Piedmont’s name originates from its location at the “mountain’s feet”, but this Italian region has much more to it than its scenery. With museums devoted to Ancient Egypt and the history of cinema, the capital city of Turin has become a destination for lovers of culture and history, while foodies delight in the local produce and specialties of the area’s restaurants. Here are some of our favourite things to see and do while in Italy’s region of Piedmont.
There aren’t many better European skiing spots than Sestriere. Located at the base of the Alps – just west of Turin – this purpose-built ski resort was one of the world’s first. It welcomes skiers of all abilities with plenty of family-friendly green and blue runs, alongside challenging off-piste for experienced skiers. If you’re looking for lively après ski, head to neighbouring town Sauze d’Oulx for a beer or two.
Those looking for a more exclusive experience will want to head to Lido Baveno. Located at the Switzerland-Italy border straddling Lago Maggiore, this beach club provides an idyllic spot for sunbathing, swimming, fine dining and dancing. Expect undisturbed views across the lake, its islands and, of course, the world-famous Alps. On evenings, the beach club’s indoor restaurant provides a romantic scene as the sun sets over the water.
Val Grande National Park is Italy’s largest wilderness, offering unrivalled vistas, unspoiled landscapes and superb hiking opportunities. Casual strolls can be taken along the well-trodden trails – but if you’re feeling slightly more adventurous, you may be interested in the search for the abandoned village of Miunchio while hiking from Cossogno to Casletto bridge. There are trails for all abilities here, but more curious hikers may prefer to instruct a local guide.
Italian cafe culture is famous, but visitors to Turin are in for a particular treat with a bicerin. Famous fans such as Alexandre Dumas adore this coffee beverage – and it’s well worth a taste. It is made from espresso, chocolate and whole milk, prepared in three distinct layers. Although there is still debate as to which cafe created the drink, many locals will contest the original comes from Caffè Fiorio.
Piemontese culinary culture is famous for perfecting the art of chocolate, particularly in combination with the region’s native hazelnuts. Named after the character from the commedia dell’arte, Gianduja, the little chocolates are meant to be shaped like the character’s hat. The original chocolate was created in Turin by Paul Caffarel and Michele Prochet in 1865 – when they came up with the clever idea of adding ground hazelnuts to the chocolate mix.
Richard Franks has contributed additional reporting to this article.
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