Piedmont is Italy’s most varied region and one of the most beautiful. The diversity of landscape is incredible, ranging from the snow-capped Alps to the beautiful rice paddies. This diversity of landscape is matched only by the variety of cultures and traditions.
Mountains dominate the landscape in Piedmont and can be seen from nearly all the towns of the region. Piedmont's mountains are a great option for skiing, but beyond that, they also host one of Italy’s best retreat options. One of Italy’s largest nature reserves the Gran Paradiso is found in these mountains. The Gran Paradiso is a perfect retreat for anyone wanting to escape from city life for a while. This is truly a great paradise and the name Gran Paradiso, in fact, means just this. No better place in Italy exists to hike, horse-ride and to just enjoy the silence.
Beyond the mountains and natural heritage, people looking to explore the region should begin their journey from Turin, with its Egyptian Museum, one of the largest in the world; the Shroud of Turin, one of the most precious relics in Christianity; the famous Mole Antonelliana dominating the city skyline and housing the National Cinema Museum; and finally, the Automobile Museum. The Reggia di Venaria Palace is a splendid and extremely charming architectural structure, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with the other Residences of the Royal House of Savoy.
From the Royal Palace and Palazzo Carignano in Turin to the hunting lodge at Stupinigi, and from the Royal Castle at Racconigi to Turin’s Palazzo Madama, a visit to the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy takes place partly in Turin proper, and partly in the surrounding countryside. Other unmissable destinations are historical towns like Cherasco, “the town of star-shaped walls;” Savigliano, rich in monuments; Alba; and Ivrea. The Piedmont region is also blessed with magnificent lakes. Lake Maggiore is the better known of these lakes but the favourite of most Piedmontese, is Lake Orta, one of the most romantic places in Italy.
Apart from the beautiful scenery on offer, Piedmont is also known for its many food specialities and wonderful cuisine. The most typical specialities of the regional cuisine are fondue and bagna cauda: two warm and out-of-this-world dips that celebrate the Alba white truffle and raw vegetables. There is also a wide array of cheeses to offer: toma, robiola, bruss from the Langhe, gorgonzola from Novara, and sernium from Biella.
The typical desserts of the region can be found everywhere: the chocolates of Turin, Novara biscuits, the bicciolani of Vercelli, the crumiri of Casale, the Cuneo chocolate sweets with rum and candied chestnuts and nougat from Alba.
Piedmont also produces some of the finest red wines in Italy: Barolo, Barbaresco, Gattinara, Ghemme, Nebbiolo, Freisa, Grignolino, Barbera, and Dolcetto.
Source(s): Mi o My Italy, Italia, Great Italian Chef, The Times, La Venaria Reale