Piedmont is Italy’s second-largest region and is home to some of the best wine and cheese you will ever get your taste buds on. Surrounded on three sides by the Alps, and bordered by Switzerland and France, this region is utterly unique when it comes to its cuisine. From rich and savoury dishes and tannin-heavy wines to world-renowned beef, there’s nowhere better to eat on a luxury Italian escape. Often overshadowed by famous regions like Tuscany, or Lombardy and Veneto (home to tourist honeypots like Lake Garda and Venice respectively), Piedmont is one of Italy’s hidden gems. Like a well-kept secret, it’s often frequented only by those who are really in the know.
Lake Maggiore, also bisected by the border with Lombardy, puts this region on the map. But it’s the Slow Food and fine wine that really makes Piedmont such a special place in many people’s hearts. And as the land of contrasts, with tall peaks covered in powdery snow and stylish ski resorts to its charming rice paddies and old farmhouses, there’s a backdrop for every type of traveller.
Fall in love with the medieval castles and grand architecture, check into a luxury spa or golf resort, go hunting for truffles and taste the best of Italian caviar, or soak up the sun at one of the quaint fishing villages. Whatever you plan on doing, we can help you customize your perfect Piedmont holiday.
La Dolce Vita is perhaps the most well-known resort in the lovely Lake District of Piedmont, after the town of Stresa. Known for its stylishly refined crowds, large yet elegant hotels and its gorgeous luxury villas, La Dolce Vita is a great place for relaxation. Experience caviar and sparkling wine, private cooking classes, or visit a boutique olive oil farm. From Stresa you can get regular ferries to the beautiful and quirky Borromean Islands, an area loved by Ernest Hemingway.
In the protected Langhe region is Alba, home to Italy’s highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants. This is heaven for a luxury food tour, and it’s also the birthplace of the Slow Food movement as well as the prestigious International Truffle Fair. Other towns in this region worth visiting for unique foodie experiences include Cherasco, Bra, Grinzane Cavour, Neive, Mango, and beautiful Barolo.
We can arrange bespoke Barolo wine tours for those who want to explore the famous Nebbiolo-based wines of this vast region. Other top wine destinations in Piedmont are Franciacorta where guests can indulge in luxury wine tasting and the well-known Valpolicella wine route.
If you dream of being next to the ocean, we recommend spending a few days exploring the sparkling fishing village of Portofino and the string of centuries-old seaside communes of the Cinque Terre coastline.
The summer months are undoubtedly the best time to venture to Piedmont and northern Italy. From June to September, the weather will be hot and dry, providing the perfect climate for beaches, coastal drives or Lake District holidays. This is also the time of year when towns and resorts are at their busiest, promising an electric atmosphere and restaurants and bars that are full of life.
If you’d rather avoid this lively period and want to beat the crowds, travel in the shoulder season instead. Spring (from March to May) is still lovely and warm, particularly in the later months. Or travel in autumn (September to November) when the region is quieter and queues for restaurants and attractions are few. Although winter (December to February) is the chilliest time to visit Piedmont, peace and quiet is promised. And if the evenings should get cold, you’ll have the perfect excuse to warm up with a nice glass of Barolo.
As for winery tours, each season offers its own iteration of beauty. Even in winter when the vineyards are sleeping, they still look wonderfully atmospheric. Be sure to check the dates of northern Italy’s biggest trade shows though. They happen in late winter and it can be hard to schedule a visit during that time.
Although it’s not as well-known as some of the other destinations in Italy, Piedmont is one of the most prolific wine-making regions in the country. Some of the most renowned wines, such as Barolo and Barbaresco, Gavi, Moscato d’Asti and Asti Spumante are made here. There are plenty of local grapes to learn about too. For instance, there’s Arneis, which is a white grape most commonly found in the hills of the Roero, northwest of Alba. It is a much-respected variety and is a part of Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) wines of Roero.
There’s also the Grignolino, a popular red grape variety, known for making light-coloured red wines as well as rosés with incredibly fruity aromas, combined with strong acidity and tannins. Another local grape is Nascetta, native of the Alba area, and cultivated in the Barolo and Novello hills. Over the years, Nascetta has lost its popularity as a table wine and is now grown exclusively and in a very limited way. If you’re looking for a unique local wine to try, this is a fantastic variety to add to your list.
There’s a world of choice when finding the perfect place to stay in this stylish and elegant northern region. We can customize your luxury Piedmont holiday with 5-star accommodation in any town or city you’re visiting. From the glamorous coastline – which rivals the Amalfi with hotels, shops and amenities – to the region’s most coveted wine routes, we can put you up in style.
Let us help you discover the best lakeside resorts with balcony views, family-sized villas with private outdoor space, or vineyard stays with rolling countryside on all sides and access to the best wineries around.
This is the Italian region where cheese and wine rule the table. Where truffles are known as the diamonds of the grounds. And where caviar and sparkling wine go hand in hand with ocean views. Wining and dining is a magical experience, and foodies and wine connoisseurs are always impressed with the restaurant choices.
Head to the city of Alba if you’re a fan of fine dining and modern culinary concepts. With the highest concentration of Michelin starred restaurants than any other city in the country, you’ll be able to eat like royalty. The wider Langhe region is where the Slow Food movement began its journey back in 1986. Led by Italian food and wine journalist Carlo Petrini, this movement is all about respecting Italy's ancient culinary culture. Find some of the best traditional restaurants in the towns and villages of Langhe.
Wine Paths designs luxury gastronomy holidays to Piedmont and other Italian regions for food and wine fans. Find out more from our local expert Christian.