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Piedmonte/Ligurian Coast Itinerary Help


Jul 29th, 2013, 12:31 PM
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Piedmonte/Ligurian Coast Itinerary Help

First I'd like to thank everyone who replied to my questions regarding our Italy itinerary a month ago. We have narrowed down some options and I would love to get more feedback.

My husband and I are headed to Italy for our first time in early October. We only have 7 days (not including travel time) to explore so we have to keep our trip pretty concise. We are flying out of Denver, CO on Thursday October 3 and arrive in Milan (Linate) at 6:00 pm on Friday the 4th. From there, our itinerary is open. We had hoped to hit up Tuscany and Cinque Terre, but after we got some great feedback from this forum, we changed our minds a bit. We figured Tuscany would have to wait until we had a full trip devoted to it.

We are a very active, 30-something couple with no kids and want to do some hiking/more adventurous travel, wine tasting/drinking and exploring the Italy's culinary scene. (not interested in the arts, cities or museums)- We prefer to visit remote quaint pastoral, farmlands or seaside village to enjoy beautiful landscapes and views.

We are considering driving from Milan Friday night to the Piedmonte area, spending Friday night through Monday or Tuesday in Piedmonte to hike, explore, enjoy the fall food festivals and wineries, etc- would like to stay at an agritourism inn or rent a farmhouse in Piedmonte to cook for ourselves (suggestions for where to stay welcome!)

Then head to Santa Margherita and spend Tuesday through Thursday exploring the Ligurian coast- hiking Cinque Terre or other parks in that area, etc.

We could drive back on Friday to Milan (thinking about driving from CT/La Spezia to Parma or Reggio Emilia for a day and then heading into Milan in the evening)- flight is out of Milan on Saturday at 1:00 pm.

Based on our preferences- culinary taste of Italy/wineries, hiking, combo of adventure and some relaxation- with the amount of time that we have, does this seem like a good start? Many people on this forum have cautioned us against CT, due to the fact that it's touristy and the weather could be problematic for hiking in October, and we aren't set on CT, but would like to spend a few days on the Ligurian coast, so we are open to suggestions.

We will rent a car- and one more thing, I am a vegetarian so my only concern is if the culinary scene in Piedmonte is veggie-friendly (a wine distributor we know said it was not- eek)

Sorry for the lengthy post Thanks in advance for advice.
LisaMP is offline  
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Jul 29th, 2013, 01:02 PM
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I am a vegetarian and ate quite well in Piedmont. I eat fish when I am on the sea, so I paid less attention in Liguria, but in general, it is very vegetarian friendly. I always check out cookbooks from a region so I know specialties to look for. Check out my trip reports, as I visited the region and had a similar time frame:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...or-liguria.cfm (note restaurants in Piedmont)
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-and-lucca.cfm (as you may be interested in hiking in Montemarcello).

One word of warning that I know others may mention as well: after 24 hours of travel, there is no way I'd be in any condition to drive a car. Unless you fly first class with a bed, you may not want to drive away from the airport. Perhaps you could do one night in Milan to start since you can arrive back to Milan the morning of your not-early return flight. Alternatively, you could take a train to your first destination and rent a car there.

There are scads of posts here about Asti and Alba, and I can think of no better way to get a first taste of the Piedmont.

In October, you can play it by ear for hiking--just check the weather. You may find the crowds are not bad at CT in October, but note there is Portofino park and above-mentioned Montemarcello for the hiker, all within easy distance of SML.
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Jul 29th, 2013, 01:37 PM
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I would advise against trying to drive upon arrival at 6pm. At that time of year, you don't have a lot of daylight left, and should you be delayed, or if the weather is rainy, it doesn't make sense, really.

Milan is one of Italy's great food and wine towns, so I suggest sleeping there your first night and having a nice saffron risotto. Then I would suggest making the Riviera your first stop, partly to maximize your good weather chances and also because so many good restaurants in Piemonte are closed Sunday and Monday.

Santa Margherita Ligure is fine but there is better access to hiking in Camogli. But if you prefer Santa Margherita Ligure, hikes are easy from there as well. As a vegetarian, it is absolutely worth your while to visit the town of Chiavari and eat farinata at Luchin (closed Sundays). Also, don-t leave the Riviera without eating the Ligurian specialty of pansoti con noci -- which are a kind of ravioli stuffed with wild greens and served with a walnut sauce -- is great food and usually available everywhere. Stuffed vegetables -- verdure ripiene -- are also a good vegetarian dish, as is the classic minestrone Genovese (vegetable soup served with a dollop of pesto). In October, be on the lookout for mushrooms, sometimes served raw, sliced paper thin with shaving of hard cheese and olive oil, or grilled/sauteed and served over potatoes (or in pasta dishes).

You can rent a car in Rapallo, or you could take the train to someplace like Alba or Asti and rent the car there. One of the reasons I suggest going to Liguria first is that it is easier to get back to Milan's airports from Piemonte. You can stay in a town like Vercelli your last night -- it's the rice producing capital of Italy -- and drive yourself to the airport the next morning.

If you want to make the most of your experience of Piemonte wines and food, given the fact you are a vegetarian, I would head for Piemonte's cheese producing areas. There you can indulge in the rich reds of Piemonte without eating meat. You can use Google Translate to get a translation of this website if you need one


and this


Piemonte has an array of wonderful vegetarian options for appetizers (antipasti), lots of veg friendly pasta options, and extraordinary dishes like eggs and truffles, and many mushroom dishes. It is very common in Piemonte for people to order a cheese plate as their main dish (secondo). Also, Piemonte's hazelnut desserts are filled with good nutrition, and taste fabulous.

But your wine distributor is not exactly wrong in warning you about the fundamentals of Piemonte eating, which are very meat oriented in restaurants. But you can make it work.
stevewith is offline  
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Jul 29th, 2013, 01:49 PM
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This agriturismo in Piemonte might be perfect for you, but look up reviews because I have never stayed here. It is well located


Regarding flying out of Malpensa, this agriturismo which produces wine and cheese and has a restaurant, is a 40 minute drive from the airport




There are lots of places like this near the airport.
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Jul 29th, 2013, 02:25 PM
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Yorkshire and Steve- thank you so much! WOW! Both responses are SOOOOOO helpful- you have both gotten me very excited already about my trip- we will absolutely look into spending Friday night in Milan (I guess I was too excited planning and wanted to get somewhere immediately, but a night of rest is probably a good idea!)
We are not set on Santa Margherita (really just want a nice seaside-ish town with easy access to hiking), so we will look into Camogli, as well as look into hiking Montemarchello.
I can't get over how helping you both were- much gratitude!
Yorkshire, I'll check out your posts
And Steve, I think you were the first one to mention Piedmonte in my previous post, so thanks for giving us the idea in the first place!
LisaMP is offline  
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Jul 29th, 2013, 02:37 PM
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Hope you have a great trip. I noticed that I gave you a link that didn't work, so here it is again. The name of the agriturismo is I Tre Poggi (3 little hillsides). They would work with you in giving you vegetarian meals, and serve organic wines

stevewith is offline  
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Jul 29th, 2013, 02:58 PM
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You can scarcely go wrong--good luck and have fun planning!
yorkshire is offline  
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Aug 4th, 2013, 03:35 AM
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Lisa, if you come and visit Piemonte, pls do not forget the wonderful Lakes Maggiore and Orta.You can explore this area (approx. 50 Km. from Milan) and visit magnificent gardens by the lake (such as Villa Taranto and Villa Pallavicino). You can also find here the Sacred Mountains (Unesco) such as the Sacro Monte di Orta (which is dedicated to the life of S. Francesco d’Assisi and offers a stunning panorama over the Lake. In the Lake Maggiore area you should see the Borromean Islands near Stresa and the quite impressive colossus of San Carlo overlooking the village of Arona.The town of Stresa is definitely the pearl of Lake Maggiore, the main attraction in this region.Moreover in the area of these lakes you can find various valleys (Valsesia, Val d’Ossola, Val Vigezzo….) which are the ideal starting point for walking and out-of-doors activities.I live near Malpensa Airport, I can suggest you http://www.casavioletta.it/; I have never been here, but all reviews are very positive http://www.tripadvisor.it/Hotel_Revi..._Piedmont.html
Have a nice stay.
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