Piedmont, Italy, a Fodor's Go List 2015 destination, should be on every traveler’s radar. Whether you’re looking to indulge in great wine, experience culture, or just want what every traveler desires in Italy—amazing food—Piedmont can’t be missed. As excitement around this northwestern region of Italy continues to build, here are five reasons you should PLAN YOUR TRIP now.
From Nebbiolo to Moscato, there are grape varieties for every wine drinker in Piedmont—and very good ones at that. Whether you’re an occasional wine drinker or an oenophile, the region lives up to its “grape expectations.”
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With thousands of wineries in the region, it’s hard to choose which ones to visit. For great selections and incredible views at one of the largest private vineries in all of Piedmont, make sure to visit Marenco, the family-run, 200-plus-acre vineyard located on the hills of Monferrato.
One of the best things about Piedmont is that it’s easy to get to. Travelers can fly directly into Turin, the largest city in Piedmont, or take the train from various points in Italy, and depending on where you’re going within the region, Milan is only an hour away by car or train.
But, the streets through the area—especially in the smaller towns—are not for the fainthearted. The narrow and windy roads are often closed due to flooding, so if you’re a nervous driver, or just want to enjoy an abundance of wine, it’s recommended you hire a driver. A Piedmont local, Sonia Speroni, offers transfers and will also plan local winery and food tours in English.
As if wine isn’t tempting enough, the region’s abundance of truffles will make any foodie salivate. The town of Alba, which hosts the internationally famous truffle fair Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco every fall, may be the most well-known area for truffles, but you can get your fix in the surrounding areas as well for a more reasonable cost.
In the town of Gavi, just eighty kilometers east of Alba, you can experience truffle hunting with a trained dog and celebrate your finds with great wine at Il Poggio di Gavi.
Even if Piedmont didn’t have great wine and food, travelers would fall in love with the area’s countryside, which was recently granted UNESCO World Heritage status. The sprawling vineyards go on forever, and medieval villages seem to pop up out of nowhere.
Fulfill your dream of living in the Middle Ages at a guesthouse in Castello di Tagliolo, which dates back to 976 and also makes its own wine. While you’re there, make sure to climb the highest tower in the castle—you’ll not only be able to work off some of the delicious Italian food consumed, but you can also observe spectacular views of the area, including five other castles visible from the tower.
For now, the up-and-coming area is much more affordable than its Italian wine-region sisters, such as Tuscany, so take advantage of it. At local restaurants you can find a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and many lodging options are easy on the wallet.
If you’re looking for a resort feel, you can stay at Villa Sparina Resort in Gavi, starting at less than $200 a night. If you’re looking for a more intimate experience, check out Airbnb, through which many local wineries offer accommodations right on their vineyards (and give guests complementary wine).