Earth : Europe : Italy : Northwest Italy : Piedmont
Piedmont is surrounded on three sides by the Alps, including the Monviso, where the Po River rises, and the Monte Rosa. It borders with France, Switzerland and the Italian regions of Lombardy, Liguria, Emilia-Romagna and Aosta Valley.
The area is justly famous for its wines, which include some of the best produced from Italy such as Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Dolcetto and Moscato D'Asti, its local cuisine reknown throughout Italy and the precious white truffles of this region which have been compared to gold because of their cost and delicacy..
Administratively, Piedmont consists of the following provinces:
Geographically, Piedmont also includes the distinct regions of Langhe, Monferrato and Roero Hills, which lie in the centre of Piedmont and are a mixture of limestone and sandstone deposits laid down by the retreating Adriatic 3 million years ago, now cut by numerous river valleys and the area of most of Piedmont's wines:
Here you will find pretty much everything you might be looking for. Plenty of shops and restaurants. A beautiful stroll along the lake. The Harbor where ships and ferry boats arrive and depart. Verbania also hosts one of the biggest farmers and apparel markets around the lake. One part of the city is called Pallanza. It's a very sophisticated area with some of the most spectacular Palaces right at the lake.
Its shores cover a total lenght of 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Canton Ticino in Switzerland to Sesto Calende (Va), reaching with its waters two regions: Piedmont and Lombardy, and three provinces: Novara, Varese, Verbano Cusio Ossola. Wedged between the pre-alps, Lake Maggiore, of clear glacial origin, is framed in its lower section by the soft hills of the "Novarese" region, and in the upper section, by high mountain peeks, some of which with perennial snow. These features make it possible that in the costal areas the climate is temperate, milder in winter than in the inner areas and cooled down in summer by the breezes that blow on the water's surface changing its color. Thanks to its mild climate it was possible for many species of flowers and plants typical to the sub-tropical climate to adaptin the costal areas. The populations that inhabited Lake Maggiore were in the course of the centuries quite varied, from the Celts followed the Gaelic invasors, then barbarians and subsequently the Romans and finally governed by the lordships of the Visconti, Sforza and Borromeo. Commerce was the main activity, initially only by the lake, later by land due to the construction of the first section of the public road of the Sempione at the beginning of the XIX century. By the beginning of the 1900 with the launch of the Sempione railway commerce flourished along with tourism and hotels, these activities have protracted up to date.
Native Piedmontese are friendly and down to earth. This region has been the industrial heart of Italy since 1800, even though nowadays it's experiencing some economic difficulties connected with deindustrialization. Tourism is a growing factor.
The Monarchy has left strong heritage across the region, particularly in wide natural parks (former king's hunting reserves) and in XVIII and XIX century buildings.
Piedmontese is spoken by about 2-3 million people throughout Piedmont. However, Italian dominates everyday communication.
In 2004, Piedmontese was recognised as Piedmont's regional language by the regional parliament, although the Italian government does not recognise it. It has, however, been recognized as a separate language by the European Union. It is supposed to be taught to children in school, but this is happening only in a limited way.
Piedmont is well served by airports.
Milan has three airports:
from France, the Montgenèvre road (RN 94/ SS 24) from Briançon to Cesana Torinese in Italy is very good (above all on the italian side), always open during winter and free.
Although some local bus and train service exists, the best way to tour the Piedmont is by car, especially for tourists who want to venture outside Turin and a few other large cities.
The region has numerous interesting museums, some of the best are found in Turin including Museo Egizio, the second most important Egyptian museum in the world, and National Cinema Museum, most famed for the spectacular building.
There are a number of well known ski resorts in Piedmont Alpine region
The Milky Way ski area is one of the biggest areas in Europe and encompasses the following resorts.
Bardonecchia is another large ski area and was host to the 2006 Winter Olympic snowboarding events.
Macugnaga and Alagna Val Sesia in the V.C.O. (Verbano, Cusio, Ossola) province (North-east of the Region).
Limone Piemonte and Prato Nevoso in the province of Coni.
If you can, try the Bollito Misto and Fritto Misto. These are two very traditional dishes and you may only be able to find them in old restaurants far from the tourist circuit. The Bollito Misto is a mix of beef and pork meat boiled with vegetables and eaten with a variety of sauces. The Fritto Misto is a mixture of fried meats and vegetables. Another very typical meal is Bagna Cauda: it consists of a hot garlic sauce eaten with raw vegetables. Try also the "Paniscia vercellese" a typical dish from Vercelli made with rice, beans and sausages. You can eat also fried frogs and good fishes from lake and rivers.
Piedmont is well known for its great wines, particularly Barolo and Barbaresco but also Dolcetto, Arneis, Freisa, Gavi and others. Most vineyards are on the Langhe hills around Asti and Alba and on Monferrato other hills between Alba an Alessandria, but the passion for strong red wines has spread among the entire territory. Try also beers (Menabrea) and aromated wines (Vermuths).
You will find many accommodations from bed & breakfast to superb hotels. A good place to stay is the Verbania area at Lake Maggiore. In Stresa you will find the most sophisticated hotels. Camping is also available. A good way to learn more about the area is staying at an agritourismo or a family oriented B&B.
Piedmont is generally a very safe place.