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Piemonte - ItalyInformation on Piemonte (Piedmont) - Italy
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Torino Torino Alessandria Alessandria Asti Asti Biella Biella Cuneo Cuneo Ivrea Ivrea Novara Novara Verbania Verbania Vercelli Vercelli

In Italian, piedi (pie) means "foot" and montania (monte) means "mountains," therefore the name Piemonte. An apt name for this landlocked region at the foot of the Alps. Sharing a border with France on Italy's northwest edge, Piemonte is a land of high mountains, soft hills, rich cities, gentle farmers, and picturesque vineyards.

Piemonte was part of Royalty until middle of the 19th century, and the French occupation left a rich and undeniable mark on the region's cuisine characterized by both the opulence of the nobility and the simplicity of the peasant.

With its low, flat fields, Piedmont is one of the most important rice-growing regions of Italy, and in this region risotto certainly outshines pasta. Dairy products are another important component of this cuisine, including robiola and ricotta. Alba's world-famous delicate white truffles, sniffed out by trained dogs, are shaved over all manner of things. Meat and game dishes also figure prominently and are often stewed in rich red wines.

Antipasto is a hallmark of Piemonte cuisine; there may be as many as 20 varieties of antipasto served at restaurants in the city. The area's most famous antipasto dish, bagna cauda (vegetables dipped fondue-style into a "hot bath" of oil, anchovies, and garlic), combines both the Piemontese passion for garlic and their love of vegetables.

While most of Italy is not associated with sweets, Piemonte is a hotbed of small artisan candymakers, including Leone of Torino, Laboratorio Artiginale del Giandujotto of Torino, and Davide Barbero of Asti. Puddings, cookies, and cakes also play a large role in Piemontese cuisine, with krumiri, crema cotta and zabaione among this region's culinary claims to fame.

Most Piemonte wines are made with grapes found only in this region: Arneis, Dolcetto, Freisa, Grignolino, and Nebbiolo. The region's most famous wines are the rich and complex Barolo, the dramatic Barbaresco, the rustic Barbera, and the dry, fruity Dolcetto -- all wines that stand up to the region's gutsy, flavorful foods. Most of the region's superlative wines are produced on family estates with small plots of land.

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Torino

 

Torino

Torino Piemonte ItalyTurin, Torino in Italian, is an awe inspiring city in the Piedmont region of Italy. Recongnized for the Shroud of Turin & the Fiat auto plants,

Turin has so much to offer. From its Baroque cafes and architecture to its unbelievable shopping promenades & museums, Turin is a great city for wandering and exploring. Turin hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics and is a great place for exploring nearby mountains and valleys.

What to taste What to taste:

• The Piedmont region has some of the best food in Italy. Over 160 types of cheese and famous wines like Barolo and Barbaresco come from here as do truffles, plentiful in fall.
• Turin has some outstanding pastries, especially chocolate ones. Chocolate for eating as we know it today (bars and pieces) originated in Turin. The chocolate-hazelnut sauce, gianduja, is a specialty of Turin.

Following Towns Cities & Towns:

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What to do What to do:

Winter sports play a privileged role in the alpine area and in the touristic resorts that have been restored when the Olympic Winter Games took place here in 2006. From Cesana Torinese to Sestriere, from San Sicario to Sauze d’Oulx, and from Bardonecchia to Torre Pellice you will enjoy kilometres of slopes that attract ski and trekking lovers, snowboarders, ice skaters, and climbers.
Golf is available in various centres situated in amazing breathtaking settings. The hills situated in the southern area of Turin enjoy the perfect location to walk, go cycling and horse riding, thanks to wonderful views and wide vineyards; while rivers are ideal for canoeing and rafting.
• Turin is also the shopping capital, with the elegant boutiques of via Roma arcades, surrounded by sumptuous Baroque style buildings.

Places to visit Places to visit: Churches, Museums, Ruins, Piazzas, Fountains,

Piazza Castello and Palazzo Reale are at the center of Turin. The square is a pedestrian area with benches and small fountains, ringed by beautiful, grand buildings.
The Via Po is an interesting walking street with long arcades and many historic palaces and cafes. Start at Piazza Castello.
Mole Antonelliana, a 167 meter tall tower built between 1798 and 1888, houses an excellent cinema museum. A panoramic lift takes you to the top of the tower for some expansive views of the city.
Palazzo Carignano is the birthplace of Vittorio Emanuele II in 1820. The Unification of Italy was proclaimed here in 1861. It now houses the Museo del Risorgimento and you can see the royal apartments Royal Armoury, too.
Museo Egizio is the third most important Egyptian museum in the world. It is housed in a huge baroque palace which also holds the Galleria Sagauda with a large collection of historic paintings
Piazza San Carlo, known as the "drawing room of Turin", is a beautiful baroque square with the twin churches of San Carlo and Santa Cristina as well as the above museum.
Shroud of Turin, or the Holy Shroud, is housed in the Turin Cathedral but is only put on display every 10 years. The Museum of the Holy Shroud is open daily.
Il Quadrilatero is an interesting maze of backstreets with sprawling markets and splendid churches. This is another good place to wander.
• Elegant and historic bars and cafes are everywhere in central Turin. Try a bicerin, a local layered drink made with coffee, chocolate, and cream. Cafes in Turin also serve other interesting trendy coffee drinks.

Events Events:

• Turin celebrates its patron saint in the Festa di San Giovanni June 24 with events all day and a huge fireworks display at night. Turin's big chocolate festival is in March. Turin has several music and theater festivals in summer and fall. During the Christmas season there is a 2-week street market and on New Year's Eve an open-air conert in the main piazza. The Turin Marathon in April attracts a huge number of international participants.
This province has a schedule rich of events: cultural exhibitions, such as the Salone Internazionale del libro (international book exhibition) in Turin; and patron festivals, such as the festival of Saint John in Turin with its historical cortège.
• You will also enjoy: the traditional festival of chocolate makers called CioccolaTò (taking place in Turin); the Bal dâ sabbie in Fenestrelle, a folkloristic event commemorating mountain populations’ habits; the historical Carnival of Ivrea that is famous for the orange battle.

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Alessandria

 

Alessandria

Alessandria Piemonte ItalyAlessandria is located in the south eastern sid of Piedmont and its position is strategically connected with Lombardy and Liguria since the past ages. The area combines hills & valleys crossed by rivers, while the southern area is surrounded by the Liguria Appennine Mountains.

Filled with lush & beautiful landscapes: the Monferrato hills rich of grape-vines and different colours, wide uncontaminated spaces, and prosperous chestnut, oaks and beech woods.

There are many protected areas that safeguard the most particular environments of this province: the Parco Fluviale del Po Tratto Vercellese-Alessandrino (river park) that hosts many bird colonies, the Riserva Naturale del Torrente Orba (natural reserve) and the Parco Naturale delle Capanne di Marcarolo (natural park), where the alpine flora cohabits with the Mediterranean Maquis.

This territory is famous for its vineyards but also for its cultural heritage, witness of an important history thanks to the roman age remains and to the imposing ruins of castles situated in the countryside. Ovada, Acqui Terme, Casale Monferrato and Gavi are amazing towns rich in history and art, as their monuments that date back to different ages can prove.

There are a lot of other treasures that make unique and special a stay in this area: from the Acqui Terme thermal centre to the goldsmith production of Valenza that now has a well established international fame, to the Campionissimi of Novi Ligure Museum which is dedicated to the cycling theme in memory of two athletes, who were particularly attached to the area, Fausto Coppi and Costante Girardengo.

What to taste What to taste:

• The whole gastronomy of Piedmont, and especially the local one, is simple, fresh, and based on natural products.
• In the whole province regional dishes can be found, such as the “bugnet”, which is  green sauce to make boiled meals tasty, or the “bagna caoda”, which is a dressing for raw vegetables made with oil, onion and anchovies. Among typical meals you can find porcini mushrooms and precious truffles from Bormida Valley.
• Cold cuts are really tasty, especially the “filetto baciato” (fillet) from Aqui Terme and small boiled cow salami from Mandrogne. The “rabaton” is a local specialty made with ricotta cheese, vegetables, eggs and an other kind of cheese.
• The best sweet dishes are the “krumiri”, that are typical biscuits from Casale Monferrato, the famous chocolate from Novi Ligure, chestnut cakes, soft and hard torroni (chocolates), and amaretti (biscuits).
• Around Novi Ligure and Ovada the gastronomic influence from Liguria is really strong, as some specialties show, such as the famous focaccia (oven baked bread) from Novi, which is very similar to the one from Genoa, while the health biscuits from Ovada are really similar to Legaccio di Genova biscuits.
• The whole area is important for its vineyards and its products, such as Cortese di Gavi, Dolcetto, Brachetto, Grignolino and Barbera (wines).

Following Towns Cities & Towns:

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What to do What to do:

• This area offers many opportunities to spend your holidays doing activities or just relaxing, both outdoor in uncontaminated landscapes.
From Monferrato to Ovada the whole territory offers hiking, biking and horse riding trails, spread in a rich vegetation and through beautiful villages. In the Parco Fluviale del Po Tratto Vercellese-Alessandrino it is possible to find touristic cycling trails, while climb lovers can reach Falesia di Gavi, which is a wall with different paths and surrounded by a wonderful landscape.
Acqui Terme has beautiful thermal springs and a modern health centre, so it is perfect for rejuvenating holidays and to do sport. There are modern golf centres that are ideal to comfortably host professional players and golf lovers.
Adventure parks are available for who would like to have active holidays, such as Bob & Downhill Park Val Curone with technical trails, and Adventure Park Val Borbera which is perfect to go trekking, canoeing down steep descents or biking in agonistic competitions.
• If you would like to buy jewels you could go to Valenza which is famous for the jewel production and it also hosts the “Mostra Internazionale di gioielleria e oreficeria” (an international jewellery and goldsmith exhibition) that takes place in October. There are a lot of traditional exhibitions, such as the Festa Medievale (medieval party) with an historical cortège in Cassine, the Santa Caterina fair and the gastronomic exhibitionDolci Terre di Novi” both in Novi Ligure, and the polenta (traditional meal) festival in Ponti.
Also the Fiera Nazionale del Tartufo (national truffle fair) in San Sebastiano Curone, the Lachera ball in Rocca Grimalda, and the spectacular historical commemoration of Marengo battle in Alessandria, with its parades and performances of the most important  phases of the fighting, must not be missed.

Places to visit Places to visit: Churches, Museums, Ruins, Piazzas, Fountains,

• The first step in the territory visit path is Alessandria, the main town of the area with a rich artistic heritage that includes the famous Cittadella, wide squares and the buildings from the eighteenth century.
This area hosts lots of faith sites with a remarkable artistic value, such as Sacro Monte di Crea, which is part of UNESCO World Heritage, the Santa Croce complex in Bosco Marengo, the Romanesque abbey of Santa Giustina in Sezzadio, and many churches and sanctuaries that are situated in isolated positions in the countryside, such as the suggestive pieve (village) of Santa Maria in Viguzzolo.
It is possible to find important remains of the roman age in Libarna, near Serravalle Scrivia and Acqui Terme, which is a town known since the past ages for its art and thermal centre. One of the most important sites is Casale Monferrato thanks to its prestigious architecture and churches, such as the Dome, one of the most remarkable Romanesque-Lombardy style cathedrals in Piedmont.
The path on the hills, through vineyards and imposing castles, such as Vignale Monferrato and Camino castles, definitely worths a visit.
• It is important not to miss a visit to Valenza, a small town built on the banks of Po River, also famous for gold work and jewellery production, and to Gavi, a small town situated on the border between Liguria and Padan Plain, and dominated by the imposing castle, that once was the fortress of the Republic of Genoa.
When visiting the historical village of  Tortona, it is like diving into the past because it is rich of roman remains and artistic monuments, while Ovada is surrounded by remarkable castles. History lovers should visit the Marengo Museum which is dedicated to an historical Napoleonic battle, and it is situated in Spinetta Marengo, an area of Alessandria.
Sport lovers can go the Campionissimi Museum in Novi Ligure, dedicated to Costante Girardengo and Fausto Coppi, two cyclists attached to this area.

Events Events:

• Coming soon.

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Asti

 

Asti

Asti Piemonte ItalyAsti is at the heart of Piedmont. Its southern area borders on Liguria. The mostly hilly territory stretches over Monferrato and a small area of Langhe, called Langa Astigiana, crossed by the Tanaro River. The mild hills and valleys create a wonderfull landscapes, with vineyards stretches and a spectacular mixture of colours and tones.

The Asti area is the land of wine par excellence and the native land of Asti Spumante Docg (sparkling wine), which is well-known and exported all around the world. If the hills offer wonderful landscapes, the various preserved areas are certainly remarkable, such as the Rocchetta Tanaro Natural Park with its many woods, the Riserva Naturale Speciale della Val Sarmassa (natural reserve) and the WWF Oasis of Forteto della Luja, which includes a beautiful part of the Langa on the banks of Luja stream.

In these amazing natural sceneries there are villages with a medieval atmosphere, such as Canelli, Roccaverano and Costigliole, suggestive castles spread around the countryside, and various examples of architecture evidence of the important historical role of this land.

Along the ancient Via Francigena route it is still possible to see wonderful medieval parish churches and abbeys, while Asti old town with its monuments shows evidence of the golden age of Asti Commune (XI-XIV centuries). Folkloristic events, local gastronomy based on traditional recipes and local products are furhther wonderful surprises that this amazing area offers to its visitors.

What to taste What to taste:

• Not to miss is the vegetables so loved in the area such as truffles, the humped artichoke named "cardo gobbo" and the squared pepper both used for a garlic and anchovy dip named "bagna caoda".
• There is also the local cheeses that include robiola of Roccaverano and robiola di Cocconato.
• There is also the traditional dishes namely, agnolotti, Monferrato-style potato gnocchi, ciotola di trifulau (cheese fondue with polenta with a sprinkling of truffles), Piedmont-style boiled meat.
• The desserts include amaretti (amond macaroons) from Mombaruzzo, canestrelli, the finocchini of Refrancore and nut cakes.
• Local wines include white wines to dry sparkling wines such as Cortese, Piemonte Chardonnay, Moscato di Asti and, of course, Asti Spumante DOCG. There are also Barbera d'Asti, Barbera del Monferrato, Dolcetto d'Asti, Brachetto d'Acqui and Piemonte Brachetto and also many grappas and other spirits.

Following Towns Cities & Towns:

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What to do What to do:

• The wine routes are a must in this beautiful area where vines abound.
• The parks and nature reserves offer walking, cycling or horse riding trails into a wilderness of luxuriant vegetation, breathtaking landscapes and great bird-watching. Golfers can perfect their swing in a wonderful green in the outskirts of Asti.

Places to visit Places to visit: Churches, Museums, Ruins, Piazzas, Fountains,

• The first stage of any tour must be Asti, one of the most important cities of art in Piedmont and birthplace of Vittorio Alfieri, the famous 18th century poet and dramatist. The old town is picturesque and charming, opening onto the triangular shaped Piazza Alfieri, where the town's famous Palio (horse race) is staged. Among the architectural landmarks are noble palaces, towers and ancient churches, and the magnificent gothic cathedral. The northern part of the territory offers a fascinating route retracing the ancient via Fracigena to discover quaint towns, such as Cortazzone with its Romanesque church, Montechiaro with the Santi Nazario e Celso church, Passerano Marmorito with its castle and Cocconato.
• The medieval churches surrounded by the countryside of Asti are enchanting, such as the Church of San Lorenzo in Montiglio and the abbey of Santa Maria di Vezzolano in Albugnano, one of the best examples of the Romanesque style in Piedmont.
• All over the territory there are imposing castles, ancient dwellings of local nobles, such as the Castiglione d'Asti castle, which every year hosts the "asta del barbera" (Barbera wine auction).
• Of particular interest is also the majestic Gancia castle – visits inside are not allowed – overlooking Canelli, which is famous for the production of Asti Spumante. In this land, turned over to vine growing and wine production , the museums of rural life are worth visiting, such as the museum of crafts and trades of times long past in the splendid castle of Cisterna d'Asti and the "Museo di contadinerie Bersano e raccolta di stampe antiche sul vino" (a farming museum with a collection of old prints telling the story of wine) in Nizza Monferrato. An important religious centre is Castelnuovo Don Dosco, where the Colle don Bosco is located, the birthplace of Saint Giovanni Bosco and the modern Shrine, visited by pilgrims from all over the world.  

Events Events:

• In and around Asti there are many annual events that should not be missed: folkloristic, religious and gastronomic festivals among others: the traditional Palio di Asti (horse race), the most anticipated event of the year, includes a parade in medieval costume; the festival for Asti's patron saint, San Secondo; the historical reenactment of the Canelli siege; the Giostra (medieval tournament) of Nizza Monferrato.
• The best known local produce, the truffle, is the star of the National Fair in Moncalvo and Montechiaro, and the Regional Fairs of Asti, Montiglio Monferrato and Canelli .
• Countless shows promote other specialities: from hazelnuts to wine, to delicious kinds of cheese. Among the shows, there is the Festival delle Sagre, a major exhibition of wine and food that transforms Asti into the biggest open air restaurant in Italy thanks to the work of more than 40 local groups who offer its many visitors delicious local dished accompanied by prestigious local wines.  

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• (Add a restaurant review in the italian blog area of our website). The wine routes are good for walks, trekking or biking through hills covered by vineyards, with the strong temptation to call at wineries and farms to taste different wines and local produce.

Biella

 

Biella

Biella Piemonte ItalyBiella is located in the northern side of Piedmont Iit borders on Aosta Valley on the west. In this prestine territory nature offers different aspects, such as the picturesque Biellese Prealps, mountains and valleys, and in the southern area there is the bank of Viverone Lake, where tourists mostly use to go.

The preserved areas and natural reserves offer various wonderful landscapes: the wide moor of the Riserva Naturale Orientata delle Baragge (natural reserve), the alpine environment of Oasi Zegna with its characteristic “Via dei rododendri” , the Parco Naturale della Burcina (natural park), a valley which during spring is full of different flowers and colours.

Biella offers not only natural wonders, but also religious, artistic and historical treasures. This is a land where spirituality is really strong, as many faith sites show, for example the Santuario mariano di Oropa, one of the most important sanctuary of Europe. Moreover, in the southern area there are remains of ancient churches and villages which were built during Middle age along the via Francigena, a route for pilgrims that used to connect the northern area with Rome.

This territory hosts picturesque villages and charming “ricetti”, that are walled complexes still preserving their original aspects. The area around Biella is also charming thanks to the different aspects of local culture, such as the traditional fabrics production made with high quality wool, manufacturing, an amazing gastronomy and great wines.

What to taste What to taste:

• What you mainly see in Biella is the famous toma cheese from Elvo Valley, fresh or seasoned, the "sancarlin" and "tumin eletric", fresh, processed cheeses.
• Soups are also very popular namely "supa mituna", made with bread, broth, herbs or vegetables, and the "mactabe", a soup with rice, milk and chestnuts.
• The cured meats are remarkable: "salam d l'ula" made with pork preserved in fat, and also to beef and goat meat salami.
• Desserts include torcetti, canestrelli and torroni.
• Local wines include Erbaluce and Bramaterra, as well as the typical liqueur of Piedmont, the "Ratafià di Andorno", which is made with black cherry juice from Andorno Micca.

Following Towns Cities & Towns:

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What to do What to do:

• The alpine mountains of Biella invite all forms of winter sports you can imagine. Between Bocchetto Sassera are Oropa, there are many opportunities for cross-country skiing at different levels and in various evocative and unique landscapes. In the heart of the Biella Alpes, the Oasi Zegna and other areas are perfect for walking, trekking or mountain biking in summer.
• Lake Viverone is the ideal destination for water sports: water skiing, canoeing, pedal boating, rowing, motor boats and sport fishing.

Places to visit Places to visit: Churches, Museums, Ruins, Piazzas, Fountains,

• Biella-Piazzo is the medieval district, dominated by the magnificent Palazzo Cisterna and ancient churches; in Biella-Piazzo lie the Duomo, the pre-Romanesque baptistery and the Museo del territorio biellese which gives detailed documentation of local history
• The Santuario di Graglia and the Santuario Giovanni d'Andorno are worth visiting, both lying in panoramic positions in the midst of unspoiled nature. An other site that unites the splendour of nature with culture is the Riserva naturale speciale della Bessa, an ancient Roman gold mine, where the rubble from the original extractions can still be seen.
• Among the settlements in the province, the most important are Magnano and, above all, Candelo, a scenic village enclosed by fortified walls and angular towers, giving to the area great charm, including along with other villages and castles in the itinerary, "Andar per borghi nel Biellese." The Cell Museums of Biella are interesting and bear witness to the local culture and traditions of the various valleys.

Events Events:

• Numerous events and folkloristic festivals are staged here, such as the famous Carnival of Biella with a procession in Biella on Ash Wednesdays.
• Not to be missed are Candelo in flower, and Vinincontro, a wine show in the Candelo, and at Christmas, the Mercatino degli Angeli in Sordevolo, one of the most typical markets of the area, and also the Presepe Gigante, a huge nativity scene, in Marchetto di Mosso, dressed with life-size statues dotted around the village.
• The Passion of Sordevolo is a very important religious event and commemorates the Passion of Christ Passion every five years from June to September, in which all the local people take part. The province also offers many chances to shop for the high quality fabrics that are an ancient tradition of Biella.
• The Biennial Religious and Cultural Tourism Market is held here.Rosazza, in the Valle Cervo, known as the village of stone-cutters, offers a unique example of local culture and architecture, also renowned for its traditional stone dwellings.

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Cuneo

 

Cuneo

Cuneo Piemonte ItalyCuneo is located in the south-western side of Piedmont. It borders on France to the west and on Liguria to the south. The Alps, the Monviso Mountain, the hills of Langhe, Roero and Monferrato cover most of the territory, and in the middle of it there is a wide plain crossed by Po, Tanaro and other rivers.

The landscapes offer different beauties: valleys with luxuriant vegetation, hills where you can find vineyards and castles, and extremely beautiful protected areas. The Parco Naturale delle Alpi Marittime (natural park) is rich of lakes situated in high positions and surrounded by mountains, and it also offers lots of unforgettable landscapes. Also the Parco Fluviale Gesso-Stura and the Parco Fluviale del Po Tratto Cuneese (river parks) are really beautiful and the last one provides lots of landmarks, such as the rio Martino cave with a wonderful waterfall.

This area is rich in natural beauties and landmarks. Thanks to its location it has always been a passing and meeting point for different populations and cultures. It has been crossed by the most important routes of medieval pilgrimage: the Way of San Giacomo and Via Francigena. In the past centuries this area has been disputed by important families. Its has a centuries-old history that left a huge artistic and cultural heritage: castles, towers, that are part of the landscape, villas and princely residences, and wonderful abbeys, such as the Staffarda abbey.

In the territory around Cuneo there are a lot of different towns with a long history and many art works, such as Alba, Fossano, Mondovì and Saluzzo, one of the most amazing towns in Piedmont. The area is also the native land of the best Italian wines, and is rich of Occitan cultural influences, religious, gastronomic and folkloristic traditions, that make it the perfect spot for cultural and interesting holidays.

What to taste What to taste:

• The white truffle of Alba that has an intense fragrance and is picked in various areas: Langhe, Monferrato, Roero. Just as tasty and appreciated, the black truffle is gathered in the Mongia and Grana valleys.
• The popular dishes include underet di patate, tajerin, agnolotti, gnocchi alla bava and risotto with quails. Typical products are cured meats such as "batiur" or "mariur", made from pork, spices and wine; and cured beef.
• Also known for their cheese namely Toma from the Langhe, the robiola of Dogliani and bruss. Castelmagno cheese is a renowned local product made in the Occitan valleys of Piedmont.
• The desserts include cuneesi with rum and the torrone d'Alba, a type of nougat. In the Monviso valleys, losëtte, brut e bun ("ugly but tasty") with almonds and hazelnut granola, and risòle (fried ravioli with jam inside and sugar topping), are the best known. In the Po Valley, a typical sweet is batiaje, pastries made with yellow flour.
• The local wines include Barolo, Barbaresco, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo, Freisa and DOC wines of the Saluzzesi Hills.  

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• Winter sports abound with mountains and valleys fully equipped with facilities and paths for skiing, cross country skiing and snowboarding, along with snowshoe and skating trails.
• The city of Cuneo boasts many swimming pools and sport facilities. Valdieri, Vinadio, Garessio, Roccolo di Busta, Camorei di Borgo San Dalmazzo, Lurisia, Peveragno are thermal springs with health centres that offer rejuvenating and relaxing stays.
• The Parco Naturale delle Alpi Marittime (natural park) provides many hiking trails, while the Parco Fluviale Gesso-Stura offers a wide range of walking/biking trails

Places to visit Places to visit: Churches, Museums, Ruins, Piazzas, Fountains,

• There are fascinating places to visit but the main reason should be the Alps.
• Archaeological sites dating back to the Roman era are definitely worth a visit, including the Excavation of Augusta Bagiennorum and the ruins of ancient Pollentia with the remains of the theatre and of the amphitheatre. Along the ancient medieval pilgrimage routes, the Via Francigena and the Way of Santiago, there are many artistic and religious relics.
• The most famous are: the shrines of San Magno in Grana Valley, of Sant'Anna di Vinadio and of the Madonna dei boschi in Boves.
• Piasco is the home of the Museo dell'arpa Victor Salvi with it's a fascinating collection of harps.

Events Events:

• There are many events and festivals during the year, such as the National Exhibition of craftsmanship and antiques of Saluzzo, or the Inernational Fair of white truffles of Alba, or the traditional Palio degli asini, a donkey race in Alba.
• The historical reenactments are especially evocative, such as the Bahio di Sampeyre commemorating the victory of the inhabitants of Cuneo's valleys against the Saracens during the Middle age; the Roumiage de Setembre in Coumboscuro, and the Giostra dell'oca, a tournament staged in Fossano with archers, infantrymen and flag-bearer processions.  

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Ivrea

 

Ivrea

Ivrea Piemonte ItalyAn ancient town rich of history and art, Ivrea rises along the Dora Baltea river, one of the main tributaries of the Po river.The original settlement and the ancient part are along the left bank, whereas a recent urban expansion occupies prevalently lands along the right bank, all around the Olivetti Industrial plants.

On the site there was a Celtic settlement, then when the Romans conquered Lombardy in the 2nd century BC they established here the town of Eporedia, which in 397 AD became the seat of a bishopric. After the fall of the western Roman empire in 476, Ivrea was first a Languebard Dukedom, them a Frankish countdom an 889 became the capital of the Marca D'Ivrea. In 1170 it was one of the towns that allied in the Lombard League against the Emperor. In the 13th century it came under the rule of the Monferrato Marquis, who in 1356 sold it to the Savoy family.

What to taste What to taste:

• Not far from Ivrea you can visit the Lake of Viverone, where some remains have been found from the Bronze Age and it is now a popular tourist destination. Every year, during Carnival, Ivrea held a demonstration in which thousands of people take part and during which we can taste the most famous local products. Lovers of sweets and chocolate will be delighted to discover the "cake 900", based on sponge-cake and chocolate cream. The cuisine is typical of the Piedmont, and based largely on rice. For many centuries rice was a vital source of food for the inhabitants of this region and people have invented many variations in its use, from rice duck to rice with champagne and shrimp, to the "Paniscia", a rice-soup with vegetables, bacon, beans, sausage, salame and wine.

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• Adventure and sites are everywhere in Ivrea. A breathtaking area to tour and relax.

Places to visit Places to visit: Churches, Museums, Ruins, Piazzas, Fountains,

The Castle, begun by Duke Amadeus VI Savoy in 1358, originally consisted of a square plan with four round towers at the corners, joined by walls that enclosed a wide inner courtyard; in the 17th century it was used as a prison;
The Cathedral, built in the 10th century on the site of a previous Roman temple to Apollo. Of the original Romanesque Cathedral the only extant remains are a crypt and two of the bell towers of the apses. Under the porch there is the sarcophagus of quaestor Caius Atecius Valerius, of the 1st century BC, and inside 3 fine paintings: a "Madonna e Santi" by Beaumont, the "Adorazione del Bambino" (1521) and a Nativity (1519) both by Defendente Ferrari;
• The Seminary, designed by Filippo Juvarra in the early 18th century, preserving in the inner courtyard a fragment of the ancient mosaic floor of the Cathedral;
• Remains of the Roman amphitheater, originally 97 m. long and 72 wide;
• The Church of San Bernardino, of the latter half of the 15th century, built in honor of the Franciscan preacher from Siena, who stayed for a time in Ivrea, establishing also a monastery; inside it is possible to admire the 21 scenes of a fresco cycle on the Life of Jesus, a 15th century work by painter Martino Spanzotti;
• The Olivetti quarter, an interesting example of an architectural project that aimed at merging in harmony industrial buildings, road plan, housing blocks and services. The central 5-point-star directional center was built in the 1960's on a design by architects G.A. Bernasconi, a. Fiocchi and M. Nizzoli;
• in the vicinity, the Viverone lake,of glacial origin, 3500 m long and 2750 wide, is a favorite tourist destination for the local populace and also an archeological area with findings of the Bronze age.

Events Events:

• Orange throwing carnival of Ivrea - The carnival of Ivrea is one of Italy's most spectacular thanks to one enterprising ingredient - the Battle of the Oranges. Three days of build up and offically sanctioned violence are 'organised' when the squares and piazze are turned into battle grounds between 9 competing teams and 3000 people. The origin of the madness goes back to a legendary people's revolt against Count Ranieri of Biandrate and is based on liberty and freedom of expression. Before the battle on the Sunday of Carnival, the populace are fed with free beans, perhaps to sustain them during the rigors of battle. The signal for the festival to begin is the holding aloft of a child by each of the 4 quarters of the town. Although not as dangerous as running with the bulls at Pamplona, on a cold day it has been known for many of the oranges to freeze like golf balls.

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Novara

 

Novara

Novara Piemonte ItalyNovara is the most eastern of Piedmont and it borders on east and south on Lombardy. Its territory is located between the Ticino and Sesia rivers; it is mainly plain on the south, rich of hills in the middle and of mountains on the north, where there is the Mattarone Mountain. The area around Novara partially includes Piedmont big lakes, such as Orta Lake with the amazing Orta San Giulio village; and the southern part of Lake Maggiore with its touristic resorts: Arona and Castelletto sopra Ticino.

This area provides different and extremely charming landscapes, while the best are the paddy fields, that are wide water surfaces with poplar trees on the banks and whose colours changing every season. On this territory you can also find the Parco Fluviale del Ticino Piemontese (natural park) where foxes, otters and herons live; or the Riserva Naturale Orientata delle Baragge (natural reserve), which is a wide plain consisting in meadows and moors. This area has a rich history as shown by villages such as San Nazzaro Sesia, Galliate, Gozzano, Romagnano Sesia, Ghemme, ect.

To explore architectural beauties you can reach the countryside where you will find oratories isolated in green areas and with a high artistic value; ancient castles and medieval abbeys. From small villages to lakes or country houses and paddy fields situated in the plain area, you can find it all in the area around Novara, that has different characteristics and traditions, always surprising its visitors.

What to taste What to taste:

• Rice is the main ingredient in the land of paddy fields and it is cooked in many different ways. The most common recipe is "paniscia", which is a rice soup with vegetables, beans and sausages. Frogs are another favourite ingredient, fried, stuffed or put in a broth .
• The cured meats include the salam d'la duja, preserved in pork fat and placed inside terracotta vases, and fideghin, a liver mortadella
• Typical product is gorgonzola cheese, which is creamy and extremely tasty, originally from the Milan area.
• Desserts in the area include the little biscuit of Novara, Pane di San Gaudenzio and biscuits called "brutti ma buoni" (ugly but tasty).
• Wines include Boca, Sizzano, Fara, Colli Novaresi and Ghemme are some of the prestigious wines produced from the vineyards of Novara's hills.

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What to do What to do:

• This area is suitable for cycle trails through paddy fields, alongside canals and passing ancient country houses. The city of Novara has an extensive cycle trail that leaves the historic centre and continues through scenery dominated by nature and the countryside. The hills surrounding historical villages can be explored by bike, through woods and pleasant landscapes.
• In the Ticino Park, many recreational outdoor activities are available, including trekking, cycling, horse riding, navigating the river in a canoe, kayak or rubber dinghy. Many other sports can be played in the charming natural territory of Novara: tennis, golf, water sports on the lakes and hiking on the slopes of Mount Mattarone, known as "the mountain with two lakes" with its unique views.

Places to visit Places to visit: Churches, Museums, Ruins, Piazzas, Fountains,

• Novara is surrounded by fortresses and dominated by the Antonelli dome of the Basilica di San Gaudenzio. The old town harmoniously combines medieval remains, buildings dating back the 15th century and neoclassical buildings. The architectural splendours include the Duomo, the baptistery and the monumental complex of Broletto, which houses the Museo Civico, with a wealth of local archaeological, historical and artistic remains.
• The centrepiece is the Sacro Monte di Orta, a monumental complex of great religious and artistic importance, lying in a conservation area that is listed by Unesco as a World Heritage Site. Among some especially fascinating sites are the village of Orta San Giulio with its Baroque buildings, Renaissance arcades and peaceful streets reflected in the lake, and the Isola di San Giulio that houses one of the most important Romanesque monuments of Piedmont
• Another perfect place for holidays is the western bank of Lake Maggiore where there are many tourist resorts, such as Arona, dominated by the famous "San Carlone", an enormous statue dedicated to San Carlo Borromeo. The route through the hills of Novara passes through villages with many historic remains: from the Sforza castle of Galliate to the ancient mill of Bellinzago, from the Benedictine abbey of San Nazzaro Sesia to the charming medieval settlement of Ghemme, whose original walls have been preserved. The rural oratories with their beautiful fresco are well worth visiting, as are the castles of Solaroli di Briona, Castello Visconti in Castelletto Ticino and the castle of Cavagliano in Bellinzago Novarese.  

Events Events:

• Historic and folkloristic events that should not be missed include the historical re-enactment of the battle of Bicocca in Novara, the Corsa della torta, or cake race, in Oleggio , the people's carnival of Novara and the "Palio degli asini" (donkey race) accompanied by a costume processed in Marano Ticino.
• The many fairs and shows devoted to the typical produce offer a chance to discover local traditions.

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Verbania

 

Verbania

Verbania Piemonte ItalyVerbano Cusio Ossola is situated in the north-eastern part of Piedmont, in the border between Switzerland & Lombardy. In this territory nature is untouched & hosts many valleys like Ossola Valley, which is famous for its natural and cultural landmarks.

The treasures of this land are: Mergozzo Lake, the northern bank of Orta Lake and the western bank of Lake Maggiore, which hosts well-known touristic resorts, such as Cannobio, Verbania and Stresa, a wonderful international destination.

The Borromee Islands are really charming and situated in the middle of Lake Maggiore, offering luxuriant vegetation, amazing views, and extremely beautiful villas and gardens. There are not only lakes but also more natural wonders, such as the imposing alpine peaks and valleys with their modern ski resorts: Formazza, Piane di Vigezzo, Macugnaga, Alpe Devero and much more.

There are many preserved areas created in order to safeguard different environments, such as Parco Nazionale Val Grande (national park) which is considered the wildest area in Europe, going from inaccessible lands to the Alps; the Parco Naturale Veglia Devero (natural park) with its meadows, alpine tundras and windy mountains, also offering the best alpine landscapes ever.

The charm of this area is also due to relevant cultural remains, such as the “Strada del Sempione”, that is an historical route that since the past ages was helping different population in doing exchanges and in meeting each other. The cultural influence of Walsers is really strong. They are populations of German origin who have been living in these valleys since Middle age and who created local architecture. Typical stone dwellings and the Walser style buildings give a fairy tale atmosphere and great charm to the small villages situated in these valleys.

In this area there are a lot of art treasures, such as sanctuaries and wonderful churches that are isolated in breathtaking natural landscaped. The area around Verbano with its folklore, traditions and gastronomy is really charming, so that it will satisfy any desire.

What to taste What to taste:

• Part of the culture is the rye black bread which is baked in a wood oven, and "ossolana" style gnocchi, made with chestnut flour, potatoes and yellow pumpkin.
• The dishes are made up of cold cuts, cheese, mushrooms and polenta in the mountains, yellow perch, trout and pike by the lakes. The most valued are porcini mushrooms and asparagus from Oira, along with traditionally processed cured meats.
• Verbania is renowned for its cheeses, the most famous of which is the Bettelmatt from the Val Formazza, the "Grasso d'Alpe" and various types of "tomini" cheese.
• The typical desserts are simple but tasty, such as chestnut, nut and apple pies.
• The liqueurs are also of high quality: the fil da fer, the natural infusion of Artemisia Glacialis made with wild herb that grows in the Alps, Genepy, and others.

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• The snow-covered peaks and vast valleys of Verbanoì are the home of modern and well equipped resorts where it is possible to engage in winter sports: skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, skating, snowshoeing, climbing, Alpine mountaineering and trekking. In the mountains, amidst the verdant valleys and around the lakes, exciting activities are available, including mountain biking, cycling and horse riding, as well as beautiful golf courses near Lake Maggiore and Mount Rosa.
• The lakes are perfect for water sports: sailing, windsurfing, kite surfing, canoeing, swimming and diving. The rivers and streams offer great fishing, or for the more energetic, rafting.
• Terme di Crodo with mineral and low mineral springs; the modern and well-equipped spas of Bognanco and Premia, offering relaxing and health stays.

Places to visit Places to visit: Churches, Museums, Ruins, Piazzas, Fountains,

• The beautiful bank of Lake Maggiore which is surrounded by amazing villas.
• The touristic resorts of Verbania, known as "the garden on the lake", with the renowned Villa Taranto and Stresa, which boasts important architectural examples, such as the splendid Villa Ducale, surrounded by a magnificent Italian style garden. It commands an enchanting view of the Isole Borromee, especially of Isola Bella, dominated by the majestic Palazzo Borromeo.
• The unique Vigezzo Valley, known as the valley of painters," can be admired from the comfort of the train that runs along the ancient "Vigezzina" rail, offering unforgettable views.
• The Formazza Valley never fails to surprise, with the Toce waterfall, regarded as the highest in the Alps.

Events Events:

• Many traditional events related to local culture are staged, such as the "festa della Madonna della neve e della milizia tradizionale di Bannio" , the Carnival of Cannobio, the milk festival and that of San Bernardo in Macugnaga, and the "vita tra le Ponti e Walser" in Ornavasso.  
• Many are dedicated to the local produce: mushrooms, blueberries and chestnuts.
• The National Exhibition of Winter Camellia in Stresa should not be missed, dedicated to the "winter queen" flower that colours the shores of the magnificent lake.

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Vercelli

 

Vercelli

Vercelli Piemonte ItalyVercelli is situated in the north-eastern part of Piedmont, along the Sesia River, from Mount Rosa to Po River, through the Baragge and plain areas in the south-eastern area of the town.

Here landscapes are particularly charming and consist in the Alps peaks, a truly ski heaven, in the Gattinara Hills that are covered by vineyards, woods and crossed by rivers, and in wide plain lands. The view of paddy fields is amazing and is a characteristic of Vercelli’s area, which is one of the best rice producer in Europe.

Plain lands are perfectly divided by poplar trees and submerged by water for most of the year, so they reflect colours and tones of the sky. A lot of preserved areas cover the territory, such as the Parco Naturale Lame del Sesia (natural park) with its humid environment and the “garzaie” (sites where herons use to make their nests); the Parco Fluviale del Po Tratto Alessandrino-Vercellese, which is perfect for birdwatching; and the Parco Naturale Alta Valsesia, an alpine park that is extended till Mount Rosa.

The whole territory is rich of art and history, as the Vercelli old town architecture shows, while Alagna and other small northern villages still preserve their Walser traditions in a fairy tale atmosphere. Also Gattinara Hills and plain lands have their own historical heritage which consists in castles, picturesque villages with a medieval atmosphere, and religious sites situated along the Via Francigena.

What to taste What to taste:

• The specialty of the traditional cuisine is the risotto, including the "panissa vercellese", agnolotti with salami stuffing – served at the major festivals – the "fagiolata" (bean festival) and polenta concia.
• Among the main dishes frogs are popular, cooked in various ways, cjvet hare, "acciughe con 'ibagnet vert'," anchovies with garlic, parsley and hot pepper sauce, fried pork, "rognose" omelettes, prepared with minced salami.
• The local desserts include bicciolani, cinnamon flavoured shortcrust pastry biscuits, , tartufata cake with cream, canestrelli and torcettini.
• The local wines incude Gattinara, Bramaterra and Coste del Sesia. 

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What to do What to do:

• The Vercelli plains are ideal for bike rides amidst the paddy fields and herons in unspoiled environments. The Valsesia mountains with its major tourist resorts of Alpe di Mera and Alagna are perfect for winter sports: skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering, climbing and trekking. The Parco Naturale Alta Valsesia provides many trails for mountain biking of varying degrees of difficulty.
• In the Parco Naturale Regionale Lame del Sesia. gymnastic, botanic and nature routes are available, as well as bird watching, with numerous bird species.
• The lakes and rivers provide canoeing, kayaking, rafting and fishing.

The variety of the environments means many sports and outdoor activities are available.

Places to visit Places to visit: Churches, Museums, Ruins, Piazzas, Fountains,

• Romanesque gothic style Basilica of Saint Andrew and by the Duomo with its high medieval bell tower.
• Among the various attractions that should not be missed is the Borgogna Museum, a collection of the most important art works of Piedmont which includes paintings dating from the Renaissance and the eighteenth century.
• The Varesina Valley offers an evocative landscape with wonderful views of the Gattinara Hills, where the Sacro Monte di Varallo is located, a sanctuary inspired by holy sites in Palestine.
• Interesting historical villages rich in artistic and religious remains include Santhià, Trino and the district of Lucedio where its magnificent medieval abbey can be admired.
• An exploration of the paddy fields and ancient farmsteads leads to Arborio, renowned for its production of quality rice, and onto Crescentino, with its interesting old town.
• The elegant Castle of Moncrivello should not be missed, nor the Castle of San Genuario which dominates the Vercelli countryside.  

Events Events:

• Vercelli offers many special events, such as the "Trofeo De Rege" in Vercelli, which is a national shooting competition, the international festival ancient music at Varallo Sesia, the automobile parade on Good Friday in Vercelli, and the Alpàa in Varallo Sesia, an exhibition and market of typical products of Valsesia.
• There are also a lot of local festivals dedicated to local gastronomic specialities.

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