Hiking, Trekking and Walking Tours with local guide
Why hike in Piedmont in Italy?
For an authentic Italian experience, Piemonte is off the beaten path
Although more and more people are hearing about Piemonte and coming to visit, the region remains quite undiscovered (whether or not Piemonte fans wish to hear this); anyplace in Italy that isn’t Rome, Venice, or Florence is still off the beaten path. Yes, “authentic” is a loaded word in this Rick Steves world of tourism, but in Piemonte, the rhythms of Italian life, uninterrupted by tourists, can be found everywhere: from the corner bar where the same folks grab their thrice-daily caffé to the local sacre and festivals that almost always revolve around food and wine.
Piemonte has a mix of small towns and big city, mountain and field, rural and suburban that will round out your trip
Those villages and small town festivals are charming, but for many travelers (especially those coming long distance), a well-rounded trip must include a variety of landscapes and experiences. Piemonte offers everything but the sea. It starts out with Alpine villages and snowy peaks in the northwest bordering on France, and a scattering of lakes in the northeastern Lakes District; Piemonte’s and once Italy’s capital city, Turin, an elegant urban center where Ancient Roman, Baroque, and art nouveau mingle with repurposed industrial warehouses, electronic dance festivals, and well-curated wine shops and cocktail bars; perfectly-tended hills covered in a patchwork of vineyards and poplar trees in the south; and untamed forests and fields bordering the southeastern edges of Piemonte.
You’ll get a taste of world-class wine and wine country
One of the most memorable experiences that Italy gives its visitors is its cuisine, and this comes hand-in-hand with the revelation that wine is inseparable from it — whether you’re an eager beginner, an enthusiastic wino, or a burgeoning sommelier. There is no better place to learn this than in Piemonte, because here there are truly some of the world’s best wines: Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Dolcetto, Pelaverga, Arneis, Erbaluce, Moscato, and Gavi, to name a few. Check out this Indispensable Guide to Piemonte and Its Wines for a quick overview on the top wines and grapes, and head over to Girl’s Gotta Drink for a more in-depth, first-hand look at wine country.
Come for the food
For any true Italian food lover, it’s old news that Italy’s regions all offer different specialties. Italians themselves haven’t tasted all the dishes of their own country: many born-and-bred Piemontesi will have never tasted a classic fave e bietole from Puglia if they haven’t traveled there, nor will a Roman have tasted pizzoccheri alla valtellinesi from Lombardy. Come to Piemonte to taste these dishes in top form: tajarin made with 30 egg yolks, rich, savory agnolotti del plin, pungent bagna cauda anchovy-garlic dip, delicate torta di nocciole made from hazelnuts, and white truffles straight from the source.
If you’re an architecture buff, Turin’s art nouveau will enchant you
“Liberty style,” as art nouveau is called in Italy, swept through Piemonte’s capital city in the early 1900s, and several prominent Torinese architects embraced it, turning the city into the “Liberty capital” of Italy. This can be seen in the curving lines and floral motifs, stenciled designs, stained glass windows, elegant entryways, and countless other details throughout the city. The Cit Turin neighborhood has some of the most famous examples; other great spots to sightsee Liberty are along Via Pietro Micca and across the River Po. Check out more art nouveau sightseeing spots in Turin here.
And if you’re a history buff, Turin offers a treasure trove of museums and cultural stops - as does the rest of the region
The Egyptian Museum, newly refurbished and renovated in 2015, is the world’s second-largest Egyptian museum after Cairo’s. The National Cinema Museum is housed in the city’s symbolic structure, the distinctive needle-tipped Mole Antonelliana building, and is a fun and interactive museum full of history, pop-culture, and cinematic displays. The MAO, or Museum of Oriental Arts, is another unexpected gem and a far cry from the endless though beautiful museums of Italian masterpieces found in Rome and Florence. Valentino Park holds a replica of a medieval village and castle that visitors can walk through. A tour of the Museum of Pietro Micca recounts the forgotten past when Turin was laid out in a defensive starburst form, ending with a walk through the dark passageways running underneath the city streets. And in addition to Turin’s offerings, the region is dotted with castles and fortresses, testimony to the area’s importance as a border region and seat of the royal Savoy empire for centuries: the majestic Sacra di San Michele (the region’s symbol), and the Forts of Bard, Fenestrelle, and Gavi are some spectacular examples.
Piemonte is a winter wonderland
Did you think those stunning Alps were there just for show? Hidden in those snowy reaches you’ll find guided snowshoeing excursions, structures for renting everything from Alpine mountaineering equipment to your classic skis, and endless trails and routes to follow. For skiing, head to Via Lattea, an international ski area formed by five Italian ski stations: Sestriere, Sauze d’Oulx, San Sicario, Cesana Torinese, and Claviere, as well as one French: Montgénévre; or the Ossola Valley, at the extreme northern point of Piemonte before the Swiss border. Bardonecchia is a short train ride from Turin, and offers everything from skiing to ciaspole, or showshoes. And don’t forget to enjoy your vin brulé afterwards!
And of course: there is incredible hiking in the Alps, in and around Turin, and through wine country.
The best way to get to know a place is by foot. This goes without saying here, but Piemonte is not lacking for incredible hikes, surrounded by plenty of mountains, forests, national parks, vineyards, and cute Italian towns -- from red-roofed villas in wine country to slate-shingled stone homes in the Alpine foothills.There are several Strade del Vino, or Wine Roads – from Barolo (Strada del Barolo e dei Grandi Vini delle Langhe) to Alto Monferrato (Strada dei Vini dell’Alto Monferrato). And throughout the region, keep an eye out for the red and white stripes that indicate the trails: red and white for Piemonte’s coat of arms, which is that of the royal Savoy family crest (technically a red cross on a silver background), used since 1424.
The best way to get to know a place is by foot. This goes without saying here, but Piemonte is not lacking for incredible hikes, surrounded by plenty of mountains, forests, national parks, vineyards, and cute Italian towns — from red-roofed villas in wine country to slate-shingled stone homes in the Alpine foothills.There are several Strade del Vino, or Wine Roads – from Barolo (Strada del Barolo e dei Grandi Vini delle Langhe) to Alto Monferrato (Strada dei Vini dell’Alto Monferrato). And throughout the region, keep an eye out for the red and white stripes that indicate the trails: red and white for Piemonte’s coat of arms, which is that of the royal Savoy family crest (technically a red cross on a silver background), used since 1424.
It’s the land of Slow Food
If you hold any interest in sustainable living, artisan food products, and in the small businesses that uphold age-old traditions through ancient cheesemaking practices or heritage varieties of produce grown by only a handful of farmers, you’ll find that many others in Piemonte share your passion. While food traditions are being upheld all over Italy, the modern movement to protect these traditions in the face of a fast-changing society, processed foods, and monocultures started with Carlo Petrini, a native of Piemonte who founded the now-international organization Slow Food.
Piemonte is home to many iconic Italian brands that the world knows and loves - pay homage to your favorite by visiting
Nutella. Lavazza. Vermouth. Slow Food. Espresso itself! The famous moka pot! Campari (for all you Negroni-lovers). Eataly. Piemonte regularly churns out products and brands that quickly catch on internationally. Make a pilgrimage to the region where many Made In Italy items have their origins; and who knows? Maybe you’ll even catch wind of the next big Piemontese thing to go global.