The Langa and Roero regions of Piedmont are in one of the most important wine production areas in Italy, and received UNESCO World Heritage status in 2014. The hiking tour of Piedmont will take us to the heart of these regions, over rolling hills covered with endless vineyards and past ancient castles and hidden hilltop hamlets. You’ll see how connected the local people are to the land, and how they take pride in everything they produce. Vineyards cover most of the hills here and wines such as Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera and Nebbiolo are perfectly paired with dishes that will make each meal a gastronomic event. Towns like Pollenzo, Monforte, and Alba are perfect stops for a taste of what the region has to offer, where strolling through the cobbled streets and sitting in geranium-decked piazzas is a great way to end a day of hiking. The Alba truffle fair gets in full swing in October and November, beginning with the "Palio degli Asini,“ the donkey race. Throughout the year the nine quarters of the city prepare for the race that awards victory for the parade and for the best quarter. The medieval parade, with over a thousand participants in typical costume, winds through the city streets, ending in the arena of the Palio, just before the donkey race. The wine region of Piedmont could very well be the ultimate destination for casual hikers who are also food and wine lovers. Accommodations during your journey include a UNESCO site, a wine estate, and a boutique hotel in the countryside. In early October, it might still be harvest time for the nebbiolo grapes and the colors make the hills and vineyards look like they are painted!
Pollenzo - 45 min - Flat
One of your guides will meet you at Turin Airport for a late morning shuttle to Corte Albertina in Pollenzo. You’ll have time to visit this interesting village, which is steeped in history. This site received the official recognition of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001 as part of the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy. It now houses the University of Gastronomical Sciences, founded by the internationally recognized Slow Food Association. Slow Food began as a sophisticated parody of McDonalds’ arrival in Italy (Slow Food vs. Fast Food) and has grown into an international crusade for the preservation of culinary traditions, biodiversity and “the right to good taste.”
We will stay at Albergo dell’Agenzia, which is in the main building of Corte Albertina, and which includes an immense park that was a hunting reserve of King Carlo Alberto. In the afternoon we'll check the premises and the village. Our first dinner is at the hotel and it will showcase some elegant preparation of Slow Food presidia.
Roero wine area - 3 hrs - Hilly
After breakfast, we’ll meet for an overview of the day ahead. Our first hike starts by climbing a ridge overlooking the Tanaro river valley. We’ll go from Guarene to San Martino Alfieri all on the high plateau of the Roero region. Here you are in true wine country where grape varieties include Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Arneis, no doubt a part of your evening celebrations! Each village you pass through today is topped with a castle. Most are now privately owned and very seldom open for visits, but they add to the uniqueness of the landscape as you enjoy exploring this region. Dinner is at an agriturismo where most products served are locally sourced.
La Morra - 2-3.5 hrs - Hilly
Today we’ll say farewell to the Roero and move from Pollenzo to the Langa wine area past more vineyards, where no doubt you will see local workers in the fields. Our first stop is in La Morra. La Morra is considered the balcony of the Langhe because of its wonderful views of the entire area. Take your time here and have your cameras ready! Today we have our cooking class and lunch at the Marrone Family Winery. Time to enjoy life and to taste some Barolo on the terrace! Marrone family staff will engage everyone during this fun, yet professional cooking workshop. We then continue among nebbiolo vineyards to land at the doorstep of the so called “Barolo chapel”, a landmark of the Barolo production area.
The rest of the way to the hotel is by van. Vegetation changes as hazelnut-topped woodland covers the northern side of the round and gentle hills. These hazelnuts are harvested by the ton and transported to the Ferrero factory in Alba to make the famous Nutella spread, as well as Italian Gianduja chocolates, which you should of course try! Our hotel affords a great view of the Alps. Dinner is at the Michelin starred hotel restaurant.
Barbaresco - 2.5-4.5 hrs - Rolling
The area southwest of Alba is part of the Barbaresco wine production zone. The three villages where Nebbiolo grapes for Barbaresco wine can be grown are Neive, Treiso, and Barbaresco. The original, small, and elegant villages of Barbaresco and Neive will be part of our day. As we approach Barbaresco, its imposing 12th century tower stands out in the landscape. Almost square-shaped, its height originally reached 36 meters, making it a strategic position overlooking the Tanaro Valley below.
The tower is what is left of an imposing fortification once crowning the hilltop where Barbaresco rises. The hike from Barbaresco to Treiso goes down a winding ridge as we head towards Abrigo Winery. It’s the perfect opportunity to understand the wine production of this part of Italy. The complete range of Orlando Abrigo wines is a true expression of traditional Langhe winemaking. After lunch and wine tasting, we head back to the hotel where you can enjoy some free time before dinner.
Diano d'Alba and Alba - Sant'Antimo - 2 hrs - Downhill and Rolling
Our hike will lead to a secondary valley where we will go truffle hunting with a real trifulau and his trusted dog. This is an experience you won’t forget! The white truffle is a delicacy that has made these hills famous among chefs worldwide. We then make it to the 13th century Grinzane Cavour castle, once home to the famous strategist Cavour.
For dinner, we will land in Alba, the capital of the white truffle area, Of Celtic and Ligurian origin, called Alba Pompeia by the Romans, the town has kept a spiral-shaped medieval plan. You will have time to explore the elegant town center before gathering for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.
Our hotel is part of a historical winery awarded as "European Winery of the Year" by Wine Enthusiast in 2017.
Barolo - 3 hrs - Rolling
Today is Barolo day! You’ll hike past rows of nebbiolo grapes cultivated by such legendary producers as Borgogno, Da Milano, and Marchesi di Barolo. We’ll spend some time to visit Barolo - the unpretentious village named after the King of Wines. Barolo is both the starting and the ending point of the hike but on the way to the hotel by van we will also stop in Serralunga d’Alba.
In the afternoon, we will take time to visit the on-site "royal" cellar in the afternoon. The Savoy royal family, in fact, owned the place. It could very well be the birthplace of Barolo itself. The final highlight of this epic culinary journey is dinner with Chef Ugo Alciati. You will learn how "Da Guido" restaurant - started by his father - completely changed fine dining in Piedmont.
Transfer to Turin
This morning after breakfast you will get a group private transfer to the Turin Airport. The transfer is about 1 hr e 15 min. You can also extend your stay and enjoy the Truffle Festival.
Upon request and free of charge, you can use our Ferrino Mustang light aluminum alloy walking poles (highly recommended).
The Langa region is a true paradise for gourmands. In Angelo Gaja’s words, (Gaja is a central figure in Piedmont’s wine identity) “People truly come here to explore their passion for food and wine.” The territory offers first class ingredients, that together with traditions handed down from generation to generation, allow you to enjoy the authentic Langa dishes. The egg pasta used to prepare the tajarin, or plin, ravioli is homemade and the precious veal meat from the Province of Granda (name of the province of Cuneo in local dialect) is the basis for the preparation of ancient recipes like hand chopped raw meat, cold veal with tuna sauce and red wine braised meat. The simplest dishes are usually the most delicious and they look like they have been specially created to espouse the most precious autumnal ingredient, the Alba White Truffle, which will enhance their perfumes and tastes. In fact, the Slow Food movement was born in Bra (near Alba). The regional wine production boasts the most DOCG appellations of any other region in Italy, and during the week we will learn about Barbera, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo, Arneis and many other indigenous grapes. Most family-run wineries in Barolo are small and don’t do winery tours, as you would expect if you were in France or Napa. Luckily, Tourissimo will get the doors open for you.