The Piemonte Region of Italy: Planning Your Trip

Treiso (The Langhe)
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The Piemonte, or Piedmont region, borders France in northwestern Italy. Piemonte is known for its wines and fall truffles, mountains with ski resorts in the west and north, and the city of Turin.

From the region's top destinations to what to eat and drink, here's everything you need to know to plan an unforgettable trip to Piemonte.

Planning Your Trip

  • Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Piemonte is in the early fall, when average highs are in the low 70s and the region comes alive with truffle and wine festivals.
  • Language: Italian is the official language in Piemonte. However, Piemontese—which linguists consider a separate language and the Italian government says is a dialect—is spoken by about 3 million people by some accounts.
  • Currency: As in the rest of Italy, the Euro is Piemonte's official currency.
  • Getting Around: In the capital of Turin, the city center is easily walkable, while harder-to-reach neighborhoods are accessible by tram and bus. (There is a metro, although it only has one line; it does, however, stop at 21 stations, including Porta Nuova and Porta Susa train stations.) To get from Turin to other destinations in Piemonte, you can take a train (Trenitalia is the national train operator), with towns like Domodossola and Cuneo easily walkable. If you're wanting to see more of the countryside—particularly Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato—consider renting a car or booking a guided tour.

Sunset on the old town of Torino(Turin)
Francesco Bergamaschi / Getty Images

Things to Do

How you spend your time in Piemonte will largely depend on what you like to do. Love to ski? You'll be happy to know that the region boasts more than 1,350 kilometers (839 miles) of slopes and 50 skiing stations (the mountain resorts west of Turin were even used in the 2006 Winter Olympics). Piemonte also claims five UNESCO World Heritage Sites that you can visit, from a series of royal residences to a 10,789-hectare wine-growing area. The region is home to 45 Michelin-star restaurants, with the city of Turin recognized by UNESCO as a Creative City for Gastronomy in 2017.

To help you narrow down your options, here are some of the top destinations in Piemonte:

  • Turin: The main city of the Piemonte region and home to Fiat cars, Turin ("Torino" in Italian) is an elegant city with historic Baroque cafés and architecture, high-quality shops, and interesting museums, which include the famed Egyptian Museum and the Museo Nazionale del Risorgimento Italiano (The National Museum of the Italian Risorgimento). Around Turin, you can visit the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy, whose 22 palaces and villas comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just outside the city is the stunning monastery of Sacra di San Michele (Saint Micheal's Abbey), one of Europe's most important Benedictine monasteries.
  • Domodossola: Nestled at the foot of the Italian Alps in the north, Domodossola is on the rail line connecting Italy to Switzerland. The town has a good medieval center and is known for the Baroque Sacro Monte del Calvario (Sacred Mount Calvary). With 15 chapels depicting the Stations of the Cross, the sanctuary is part of the Sacri Monte (Sacred Mountains) UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Cuneo: The capital of Italy's Cuneo province, Cuneo is worth visiting for a few days. The beautiful arcades of this 12th-century town give it an elegant appearance. You can use Cuneo as a base for excursions into the mountains and even into France.
  • Langhe-Roero and Monferrato: Located in the south of Piemonte, this UNESCO "vineyard landscape" incorporates five wine-growing areas. In between sipping wine, consider taking a tour of some of the region's castles, including the Castle of Grinzane Cavour.
  • Ivrea: Named an Industrial City of the 20th Century in 2018, Ivrea is about an hour's train ride north of Torino. The famous Carnevale di Ivrea involves lots of orange throwing, parades, and food.
  • Sestriere: Located 11 miles from the French border in Val Susa, this ski resort is considered one of the top places to ski in Italy.
  • Pinerolo: The gateway to the scenic Val Chisone, the alpine town of Pinerolo offers good skiing in the winter and mountain hiking in the summer. Bonus: It's less crowded than Sestiere.
  • Lake Maggiore: Part of Lake Maggiore, one of Italy's top lakes, is in Piedmont (the eastern shore is in the Lombardy region and the northern part extends into Switzerland). The smaller Lake Orta is just to the west of Lake Maggiore.

Serralunga d'Alba, Piemonte.
Francesco Riccardo Iacomino / Getty Images

What to Eat and Drink

Piemonte—particularly the town of Alba, located in the Langhe region—is famous for its aromatic white truffles, which are harvested in the fall. Throughout the season, many restaurants will serve the local delicacy, freshly shaved onto dishes like buttered tajarin (thin egg noodle) and risotto. Be sure to check out the International Alba White Truffle Fair, a months-long affair where you can watch (and participate in) cooking shows, sign up for cooking classes and taste workshops, and, of course, shop truffles from local traders. For the ultimate truffle experience, stay and eat in a place owned by a truffle hunter, or sign up for a Langhe Wine and Truffles Full Day Excursion that includes a truffle hunt.

The town of Bra is home to the Slow Food movement, which is still widely celebrated in this part of Piemonte, whereas Vercelli is known for its rice fields—and the frogs that are attracted to the rice. A food fair dedicated to frog meat, Sagra della Rana, is held the first week of September. There are 10 types of PDO chees produced in Piemonte, including Toma and Murazzano, while Turin is thought of as the European capital of chocolate. Be sure to sample gianduiotto, an ingot-shaped hazelnut and chocolate confection, and bicerin, a "small round glass" layered with espresso, hot chocolate, and whipped milk.

Some of Italy's best wines are found in the vineyard landscape of Langhe-Roero and Monferrato. The area around Alba encompasses Barolo, Barbaresco, and Roero while the province of Asti is known for Dolcetto, Barbera, and Moscato. Some of the top wineries in the region include Marchesi di Barolo and Ca' del Baio.

Where to Stay

The capital of Piemonte, Turin has plenty of options in terms of accommodation, from major chains like DoubleTree by Hilton Turin Lingotto and AC Hotel by Marriott Torino to the boutique Turin Palace Hotel. A lot of tourists tend to stay in the city center thanks to its close proximity to big attractions like the Museo Egizio and Palazzo Reale; however, if you're looking to party, we recommend San Salvario for its budget-friendly restaurants, bars, and clubs.

For those planning a ski trip to Sestriere, you'll find a range of options, including the four-star Hotel Shackleton Mountain Resort and the Olympic Village where world-famous athletes stayed during the 2006 Olympics. Wherever you choose to travel in the region, you can find apartments and private homes through Airbnb and Vrbo, as well as cozy, agriturismi stays in the countryside.

Getting There

To reach Piemonte from the U.S., you'll need to book a flight to Milan Malpensa Airport. The Malpensa Express will get you from the airport to Milano Porto Garibaldi in 49 minutes and Milano Centrale in 58 minutes; from either train station, you can reach many destinations in Piemonte, including Turin and Domodossola, through Trenitalia.

Alternatively, if you're traveling from elsewhere in Italy or Europe, you could fly to Turins's airport, Caselle Aeroporto Internazionale di Torino, which is 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the city center. From the airport terminal, you can take bus line 268, which stops at Turin Porta Nuova and Porta Susa railway stations, as well as Borgaro Torinese and Caselle Torinese. Piemonte is also easily accessible from major Italian cities, France, and Switzerland via high-speed train.

Money Saving Tips

  • If you're traveling on a budget, you can avoid the crowds and save money on hotels and airfare by booking your trip for May.
  • For those planning a trip to Turin, San Salvario is an affordable neighborhood where you can find cheap eats and hostels.
  • On the first Sunday of the month, Palazzo Reale and the Musei Reali offer free admission; just don't forget to reserve your tickets online.
    Pick up a Torino + Piemonte card, which will get you free admission to museums and exhibits in Turin; discounted tickets to a number of cultural sites in Piemonte (outside of Turin); reduced prices on tourist services like the "Venaria Express" shuttle bus; and discounts on cultural events. There are one-, two-, three-, and five-day options.
Article Sources
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  1. Omniglot. "Piedmontese (Piemontèis)." Accessed September 29, 2022.

  2. UNESCO. "Residences of the Royal House of Savoy." Accessed September 28, 2022.

  3. Comune di Domodossola. "The Sacred Mount Calvary of Domodossola." Accessed September 28, 2022.

  4. UNESCO. "Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato." Accessed September 28, 2022.

  5. UNESCO. "Ivrea, Industrial City of the 20th Century." Accessed September 28, 2022.