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Aug 28th, 2012, 06:34 PM
  #1
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Please Help with Trip to the Piedmont

My husband and I (early 60's) are planning a Slow Travel type trip to the Piedmont region of Italy. We have visited Italy several times and now we want to concentrate on the Piedmont particularly for the wines.

We will have about 3 weeks to see Turin, the wine villages and the lakes -- we loved Lake Como and now want to see Lake Maggiore and Lake d'Orta. Would love suggestions on what to see and how best to structure this trip.

Here is a very rough plan:

Turin -- 1 week, lots of museums etc. that we want to see, includes day trips to Fenestrelle Fortress and also Aosta

Piedmont wine villages -- rent a car and base ourselves in Alba for 1 week to visit wineries and villages at a slow pace

The Lakes -- return car and take public transportation, base ourselves in Stresa for 1 week to see the islands and villas, take a day trip to Locarno

It seems that Milan would be the best airport to fly home. Is there any public transportation from Stresa to Malpensa airport? We would prefer not to spend a night in Milan since we have visited there several times.

Greatly appreciate any suggestions on B&Bs, wineries, logistics etc. Thanks!
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Aug 28th, 2012, 08:05 PM
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Personally, I would put Torino at the end of your trip, so that you could see more of Valle d'Aosta than just the town of Aosta. I would fly to Milan, take a train to Aosta, and then rent a car in Aosta, tour the alps, and then go to Alba/Asti. It is less than 2 hours to drive from the valle d'Aosta to Alba or Asti, on very good roads, even in winter.


However, if you want to see Lago d'Orta, it is best to have a car there. So I would order the trip this way:

Fly to Milan, take a train to Aosta.

See Aosta, have a rest, rent a car to visit the valleys like Rhemes, or visit Mont Blanc or the Gran Paradiso park.

Drive to Lago d'Orta (2 hours)

Drive to Alba (2 hours) --- visit the wine country

Go to Torino, drop off the car, see Torino

Take the train to Stresa/Lago Maggiore (which is actually in Lombardia)

Take a bus from Stresa to Malpensa airport.

I think to spend a week in Stresa is a very long time, so you could spend 3 days there and give the rest of the time to Aosta and lago d'Orta.

If you really like to drink wine, you should stay someplace where you dont have to drive home after dinner. There are many such places in Piemonte. The wines of Piemonte are some of the most serious internationally, and you will need to make appointments to visit the best wineries. You can talk ahead of time with your local wine seller for reommendations. You can also go on wine tours.


Lago Maggiore is actually in Lombardia, not Piemonte. That's a just a small detail
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Aug 29th, 2012, 06:32 AM
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A nice guide, if you wish to drive is contained in a book "Back Roads Italy" from Eyewitness Travel. I used the route in Piemonte last October. Great wines and great food. Ask your local fine wine store, if you are a frequent customer, for assistance in winery reservations.
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Aug 29th, 2012, 09:34 AM
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Actually, half of Lake Maggiore is in Piedmont, the other half in Lombardy.
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Aug 29th, 2012, 10:05 AM
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Yes, that is true! I mixed that up. Stresa is the Piemonte side.
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Aug 29th, 2012, 12:17 PM
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Am going with you in spirit, Magster2005! If you click on my name, there's some Turin info in the first TR listed. FYI only--you've probably planned your itinerary. Although, the restaurant was pretty special!

Have a wonderful time.
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Aug 29th, 2012, 01:20 PM
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Thanks for the comments. I realize I forgot to say when we will be doing this -- we are planning for late March/early April.

Any suggestions for wine tours or specific wineries to visit? Can I make appointments with wineries directly or is it better to go with a tour or make a contact via my local wine store (not sure how this will work since I live in PA. where we have state-run wine stores, but maybe they can help me out).

stracciatella -- Thanks for your thoughts on reordering our trip. I do like the idea of spending time in and around Aosta. We will actually be coming from Paris by train, so we could arrive in Turin, take the 2-hr train to Aosta and then follow your recommended sequence.

Or I am thinking we could do a day trip to Lago d'Orta from Stresa which would allow us to do a sequence like this:

Turin (stay) -- train or drive to Aosta (stay) -- drive to Alba (stay) -- return car to Turin and take train to Stresa (stay) -- bus to Malpensa
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Aug 29th, 2012, 02:13 PM
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We found this guide helpful:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/200...nk-italy/print

We almost made it through the list.
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Aug 29th, 2012, 04:26 PM
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Marija -- thank you so much! Just one more reason to look forward to Turin -- we will definitely hit a few. Great tip!
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Aug 29th, 2012, 04:43 PM
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In March or April I don't know how many buses go to Lago d'Orta from Stresa. Make sure to check.

There is a very nice place to stay in Torino called Residenza Saachi that is apartments, and it is not hard to park a car there if you need to. It is right next to the train station too. There are many historic cafes and food shops nearby. You are a 15 minute walk to the Palazzo Madama and the museums.

Aosta will be very cold in Spring, and it could snow. But because there is skiing, there is lots of warm food, and the roads are cleared. If you are going to wineries in Piemonte, you need to pay attention to the weather, because sometimes the wineries are on dirt roads which get very muddy if it rains a lot. If the roads are steep, it is hard to drive on them.
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Nov 24th, 2012, 07:43 PM
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Mag...suggest a good base for you just outside of Alba...Villa la Favorita. We loved it, on a recommendation from EKSCrunchy. Roberta the owner, ia very pleasant and so knowledgeable about the wineries in the region and everything else. There are numerous villages with wineries and Alba or Asti make fine bases. Alba the town is very convenient, a true walking town, with inviting restaurants and wine bars.
We were there in fall after harvest and the weather was very comfortable. no rain.

At Lake Orta, we liked the Hotel Orta as did several other Fodorites, but I understand it has closed. Very easy, short drive from Orta to Stresa and Lago Maggiore...I woukld take a few days away from Stresa and vicinity and tack them on to Alba and vicinity, or Aosta.

stu
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Nov 25th, 2012, 02:24 PM
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The hotel and attached restaurant of Ca d'Lupo in Montelupo Albese - just above Alba was one of the most memorable hotels and restaurants in several trips to Italy. Contemporary style hotel and outstanding food and wine (at a discount to hotel guests). We did eat in Alba, but had to go easy on the wine (too bad)because of the drive back up the hill. If we returned I'd stay a night or two at Ca d'Lupo and then right in Alba (which we liked more than Asti) and walk back to the hotel in this delightful small city after enjoying a bottle of wine -- and maybe a grappa.

I'm a bit confused about your itinerary. Consider the frequent and very nice bus from Malpenza to Torino (where you don't need or want a car). We stayed at the Hotel Orta (too bad it's closed but with its location just off the piazza, I can't imagine someone else hasn't picked it up. And by the way, you have to park your car up the hill from the town.) We had an easy ride from Orta to Malpenza for the flight home.

I agree that Orta is worth two days at most: the island, the Sacre Monte and that's about it. Same with Stresa. I'd consider spending more time in Piedmonte - La Morra; perhaps Novara.
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Nov 25th, 2012, 02:47 PM
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http://www.eataly.it/

Turin has the original store and it hasn't lost any of its drive.

Still offers some of the best food available for the mass market, just take plenty cash.

Way time of year are you visiting? Alba's truffle festival in October is a good time to visit.
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Nov 26th, 2012, 07:29 PM
  #14
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Thanks to everybody for the helpful comments! I have reworked the plan a bit. Because of the time of the year, we decided not to include Aosta (but perhaps do a day trip just to get up into the mountains for a few hours).

The new plan is:

Turin (9 nights) -- I booked Residenza Saachi -- thanks stracciatella!

Alba (5 nights) -- So glad to hear all the good reports on Alba, have booked a place called La terrazza sulle torri within walking distance of the town center. Will be nice for my husband to have some meals where he can drink wine without having to drive.

North of Asti (4 nights) -- booked an Agriturismo called Tenuta Polledro

Stresa (4 nights) -- found a day tour to Lake d'Orta with Maggiore Discovery. Also verified that we can take a bus from Stresa to Malpensa.

Any particular villages we should plan to visit in the Alba/Asti area?
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Nov 26th, 2012, 08:00 PM
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I was going to recommend that you stay on Lake Maggiore and drive up to Lake Orta for lunch. Why do you need a tour? It's a short drive and a very small lake. Take a boat out to the island. Eat lunch in town.
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Nov 26th, 2012, 08:02 PM
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I would keep the car for Lake Maggiore., easy driving unlike Lake Como.
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Nov 27th, 2012, 06:13 AM
  #17
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HappyTrvlr -- Thanks so much for the suggestion to keep the car til the end. Makes perfect sense. As a rule, we prefer public transportation, but for this trip, a car will be much better. Will run it by my husband, the driver.
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Nov 27th, 2012, 11:02 AM
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We spent a week in the Piemonte near Alba this year and enjoyed it so much. There were very few tourists.
The food, wine, scenery and hospitality were all wonderful.
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Nov 27th, 2012, 11:18 AM
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I'm not sure how close to the Alba/Asti area you want to stay, but if you're interested in Barolo wines, then you should head down that way, to the Barolo-producting towns. Towns that we enjoyed were Monforte d'Alba (primarily because we stayed at a B&B in this town), Barolo, La Morra, Serralunga d'Alba.
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Nov 27th, 2012, 06:55 PM
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A short drive from Alba is the small town of Barbaresco with wonderful restaurants and wineries. Highly recommend the wines at Boffa. North of Alba is the wines of Tenuta Carreta in the town of Canale. An excellent restaurant are located there also.

If you are going to Alba in Oct., during the first weekend in that month, the donkey races are held. Was one of out trips highlights as well as the first truffle tasting of the season. Prior to the race, which is a spoof of the Palio race in Asti, a grand procession is held in the streets of Alba.
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