Valley– Cuneo, Bra
- Monferrato Valley – Casale Monferrato, Asti, Acqui Terme
- Gavi Valley – Gavi, Novi Ligure, Ovada
- Colli Tortonesi Valley – Tortona, Alessandria
Bonus: Italy is also famous for its designers and for the fashion industry that is well appreciated all over the world. So, why not dedicate a day to go shopping?
In the middle of the Lower Piedmont territory, you can find Europe’s largest outlet, the Serravalle Designer Outlet.
Serravalle Designer Outlet is the largest Outlet in Italy and Europe: with a splendid architectural setting, bars and restaurants, a children’s play area, and convenient free parking and more than 300 fashion brands, there is always something special for everyone.
Here you can find brands like Gucci, Prada, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, sportswear brands, like Nike and Adidas, and many other famous brands, like Levi’s and Converse.
2. Wine paradise
When you say Italy, you say wine.
Lower Piedmont is considered Italy’s greatest single wine region and there you will be able to taste some of the most incredible wines directly in the vineyards and in the wine cellars where they are produced while chatting with the local winegrowers.
From the world famous Barolo to the rising star Derthona Timorasso, from the unique Nebbiolo and Barbaresco to the Barbera, Cortese, Gavi, Dolcetto and many more, you will taste and learn how each wine is produced.
If you like wine, than this is the place to be.
3. Breathtaking panoramas
Enchanting little villages, picturesque hills, perfect geometrical vineyards, castles and historical ruins.
No, it’s not the description of a famous italian painting, this is the landscape in Lower Piedmont.
In fact, this is a land with a lot of diversity and all the areas are unique and different from each other and they can satisfy all the tastes of the travelers.
This area is included in the provinces of Cuneo and Asti. Their landscape is specialized above all by vast expanses of vineyards as far as the eye can see. They are studded with castles and fortresses from the families who inhabited these lands since the Middle Ages.
Roero is characterized by a sandy soil that allows, not only the production of wines such as the Roero Rosso or the white wine La Favorita, but also for their excellent food products, such as peaches or strawberries. In these lands, there are also various castles of the feudal past, which in modern times, have been transformed into elegant residences.
Monferrato is included in the provinces of Asti and Alessandria. The earth here is calcareous and sandy and looms in gentle hills that are partly cultivated and partly wooded.
Of ancient origins, the region participated as a marquisate of the Monferrato to medieval struggles. Only later, in the eighteenth century, the Savioas managed to include the region in the Savoy kingdom.
It is precisely here, where the Apennines mountain ends and the hills begin, rich in vineyards alternating with woods and clear rivers that fade towards the plain, which begins the discovery of this marvelous territory sprinkled with small towns steeped in history.
The naturalistic tourism shifts between wooded areas and uncontaminated lakes like those of Lavagnina and Gorzente immersed in the Park of Capanne di Marcarolo.
For centuries, the predominant activity on the Colli Tortonesi has been agriculture. A rural world still deeply rooted in the rhythms and values of the countryside.
The changing of the seasons, the times of sowing and harvesting, are part of a traditional knowledge that is preserved over the generations.
Here you can find more than tasty food and good wine.
Tortona is an area rich in history, culture, natural beauty and art in which all the traditions of four Italian regions are founded.
Throughout the territory, you can find the tangible signs of this heritage that must be sought out and discovered along its valleys while visiting its ancient villages situated on the hills.
4. Delicious, authentic food
You can’t say that you have been in a place if you haven’t tried local food.
Lower Piedmont is not only an area rich in things to see as we stated above (breathtaking natural landscapes, historic homes, palaces, museums, works of art and much more), but also a place where you can find amazing things to eat.
From a gastronomic point of view, the Piedmont region is one of the richest and most varied in Italy: meat, vegetables, cheeses, pasta, truffles and then of course its incredible wines, the flagship of the Italian wine tradition.
All of these typical products, combined in hundreds of different recipes, make Lower Piedmont cuisine exquisite and unique.
This is a cuisine of ancient tradition that over the years, has managed to preserve its hybrid character, of high-class culinary art combined with sometimes rough flavors, typical of rural civilization.
Noble and poor recipes chase each other and mix seamlessly; they contaminate each other giving life to one of the most eccentric food and wine proposals in Italy.
5. Bicycle heaven
Once you will arrive in Lower Piedmont, you can choose between hundreds of activities to discover the territory; but the most enjoyable is to ride a bicycle (or an e-bike) so you can enjoy the stunning views and quaint italian villages while calmly pedaling along sweet and scenic hills.
Lower Piedmont is mostly a hilly territory, it offers not only breathtaking landscapes but also really challenging routes where the most advanced cyclists can test their abilities.
This area has a natural vocation for cycling. Both Fausto Coppi and Costante Girardengo, the greatest italian cyclists of all times were born in this area. In the small town of Novi Ligure, you will find the largest European museum, dedicated to Coppi and Giardengo and to the bicycle culture, that showcases the history and myths of cycling.
In Lower Piedmont, the roads chase each other between the plains and hills with ups and downs, breathtaking views, perfect geometrical vineyards, woods and cultivated fields.
So, is Lower Piedmont a place just for professional cyclist or very well trained people?
The answer is NO.
In fact, you can still enjoy the beautiful feeling of riding a bicycle along these amazing places even if you are not really into cycling.
How? On e-bikes!
Generally speaking, e-bikes are bicycles with a battery-powered “assist” that comes via pedaling and, in some cases, a throttle.
When you push the pedals on a pedal-assist e-bike, a small motor engages and gives you a boost, so you can zip up hills and cruise over rough terrain without much effort.
The motor is governed to stop propelling you further when you hit 20 to 28 miles per hour, depending on the bike.
So yes, e-bikes are the easiest and funnest way to discover a place like Lower Piedmont.
Lower Piedmont is a land that is still undiscovered by mass tourism; and still close to the larger Northern Italian cities and routes.
Culture, sport, food, wine, traditions and a warm sense of hospitality.
This land is ready to welcome you and to let you discover all its secrets: are you ready to have a unique and genuine experience in Lower Piedmont?
If you want to learn more about our tours and activities in Lower Piedmont or if you are planning to spend few days here, we will be happy to help you, just click HERE.
We know that images speak louder than words and videos can speak even louder than images!
Enjoy this brief video of a classic Lower Piedmont bike tour to see a small part of this amazing territory.