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The Piedmont region of northwestern Italy is a food and wine lover’s paradise, home to the heady Barolo and Nebbiolo wines, fresh truffles, and hearty pasta and meat dishes. It also has some of the most dramatic scenery in Italy, with verdant vineyards stretching out for miles along the undulating hills while the snow-capped peaks of the Alps rise up on the horizon. Walk on quiet country trails along a mountain stream or past endless vineyards or a stand of hazelnut trees, and then linger over a delicious lunch of local specialties. We begin in the sophisticated city of Torino and then spend two nights each in quiet country inns and elegant boutique hotels that will make you want to unpack and stay a while. Of course, we’ll have a few wine tastings, plus a cooking class, and an exciting morning looking for truffles with a local truffle-hunting dog! This new walking tour explores the castles, wineries, and charming hilltop villages of this beautiful region. (1 night Torino, 2 nights Cremolino, 2 nights Canale, 2 nights Monforte d'Alba)
Piedmont Walk itinerary
Independent arrival Torino
Make your way to Torino and take some time to explore this elegant small city. You may enjoy visiting the Museum of Cinema which is located in the city’s most unique building, the Mole Antonelliana (check out the exceptional view from the rooftop!), or the Egyptian Museum, which houses the best collection in Europe. Dinner is on your own tonight to allow for a relaxed first night. Hotel included. Dinner not included.
Castles and Vineyards of the Monferrato
We have a 1.5 hour transfer this morning into the countryside to begin our first walk through the vineyards, forests, and small towns of the Monferrato region. The area was ruled by the Malaspina noble family for centuries, and their castles dot the hilltops surrounding us as we walk. Stop for a tasty lunch of local specialties before continuing on to the Casa Wallace, where Claudio and Sarah welcome us to their charming boutique hotel tucked into the vineyards below the small town of Cremolino. They lovingly transformed a centuries' old farmhouse into a haven of peace and respect for nature, from their organic garden to the sustainable materials used in their bed linens and cleaning products. What's more, it's a bio-dynamic winery! So relax by the pool or simply admire the view from the terrace this afternoon before or following Claudio into the cellar for a tour and tasting of their organic wines. This is “Kilometer Zero” at its best! We dine “at home” under the stars in the central courtyard. Overnight Cremolino. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Val Gargassa canyon hike
Get off the beaten track today on our hike in the Beigua Regional Park, which extends just over the border with Liguria into the Apennine Mountains. Walk on a quiet trail along a crystal-clear river that has carved out unusual channels in the surrounding conglomerate rock walls. Stop for a picnic along the banks of the river and then return to your hotel. Time permitting, we’ll also visit the castle of Cremolino, the highest in the region with a view of 14 other neighbouring castles. Tonight we take advantage of their traditional wood-fired pizza oven to prepare pizzas using their home-made dough and local organic produce, cheese, and meats. Enjoy your meal with one of the wines produced on the property or with an excellent local craft beer. Indeed, Piedmont is known as the brewing capital of Italy and is home to many outstanding small breweries. Yet another reason to love Piedmont! Overnight Cremolino. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Special cheese lunch and transfer to the Roero region
Transfer west this morning for a lovely walk past hazelnut groves, through a pine forest, and then into a sea of vineyards. We stop for lunch at a rustic farmhouse and are welcomed by Silvio and his wife, who are passionate about food and the culinary traditions of their native region. They have dedicated their lives to preserving the local knowledge regarding cheese production and animal husbandry, and have interviewed dozens of octogenarians to learn their recipes and techniques. They now produce organic cheeses that are sought after throughout the region and can even be found at some Michelin-starred restaurants. You will meet some of Silvio’s 35 milking sheep and enjoy five different cheeses during lunch that also features the most delicious tomatoes from his garden. Afterwards, a short transfer takes you across the Tanaro River into the Roero region for an afternoon walk that leads us to a winery where we enjoy a little tasting. Our hotel for the next two nights is a magnificent 18th century villa that offers sweeping views across the vineyard-clad hills of the Roero. The villa was accompanied by a barn and a farm manager's house, all of which was purchased by the neighbouring Malvira winery and transformed into a chic boutique hotel with multiple terraces and a swimming pool. It is the perfect place to soak up the beauty of the surrounding countryside. Overnight Villa Tiboldi near Canale. Hotel, breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
The villages of the Roero
This morning you walk between the hilltop villages of Santo Stefano Roero and Montà. Along the way you pass a dramatic landscape of clay and sandstone gorges that rise and fall between the hilltop villages, each of which boasts a castle that once belonged to the noble Roero family. Once again we have a fabulous lunch for you at a small agriturismo that serves up dishes using its own organic produce. Afterwards we visit the fascinating Castello di Monteu, whose history starts in 1041. History has of course left its trace on the castle, and amazingly it was a private residence until the 1950s. The area is also honeycombed with tunnels that were excavated by the locals, both for storage and as hideaways in times of banditry and war. We return to the warm embrace of the Villa Tiboldi to enjoy a little downtime before dinner. Overnight Villa Tiboldi. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Barolo & La Morra
Feast your eyes and your senses today as you walk through the vineyards surrounding the world-famous town of Barolo. Our trail takes you above the town for spectacular views onto its brightly painted medieval castle and colourful houses. We gradually walk down into the village to tuck into a delicious lunch paired with (of course!) a glass of Barolo wine. Afterwards, we continue south to our elegant hotel in Monforte d'Alba, which offers commanding views over the countryside beyond. After a bit of downtime, embark on another culinary adventure as we have a fabulous cooking class at a nearby winery. Overnight Monforte d'Alba. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Depart on foot this morning for a beautiful walk past vineyards and farmhouses to meet today’s special guest, a friendly truffle-hunting dog who will show us the secrets of finding this rare culinary treasure. Prized since ancient times, these underground "tubers" live in symbiosis with the roots of the local trees and develop a heady aroma and flavor that evoke the richness of the earth itself. The precious white truffle is so rare (it can't be cultivated) that it sells for around $5,000 per pound! So of course a friendly canine with a sensitve snout is necessary for locating them under the layers of leaves and moss, and we'll accompany our four-legged friend as she roams the woods in search of treasure. After our walk, settle in for a home-cooked meal featuring Piedmont's signature dish, homemade egg tagliatelle with shavings of truffle. Hopefully the truffle will be from today's hunt. Overnight Monforte d'Alba. Hotel, breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Day 8 – Saturday: Departures to the Alba train station
Morning goodbyes and shuttle to the Alba train station, about an hour by train from Turin (Torino) and Genoa. Breakfast and one group transfer included.
Activity Level 2 = Easy to Moderate:
In general: This is an Easy to Moderate tour for fit hikers, and with some effort do-able for not-so-fit hikers.
Terrain: Flat to gently rolling terrain with some rocky areas. Perhaps some short, relatively steep climbs and descents, but nothing longer than 20 minutes of sustained climbing or descents.
Actual walking time: Between 2-4 hours per day, mostly in the morning but sometimes also in the afternoon.
Distances: Usually between 7 and 10 kms/4.5 and 6 miles. Max distance is 12 kms/7 miles.
Surfaces: Trails consisting of mostly compact earth, gravelly earth, and sometimes dirt-gravel roads.
Footing: Easy/good. Proper hiking shoes with thick soles with good treads are required. Sport sandals, running shoes and tennis shoes are not adequate.
Specifics: Most of the walks are on good trails, but there are a few parts on rocky stretches and a few steep climbs, so be expecting a few challenges but mostly easy walking. Flat to rolling terrain, with daily activity between 2.5 - 4 hours. Max distance 12 kms. We also spend time walking in the beautiful villages that we visit, so you'll get plenty of excercise.
Hiking Poles: Not required, but if you habitually use hiking poles then you will find them helpful.
Compared to the Cinque Terre: This tour is significantly easier than the hikes in the Cinque Terre.
Other: This tour is appropriate for fit, first-time “hikers” who enjoy walking.
Easy to Moderate Tours: Puglia & Basilicata, Piedmont Walk. All of our boat–based tours in Turkey, Croatia, and Greece Dodecanese Islands would be “easy to moderate” IF you decide to skip the one or two of the more challenging hikes. Note: on our boat-based tours we usually do a walk in the morning, return to the boat for a swim and then lunch, then cruise, and then occasionally drop off for late afternoon hike. Your guides of course can advise you of the difficulty level and the terrain and footing of each walk.
Trip Cost includes: Accommodation for 7 nights (1 night Torino, and 2 nights each in Cremolino, Canale, and Monforte d'Alba); 7 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 6 dinners; bilingual Customwalks guide(s) to accompany the tour and lead you on the walks; guided visits and transfers as per itinerary; all luggage transfers from pick-up in Torino on Day 2 to Saturday morning Day 8.
Booking: Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a booking contract (or use the 'Contact Us' link at the top of this page), or click on the 'Book Now' button to the right.
Insurance: We highly recommend the purchase of Trip Insurance. We recommend “Travel Guard” to our North American clients, just click on the logo below. Australian, New Zealander, and British travelers, please consult your insurance brokers.
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Getting to the start of the trip: The most convenient airport to the beginning of the trip is Torino (Turin in English), but Milan is a good option if you’re flying directly from overseas. Both of these airports have regular flights to and from other European gateway airports such as London, Frankfurt and Paris, and Milan is only 1-1.5 hrs from Torino by train.
Getting away at the end of the trip: we provide one group transfer to the Alba train station for connections to Torino or Milan, timed for 10 a.m. departures.
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