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Welcome! We are beginning a new series in which we will regularly highlight lesser-known regions in Europe’s popular tourist destinations like Italy, France and Spain!

The northwest region of Italy, Piedmont, is in many ways Tuscany’s big sister. A culinary queen, Piedmont’s Old Europe charm seems even grander in the absence of hordes of tourists. Sick of the ol’ Rome, Florence, Venice route?  Beat the crowds and still taste the best of Italy.

Piedmont is known for quaint, family run hotels and restaurants that provide personality and local gastronomic glamor at the base of the Alps. Appropriately, Piedmont is home to the Slow Food movement founded in the town of Bra. The legendary Barolo is produced here, as well as Barbaresco and the heavenly white, Gavi.

Tour the beautiful Cagliero S.S. Agricola estate in Barolo, which produces Barbera d’Alba and Nebbiolo da Barolo, as well as providing a Bed and Breakfast on their property. Homemade cheeses, locally gathered truffles and unlabeled house wine are just a few of the everyday surprises in this region. For a more luxurious tour and wine-tasting, visit the Barbaresco Regional Wine Cellar.

Piedmont is beautiful in late summer – visit the shores of Lago Maggiore, or cool off in the mountain air with a hike through small, medieval villages. Explore war-torn castles that spot the countryside like Serralunga d’Alba and Castello di Magliano Alfieri.

Another of the best times to travel to Piedmont is in October – the beginning of white truffle season. During this time of year there is even a truffle festival in Alba, one of the smallest but most concentrated gastronomic capitals of the world. During this time of year, every menu features this rare harvest. Join in the wine harvest festivals, as well, later in the season – they’re known for being as wild as any Carnivale celebration!

Don’t mistake privacy for remoteness; many of the best estates and villages are within an hour of the capital city of Turin. Turin is a city of French-inspired architecture, luxurious cafes and famous chocolatiers.

Piedmont is often called the ‘Burgundy of Italy,’ due to the artisan wines and old-world charm. Make your own path, carve your own trail (even if it’s wine-soaked) and try Piedmont this time.

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One Comment

  1. LindaNo Gravatar
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Loved this story. Hope I can travel there.

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