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Travelling to the Piedmont vineyards

The Piedmont wine region – Langhe, or Roero further north – is an ideal destination for vacation. It boasts a number of small villages, each more charming than the last, and green hills as far as the eye can see, with snow-capped mountains rising in the background. “The cultural landscapes of the Piedmont vineyards provide outstanding living testimony to winegrowing and winemaking traditions that stem from a long history, and that have been continuously improved and adapted up to the present day.” This was why the Langhe area was designated as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

In Langhe, people take it easy. No one is in a hurry. Tourism is mainly centred around food and wine. The locals are well aware of the grapes grown in the area, the types of wine and which wines go best with what food. Examples of local specialities are vitello tonnato (veal with tuna sauce), carni cruda (steak tartare made from the Piedmontese cattle breed, razza bovina Piemontese) and pasta dishes such as agnolotti (meat-filled pasta similar to ravioli) and plin (meat-filled pockets of pasta pleated by hand).

You shouldn’t misinterpret the wine awareness and think that Langhe is only for wine snobs. People know a lot about wine and show great appreciation for it, but it is inexpensive and enjoyed in a relaxed manner, without any particular ceremonies. In addition to gourmet meals, the region offers excellent opportunities for sports activities, such as biking, walking, hiking, golf or, say, playing tennis on Visette’s own court.  The area has well-signposted wine routes criss-crossing between villages.

You definitely need a car, although transport services are, of course, available upon request. Langhe’s appeal lies outside the towns and cities – in the wineries, agriturismos, small villages and back roads winding through the hills. If you can stay longer than for a weekend, the nearby areas provide endless possibilities. Turin is just one hour’s drive away, as are the mountains and the sea. Driving to the French Alps and Monte Rosa (Aosta Valley) takes around two hours.

The nearest ski resort is Limone Piemonte – one of Italy’s snowiest destinations – where you can drive to ski for a day and get back in the evening. The Ligurian coast is perfect for day excursions or longer trips. If you are yearning for major historical attractions, art or mind-blowing cultural experiences, shopping, beaches, partying or cool people – apart from wine makers – Langhe is not for you. But if spending a week in a rural setting and eating good food and drinking wine is your idea of a dream holiday, this is the place to come.

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