4 things to do when in Piedmont (Italy)
I am spending 2 months in Northern Italy, from October to December, in order to recognize my Italian citizenship (I was born and raised in Brazil, but as I have Italian ancestry in my family, I have the right to recognize my citizenship).
I am living in the province of Vercelli in a small town called Tronzano Vercellese (around 55 km from Turin) and have got to travel a little bit around the Piedmont region.
There are loads of cities and places to visit in Italy, especially in the North. With this article, I would like to share my experience and recommend 4 trips that you should do while in Italy (or at least while in Piedmont).
It is obvious that you must visit Turin, the fourth largest city in Italy after Rome, Milan and Naples. This city has a lot of monuments, churches and museums to visit. I would recommend spending two full days in Turin. Get yourself lost in the city centre and then take the subway, which works amazingly well (I am from Brazil, so this is a good point). Take a tour around Piazza Castello and surprise yourself with the Roman architecture of Royal Palace. Nearby, take time to breath clean air at the Giardini Reali.
If you love cinema as much as I do, The National Museum of Cinema is worth visiting. At the Mole Antonelliana, spend a few euro and take a tour in the panoramic lift. You will see Turin from above!
Religious or not, you should visit Turin Cathedral dedicated to St. John the Baptist, which has the Holy Shroud inside (of course you will not see it).
Walk around River Pó and try to walk up to the Monte dei Cappuccini. Another way to see Turin from above.
2. Wineries and Vineyards route
First, I went on the road to Barolo, in the province of Cuneo. There, it is possible to taste fine wines from Italy. Barolo wine is one of the most famous Italian wines. We parked our car and went up to a small hill, walking through local residences, enotecas, and fine restaurants. Canelli was our second stop 45 km away from Barolo. We spent around 2 hours in a winery called Bosca with an amazing guide tour (available in English). At the end, we could taste delicious sparkling wines as well buy a few bottles for a very VERY honest price. There are other wineries more famous there, like Contratto and Coppo. I just happened to have an incredible experience at Bosca that I would like to share with everyone. Unfortunately, I have been there in November and there was no grapes — the great harvest is due to September.
3. Val di Susa
Susa is a very charming city almost situated in the border of France. From Tronzano Vercellese until getting there, it is possible to appreciate the wonderful landscapes formed by the Alps. Yes, the ALPS! I went in November in a very sunny day so it was easy to spot the Alps full of snow at their peaks. Susa is surrounded by the Alps as it is located in a valley. Although the city is small and almost everything is closed from 12pm to 4pm, there are a few spots to go. I still do not believe that there are many Roman ruins as well a Roman Arena there. I wonder if I would live normally knowing that there is something from Roman Empire behind my house. Just walk around city centre and you will be able to take a lot of pictures. For me, half a day is enough to spend in this city. And if you are heading there by car, please consider visiting number 4.
4. Sacra di San Michele
I finally can say that I have climbed a mountain in my life. It was a unique experience for me. Sacra di San Michele is a religious complex in the Val di Susa (see above) and it has so much history! It was initially built under mystery and devotion to God between 983 and 987 A.D at the top of mount Pirchiriano.
Furthermore, the book The Name of the Rose, written by Umberto Eco, was inspired by this monumental abbey. I would recommend going there around 3pm to have enough time to visit everything in this site. I have been there at the first week of November and it was very windy and cold, especially after 5pm. Please, do not forget to appreciate sunset there.
Great advice: it is worth a visit if the weather helps. Check on the website a webcam status, updated every one hour during the day. If it is foggy, it is difficult to see the landscapes around, the Alps and even to appreciate this site. Additionally, call in advance asking if there is guide tour in English if you do not speak or understand Italian. When I have been there, my group was mostly formed by Italians and the tour guide only spoke in Italian (even hard to me to understand!).
I also have been in other cities: Santhià, Vercelli, Novara, Biella, Bianzè, Ivrea, Asti, Cereseto and Cavaglià, but I would highlight these places in Piedmont for sure. I also visited Viverone Lack and it would be definitely in my list if I had been there in a sunny day of summer.
p.s: I am trying to write more in English. A feedback would be great! :)
p.s 2: Fall in love with Italy once in a life. ❤