Culture, History and Flavours of Piedmont – New Tour, Crafted by a Local
Authentic Piedmont – An Unmissable Experience
Here’s a wonderful tour that gives you a host of memorable and authentic experiences in Piedmont.
Piedmont is a lovely rolling region of Italy just the other side of the Alps from France. True to the meaning of its name – the foot of the mountain, it is surrounded on three sides by the Alps, with the highest peaks and largest glaciers in Italy. This region is also rich in history – ancient fortresses, royal residences, legends, battlefields – and at its heart is the city of Turin, the first capital of the unified Italy, and home to FIAT and Juventus FC. Renaissance and Baroque architecture, museums and galleries, and gourmet restaurants grace its boulevards and piazzas.
On this tour, you can experience the region’s very best hidden gems including Venaria Reale Palace and Gardens, also known as the Versailles of Savoia, and the Fortress of Fenestrelle, the largest alpine fortification in Europe, surrounded by a stunning mountain landscape. You’ll be based in the picturesque town of Bra in the scenic Barolo wine region, characterised by rolling hills, vineyards and winding roads which deliver breathtaking scenery around every corner. With some of Italy’s best wines, truffles, beef and chocolate, this tour will also offer you exhilarating tasting experiences.
18th June 2020 and 1st October 2020
Travel to Italy
Crossing from Dover to Calais by ferry, we travel south through France, making an overnight stop along the way. The following day we continue to Italy and arrive at the hotel for dinner.
After breakfast in the hotel, we head towards Turin, the ancient capital of Italy and home to FIAT cars and Juventus FC. We will meet our local guide for a sightseeing tour to explore the cultural and historical sights of this beautiful city, both by coach and on foot. Sights include the large Piazza Castello with Palazzo Reale and Palazzo Madama, the elegant Via Roma, which links Piazza Castello with the eighteenth-century Piazza San Carlo, best known as the lounge of the city. By coach we will be able to reach the Parco del Valentino, with its medieval hamlet and Piazza Vittorio Veneto, where we can admire the River Po, the Basilica di Superga and the hills upon the city.
Perhaps spend the afternoon strolling along the city centre and taste the classic “bicerin” (hot drink with coffee and chocolate) in one of the historic cafes or visit the National Cinema Museum inside the Mole Antonelliana, which is definitely worth a visit. For dazzling 360-degree views, take the Panoramic Lift up to the 85m-high outdoor viewing deck.
Venaria Reale Palace and Gardens
Today we travel to Venaria Reale Palace, the Versailles of Savoia. It is an architectural masterpiece and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the morning, you will discover the magnificent Reggia, which boasts some of the finest examples of universal Baroque, including the elegant Hall of Diana and the solemn Great Gallery. In the afternoon head to the Gardens, which with their archaeological remains and contemporary artworks, bring together ancient and modern charm. Why not visit the Gardens on board a trackless train or a horse-drawn carriage? To enjoy the Gardens from a different point of view, you can also sail on the Great Pond on the gondola of the Reggia – an activity that was fashionable in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the typical Venetian boat was a staple at all riverside court residences.
Fortress of Fenestrelle
Today put your trainers on as we travel to the Fortress of Fenestrelle, the largest alpine fortification in Europe and one of the largest in the world, second only to the Great Wall of China. You will be welcomed by an enthusiastic guide who will take you on a 2 hour guided tour, offering an interesting portrait of facts characterising life in the fortress and a detailed overview of its intriguing history as a border construction. Moreover, the Fortress of Fenestrelle is home to a characteristic element that makes the complex unique in Europe: a covered stairway with 4000 steps, which climbs inside a tunnel connecting all the various sections together. The fortress is surrounded with peaks over 3,000 metres high, so, remember to look up and enjoy the landscape! After your visit, a traditional lunch will be waiting for you in the onsite restaurant “Cafe des Forçats”.
In the afternoon perhaps experience either ScopriMiniera, an underground adventure in the richest talc mine in Europe on board a little train used by miners, or discover a valley populated by a religious minority, the Waldensians, persecuted until 1848. The British army officer Beckwith played a large role in this community, particularly working to strengthen their education system.
Day at Leisure
Enjoy a more leisurely day today with time to explore Bra, located in the heart of the so-called food valley. Bra is one of the main centres of the Piedmontese Baroque architecture with its many 17th and 18th century churches and palaces, and also the seat of a University of Gastronomic Science. Take a stroll and visit the several small, family-run shops selling local produce such as organic sausages, cheese and chocolate.
Barolo Wine Land: Alba and La Morra
After breakfast we drive the short distance to the historic centre of Alba, the capital of Italy’s premier wine region, and also dubbed the “medieval town of one hundred towers”. Alba is not only a beautiful medieval town, it is also known as the gourmet capital of Piedmont. In particular it is famous for its white truffles and chocolates – it is the birthplace of Ferrero Rocher, Nutella and the legendary Gianduia. Aside from being a foodie heaven, Alba is a fortified town with the soaring 12th-century gothic cathedral, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, at its core.
In the afternoon we travel the short distance to the town of Barolo, passing through La Morra, with panoramic view over the Alba wine valley. In Barolo we visit the historic 19th century cellars of Marchesi di Barolo, where Barolo wine is produced. This was the former summer home of the Marquis of Barolo, with 200-year-old barrels. The visit will be followed by a tasting of their excellent wine, along with the typical Piedmontese grissini, Italian crispy breadsticks.
Return to UK
It’s time to leave Piedmont and return home, making an overnight stop along the way.
Hotel Cavalieri, Bra ****
This 4 star hotel is located in Bra, just a few kilometres from the smooth hills of the Langhe and Roero, both UNESCO heritage sites. The Alps and the hills of Bra are the staggering views that you can admire from your room. All rooms have air-conditioning, private bathroom, free Wi-Fi, hairdryer, satellite flat-screen TV, minibar, coffee and tea making facilities. This hotel provides free coach parking.
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|9 days||Half Twin||Single Supplement|
|18th June 2020||From £582.00 per person||From £220.00 per person|
|01st October 2020||From £610.00 per person||From £233.00 per person|