The tour starts and ends in the regional capital of Turin, home to the 2006 Winter Olympics. There are good airline connections to Turin from within Europe including British Airways to London Gatwick and Ryanair to Stansted. There are good train services to Italian cities and across the border into France/Switzerland. Superb and varied walking: Alpine pastures teeming with wildflowers in Spring, pristine lakes surrounded by mountains, pretty vineyards and delightful villages. A slow paced itinerary staying in two delightful hotels. Opportunities to meet with chefs, winemakers and local producers. On occasions we will have our main meal at lunchtime with a lighter meal in a trattoria or winery in the evening.
Meet at the Hotel Concord in Via Lagrange close to Porta Nuova station at 11.30am. Alternatively we can meet you at Turin Airport at 10.30am. Drive (1.5hrs) to the medieval town of Saluzzo, the artistic jewel of Piedmont nestled at the foot of Monviso (3841m). En route we stop to visit Racconigi, the summer palace of the Royal House of Savoy. We spend the next 4 nights in a very comfortable, peaceful, restored Cascina (farmhouse), Antico Podere Propano, just on the edge of town. Dinner this evening is at an elegant restaurant at the Abbey of Staffarda. To read more about the restaurant at Staffarda see our recent Blog.
In the morning we visit the medieval town of Saluzzo before a gentle walk along quiet country lanes and through chestnut woods leads us to the 13th century castle at Manta. After a picnic lunch enjoy a private guided tour of the castle with its delightful frescoes. Later in the day we visit the Cistercian Abbey at Staffarda before dinner in town. (7.3km/4.6miles)
We drive to the Colle di Sampeyre at 2285m from where we descend through open meadows, full of wildflowers in spring, to the 15th century church of Elva with its outstanding frescoes. Mountain and woodland tracks pass through dramatic scenery which is dotted with hamlets suspended in time and lead us down towards the pretty Maira valley. Dinner in a local restaurant. (12km/7.6miles)
A beautiful drive up the fertile Po valley takes us to the foot of Monviso and the source of the river at 2020m. From a mountain refuge we climb up on mountain trails past pristine lakes enjoying magnificent views of Monviso and the Cottian Alps. (6.5km/4.1miles - Approximate ascent/descent 500m). Dinner in a local restaurant in Saluzzo this evening.
A short drive takes us to the pretty medieval town of Cherasco - famous for its many churches, chocolates .... and snails. Continue to La Morra where we indulge in a leisurely lunch at an award-winning restaurant with views over the vineyards. We stay for 3 nights at the charming Corte Gondina hotel in La Morra. Time to relax by the pool or indulge in the new Spa in the afternoon. This evening we meet a local winemaker for an introduction to the fabulous wines of this region.
Our walk leads us from La Morra, along a ridge with open views to the pretty villages of Vergne and Novello. We descend through vineyards to the village of Barolo where the world-class wine of the same name was created in the 19th century. Visit the cellars of one of the local producers and taste their range of wines. October Trip: Later in the day we head into the woods with a local truffle hunter to search, with his dog, for the prized tuber. Dinner this evening in a local restaurant. (7km/4.5miles)
Starting from a village in the foothills of the Alta Langa, we walk through hazelnut groves and vinyards with panoramic views of the Langhe and the snow-capped Alps beyond. Picnic in the countryside near the small town of Monforte d'Alba. Later in the day we visit the pretty regional capital Alba to experience the passegiata and an aperitif followed by dinner at a renowned restaurant. (10km/6.3miles)
Return first to the Porta Nuova station in Turin for 11am and, if required, to the airport for 11.30am.
If you are keen to explore northern Italy, see our other tour in this region: Italian Alps