Follow a journey on the road and live 7 days in Piedmont to discover, step by step, all the beauties and secrets of this extraordinary territory.
A journey through the sweetness of the hills and the majesty of the mountains, passing through the enchanting scenery of the lakes, the cultural attractions of the historic cities and the irresistible flavors of typical products: our journey of 7 days in Piedmont runs through the wonderful places of a fascinating, varied and complex region.
7 stages to be discovered with an on-the-road itinerary among the most iconic attractions and unique experiences, to find out the most authentic side of this territory. Because Piedmont knows how to conquer us at first sight; but if we explore it calmly, taking the right time to open the box of its hidden treasures, then this special land will remain in our hearts forever.
7 days in Piedmont: an on-the-road journey in the heart of the region
Our journey of 7 days in Piedmont starts and ends in Turin, a city that embodies the history and soul of the region, thus representing the ideal first stop on our journey. From here we’ll reach first Lake Orta and then the beautiful Stresa, located on the shore of Lake Maggiore, right at the border with Lombardy.
For the third and fourth stage we’ll enter the extraordinary areas of Monferrato and Langhe. In this picturesque and magical territory we won’t visit the usual tourist attractions, but we’ll rather travel on-the-road slowly, moving among the beautiful hills without a precise destination, to discover step by step the typical products, wineries and centuries-old traditions.
In fact, Monferrato and Langhe are places we need to live, not only to visit. Therefore, we'll try unique and authentic experiences, such as those offered by Slow Days, a tour operator that works on the territory and offers slow tours, that means itineraries built “in person”, following a slow pace while respecting each one’s timing.
Between e-bike, on foot or on horseback tours, visits to the cellars and food and wine itineraries, tailor-made journeys among the vineyards and farmhouses of the green hills, we will get in touch with the beating heart of the wonderful nature of Piedmont.
Finally, for the last stages, we will move on the mountains to find out ancient fortresses and characteristic villages, discovering the valleys and trails of the Piedmontese Alps. We will see Sestriere, Susa and the extraordinary Sacra di San Michele, before heading towards the plain and ending our journey back to Turin.Discover more on Slow Days❯
1st stop: Turin, starting point for the 7 days itinerary in Piedmont
Monuments, palaces, museums and a royal city atmosphere that still today we can enjoy in its historic cafés: Turin is really the perfect starting point for our trip of 7 days in Piedmont.
Of course in just one day it’s difficult to visit all the beauties and discover every secret of a metropolis with such a significant history and so many cultural places to visit. For this reason we can decide to rent a bike and move independently and easily among the most significant sites of the historic center, admiring from the outside some architectural masterpieces such as the Mole Antonelliana, Palazzo Madama, Piazza San Carlo and more.
After taking a look at the waters of the Po along the beautiful riverside, we spend the afternoon visiting the beautiful parks that characterize the surroundings of the city: to the north we find the huge Parco La Mandria, a short distance from the Reggia di Venaria, a true oasis of peace that unfolds between woods and lakes following the placid waters of the Ceronda stream.
Or we can head south of the center, towards the Parco Naturale di Stupinigi, just after the famous Palazzina di Caccia: here we can immerse ourselves in the myriad of trails and relax admiring the blazing colors of the leaves in autumn, or enjoy a cool picnic during the summer months.
After an afternoon spent into the nature, when the evening falls there's nothing better than dedicate ourselves to another traditional activity of the city, namely the aperitif, which was born in Turin at the end of '700!
Instead, if we wanted to choose a more classic dinner in one of the restaurants of the historic center, we’ll have plenty of choice, especially thinking about the tasty typical Piedmontese dishes. But we’ll talk about those later, after we leave town to start our adventure in the heart of the region.
2nd stop: fairytale places between Lake Orta and Lake Maggiore
To explore Piedmont on-the-road we have to rent a car; we can do it in one of the many rental cars that we can find in Turin, especially around the Porta Nuova railway station, or at the Turin-Caselle airport.
From the city, then, let’s follow the A4 motorway for Milan, turning north after about 60 km towards Gravellona Toce. We leave the highway at Borgomanero to reach in a few minutes the beautiful Lake Orta and the picturesque village of Orta San Giulio.
Above the village stands the Sacro Monte di Orta, one of the nine Sacri Monti scattered between Piedmont and Lombardy, wonderful places full of history, spirituality and, in this case, an extraordinary panoramic view of the lake below. Let’s take the time to visit this outstanding complex, which dates back to 1590 and is dedicated to the figure of Saint Francis of Assisi.
Then we drive to the north, along the eastern shore of Lake Orta and following the signs for Lake Maggiore, in particular for the village of Stresa, which we’ll reach in about half an hour and where we’ll stop for the night.
In Stresa we can enjoy a wonderful afternoon walking through the historic center and the lakeside promenade, or heading with a tourist boat on the fabulous Isola Bella, which rises from the water in a fairy tale scenery, showcasing the elegance of Palazzo Borromeo and the lush beauty of its garden.
Finally, we conclude our second day in Piedmont spending a quiet evening by the lake, possibly trying a trout or fried bleak for dinner, so that we can appreciate the typical products and tasty flavors of Lake Maggiore.
3rd stop: discovering Monferrato
From Stresa, our itinerary of 7 days in Piedmont continues to the south. We drive for about an hour going towards Alessandria until we reach the river Po.
We leave the motorway at Casale Monferrato to enter the homonymous territory. In fact Monferrato, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014 together with like Langhe and Roero, extends between the provinces of Asti and Alessandria, and is an area characterized by green hills, castles and vineyards. Bonarda, Barbera, Grignolino and Malvasia are some of the typical wines of the territory and among the most renowned and appreciated in the region.
Exploring Monferrato we can discover small villages with an authentic atmosphere, like the city of Casale Monferrato itself, in whose historic center we can make a short stop to admire the imposing Castello dei Paleologi.
We can find even more picturesque villages standing on top of the hills: for example, it’s worth stopping in Moncalvo, not far from Casale, and taking a walk between the palaces of medieval origin and the small restaurants of this little hamlet, where we can be enchanted by a dish of the classic agnolotti of Monferrato, or enjoying the famous Bollito Misto Piedmontese, unmissable especially in November and December.
A lunch in these typical places is like going to visit plenty of attractions in a big city, because it manage to tell us a lot about the history, traditions, scents and flavors of this extraordinary land.
Then, in the afternoon, we continue our itinerary, driving completely immersing ourselves in the hilly landscape that surrounds us. The town of Asti is just a few kilometers away and it’s ideal both for an overnight stay, both to end the day with a nice walk through the city center and its historical sites, like the Cathedral and the Torre Troiana.Discover the secrets of Monferrato❯
4th stop: across the Langhe
Not many kilometers southwest of Asti begins the territory of the Langhe, geographically quite similar to Monferrato and also known all around the world for its hills and the fabulous food and wine products.
From Asti we reach in less than half an hour the village of Barbaresco, where is produced the homonymous wine, one of the most important in Italy since the birth of the Cantina Sociale in 1894.
From the Torre di Barbaresco we can appreciate a breathtaking landscape. Let’s admire it calmly, observing the countless vineyards and the narrow streets of the village right below us. Let’s perceive how the atmosphere of these areas is deeply linked to the products of the land, and how this influences also the rhythms of everyday life, giving us the feeling of being in a sort of bubble out of time.
Now there are many activities we can dedicate to: we can select a trekking route and follow one of the trails that cross the hills; or, in spring and summer, we can live a special experience by participating in a picnic in the vineyard; or again, we can visit one of the several wineries that we find in Barbaresco to discover all the secrets of the local wine.
Once we leave the village, let’s head to the nearby Alba, capital of the Langhe, to explore the historic center and spend the night. Of course, if we are here between late October and early December, we can not miss the annual Fiera del Tartufo (Truffle Fair), one of the most famous typical products of the Langhe.
Finally, among the most prestigious wines of the territory, we must at least mention the Barolo, the King of Italian wines, whose production area is not far from Alba.Explore the beautiful Alba❯
5th stop: Sestriere and the Piedmontese Alps
We have reached the fifth stage of our 7 days in Piedmont. It’s time to leave behind the hills of Monferrato and Langhe to explore the beautiful Alpine peaks that characterize the western side of the region.
In particular, we head towards Sestriere, a small and picturesque village located at an altitude of 2035 meters, which makes it the highest municipality in Italy: starting from the Langhe, it takes just over 2 hours to reach Sestriere driving through the Chisone Valley.
To break the journey, we can make a stop at the Forte di Fenestrelle, historic fortress of the 18th century that overlooks the valley offering amazing vistas, as well as an important glimpse of the history and local culture; or, from the town of Fenestrelle, we can follow the path of Via della Balma to immerse ourselves in nature and reach the short trail of Forte Mutin, where we’ll find extraordinary views of the other side of the valley.
From here Sestriere is less than half an hour away. Once arrived, we can decide whether to relax for a few hours in one of the thermal baths in the area; participate in an excursion along one of the many trails; or, in winter, spend the whole afternoon on the ski slopes or taking part in a snowshoe hike in this beautiful Alpine landscape.Discover where to ski in Piedmont❯
6th stop: Susa between landscapes and history
Leaving Sestriere we have two possibilities: we can head west and then turn north just before the French border, in order to reach the village of Susa, in the homonymous valley, in less than an hour.
Susa is a town of a few thousand inhabitants which boasts an ancient history, probably dating back to the Celts (about 500 BC). Today we find many monuments of Roman times, such as the Arch of Augustus, the aqueduct and the amphitheater, and it’s really pleasant to spend a day exploring the beautiful old town.
The second option is for those who prefer to discover the beautiful alpine landscapes of this area. From Sestriere we return to Fenestrelle and, at the height of Lake Pourrieres, we take the spectacular Strada dell'Assietta, which climbs the mountains and joins the Strada del Colle delle Finestre.
It’s a road to take only in summer months (let’s also consider that there are also a few kilometers of gravel road, although kept in fair conditions), which takes us over 2000 meters and offers incredible views of the surrounding peaks: an experience not to be missed for mountain lovers.
After passing the Colle delle Finestre and descending into the valley, we reach in a few minutes the town of Susa, where we’ll spend the evening and the night.
7th stop: Sacra di San Michele and back to Turin
On our last day, we leave Susa towards Turin, about an hour’s drive away. Along the road, however, there are still some attractions to discover: in particular, we can stop to the extraordinary Sacra di San Michele, reachable via some trails that start from Chiusa di San Michele or Sant'Ambrogio di Torino.
The abbey, completed in the 13th century, is located right at the entrance of the Susa Valley, in a spectacular location on top of Mount Pirchiriano. Climbing up here following the ancient mule tracks is a wonderful experience, just like the visit of the building itself, of its towers and its treasures. The scenery of the Sacra di San Michele is so picturesque that right here is set the famous novel by Umberto Eco "The name of the rose".
Once back on the road to Turin, before entering the city to spend the evening we can make one last detour: we take the city ring road going towards the Basilica of Superga, located on the top of the homonymous hill.
Here we’ll find a very special and almost mystical place, both because of the amazing views of Turin, both for the architectural beauty of this Neoclassical-style building; finally, there’s the Monumento al Grande Torino, in memory of the plane crash that happened in this precise place on May 4, 1949, which canceled in an instant one of the greatest football teams in history. Also for this, for the inhabitants of the city, Superga is a symbolic place of remembrance.
Thus our journey comes to an end: we have explored Piedmont slowly to live 7 days of full and exciting experiences, finding out the secrets of a land so rich in history, traditions and spectacular landscapes.