Main Tour 7 Nights:
Sunday 22nd May 2016 - Sunday 29th May 2016
Trip Extension 2 Nights:
OPTION 1: Sunday 29th May 2016 - Tuesday 31st May 2016 :
Let's look at the tour in a little more depth.
Turin is home to world-class museums, charming architecture and covered walkways, as well as some of the most sort after cuisine of Italy. What we are trying to achieve in our days here is to walk and understand how Turin is, the history and politics that shaped Italy from Turin and spurred the Risorgimento. Turin was the first capital of Italy (1861 and 1864) and we will take a look at the incredible buildings left by the Duchy of Savoy. Turin is the most regal of the cities of Italy and is also considered a city of magic: holding the Shroud of Turin in the Cathedral and having Nostradamus as a resident, as well as the legend that the Holy Grail is buried under the city. Turin is also all about chocolate and dream for coffee lovers (native coffee of Lavazza), seeming to have a shop devoted to chocolate on every corner.
Grand Hotel Sitea is our hotel in Turin, right in the heart of everything and that is another wonderful plus. Everything is walkable from this 5-star hotel with a really outstanding breakfast and strong management who care about our guests. At the Grand Hotel Sitea, there are two styles of room to choose from: classic with period furniture and design or modern with wooden floors and a more minimalistic feel.
In Turin, we will see the major sites of interest, take a serious immersion and hands on cooking experience into the local cuisine at La Palestra del Cibo Cooking School (literally translated as The Gym of Food). If you wish, you will also have the chance to eat dinner at the 2-star Michelin restaurant of Combal Zero that never fails to excite us or our clients.
After Turin, we are going to show you a most beautiful wine region that has just recently (2014) been given UNESCO World Heritage for the outstanding beauty and wine heritage. We will be tasting and visiting twelve exceptional wineries. Most producers in Piedmont tend toward the small size due to the nature of the high cost of vineyards. Many producers have small vineyards scattered all over the crus of the region. This is ideal for us as we will generally be meeting the owners or winemakers, often the same person. Anyone who knows our philosophy knows that we are interested in real and territory wines, made as naturally as possible with indigenous yeasts and generally the most non interventive wine making methods. We tends to avoid the big names and cathedrals to wine. With us, it is all about the experience and of course the wines. In the Langhe, there is no problem as there are 100s of serious producers. We have made the days beautiful journeys from one winery and hill-top town to another. Travel is never arduous or far at all and the other joy is there is no attitude here: the winemakers and owners consider themselves grape farmers, extremely lucky ones at that.
Are you aware that Italy holds the larges biodiversity of grape varieties in the world? We will understand the grape varietal of Nebbiolo in every which way, why Barbera is such an excellent wine, Dolcetto, Freisa, Arneis and so it goes on and on. Anyone who knows about our tours will understand it is our relationship with the winemakers and owners that means we can really give you a total understanding of what is really going on while drinking some of the most revered wines in the world. Of course, there will always be some fun, great meals and gorgeous settings in Italy.
The five lunches included in this tour are all destinations in themselves and apart from the welcome dinner in Turin, we have made the other dinners free: everyone is able to opt to eat in the many styles of restaurants and enotecas in Turin and Monforte d'Alba, where we will base ourselves for the second part of the tour. The reason we love Monforte d'Alba is, apart from being a stunning hilltop borgo, there are at least five important restaurants and also wine bars all in walking distance and none more so than our lodge's restaurant, Il Giardino Da Felicin. We have chosen on the apartments of Felicin as they are huge, all with views over Barolo and brilliantly equipped. Everything at breakfast is from the restaurant's superb kitchen and Nino (owner) is a massive character in the region.
This tour could not happen without Sandro. He is from Turin and lives in Monforte d'Alba. With Sandro, you will gain as much insight into wine as anyone could possibly want. He is your tour director and Piedmont's wine expert. Tim Robertson will no doubt be dropping in. The pre or post extension is into one of the most beautiful of the lakes of Italy, Lago d'Orta. It is fantastically unknown in comparison to its sister, Maggiore, just a few miles east. The northern lakes of Italy should be enjoyed by everyone. Why? Well, it is just the stunning views, framed with the Alps in the back ground, the sumptuous villas and islands. Crespi is a tiny property of Relais Chateaux. It is a classic and unique villa that defies description architecturally with a wonderful and hospitable service, a fabulous restaurant (the chef is one of the most loved in Italy and gregarious chefs) and adjacent to the most beautiful unspoilt lake. While you are at Crespi, we will take you on a journey around the lakes including a boat ride, visiting the islands as well as making a memorable cooking experience. We have never had a client who did not say thank you so much for showing us this treat of the place and it is a treat.
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Video of Villa Crespi , Lake Orta Italy
We adore this tiny Villa on the Lake Orta. Our go to place pre or prior to a piedmont wine tour with us. The food is Phenomenal as you would expect.