The tour starts and ends in the regional capital of Turin, home to the 2006 Winter Olympics and celebrating 150 years of Italian Unification in 2011.
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 ATA Hotel Concord in Via Lagrange close to Porta Nuova station at 11.30am or Turin Airport at 12.30pm. 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. Welcome drink before dinner in a local restaurant.
In the morning a gentle walk along quiet country lanes and farm tracks leads us to the 12th century Cistercian abbey at Staffarda. After a picnic lunch we drive to Manta and enjoy a facinating tour of the 13th century Castle with its delightful frescoes. Optional walk back to Saluzzo in the afternoon, or return to the hotel by van. Time to explore the medieval town of Saluzzo before dinner. (7km/4.4miles + 7.3km/4.6miles)
A beautiful drive up the fertile Po valley takes us to the foot of Monviso and the pristine source of the river at 2020m. From a mountain refuge we follow good trails up past mountain lakes with impressive views of Monviso and the Ligurian Alps. (From 6.5km/4miles). If the weather is unsuitable for a high level walk an alternative will be offered. We are welcomed for dinner at a farm in the hills near Saluzzo.
We drive to the Colle di Sampeyre at 2285m from where we decend through open meadows, full of wildflowers in the 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 to the pretty Maira Valley. Fabulous dinner at the Abbey of Staffarda. (16km/10miles)
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. 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 decend 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. (9.5km/6miles)
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. we are welcomed for lunch at a local farm producing wine and an incredible range of cheeses, near the town of Monforte d'Alba. Time to relax in the afternoon before visiting the pretty regional capital Alba to experience the passegiata and an aperitif followed by dinner at a local Slow Food restaurant. (10km/6.3miles)
Return to Turin airport for 11.00am
If you are keen to explore northern Italy, see our other tour in this region: Italian Alps