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Long, green perspectives of hillsides spreading to the horizon, little medieval villages, each one with its history, its culture, its spirit. This is one of the most enchanting scenarios in the whole Italy, a place that for centuries inspired poets, musicians, cooks and painters: the Langhe, historic region of Piedmont extending between Cuneo and Asti, renowned for its vineyards and cuisine. White truffles, hazelnuts, robiola cheese. Not to mention the wines, the names of which are known to everyone: Barolo, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, Moscato.
This extraordinary wine and food tradition, along with the presence of monuments, castles, works of art and an overall old time feeling, made of the Langhe one of the favorite destinations for week-end trips of thousands of people, from all over Italy and from abroad.
Here you’ll taste both exquisite wines and foods, thanks to the excellent raw materials, taking your time in a quiet and relaxing atmosphere. There’s plenty to see and do: the Langhe offer a wide array of walkable paths among nature, bike trails and panoramic streets, that you can explore with all calm, following your personal inner timing, and, in doing so, you can awaken your sense from urban torpor.
WHERE TO EAT
The best starting point is, of course, Alba with its Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba, open from 8th october to 4th december, the program of which is full with a lot of different events like the Foodies Moments, meetings with chefs and other exponents of the gastronomic world, then we have the sensorial meetings with our beloved white truffle, the wine tastings and many other events focused on other gastronomical products of the Langhe, like the Fassona meat for instance, and other cultural and musical moments.
To entertain your taste buds outside of the Fiera we propose the three Alba’s restaurants the we of Flawless Milano liked best: the Ristorante Piazza Duomo, maybe one of the best looking in the whole region, with the careful and intricate of its awarded dishes that has nothing less than three Michelin stars; the Osteria dell’Arco, more familiar and easy going with a gorgeous internal courtyard, and the Enoclub, an ex-cellar where premium meats and homemade pastas are served in an industrial-chic context that you will have an hard time forgetting.
Moving on to La Morra, along your itinerary, you can stop at Osteria del Vignaiolo: great cooking, incredible raw materials and fantastic wine. Of all the dishes the menu offers, the most worthy of mention are the tagliolini with sausage ragout, followed by plin ravioli with butter and sage and then the green ravioli with black truffle sauce and robiola cheese. Among the desserts, then, the absolute best ise the chocolate sphere with the raspberries-covered white chocolate mousse.
If you are in Barolo, the best of the best is the Wine Bar Barolofriends, with its relaxed and familiar vibe and the interiors with their contemporary designs. The Wine Bar offers a selection of more than five hundred labels of prestigious wines and a white truffles-devoted menu both in autumn and winter.
Instead, if you’re passing by Castiglione Falletto you are obliged to make a stop to Terrazza di Renza for its breathtaking view over the Langhe landscape, greet the owner, Renza, and have a coffee or maybe eat a little something with a glass of full-bodied wine to wash it off. The lunches are very fast, here, but absolutely tasty. The Terrazza really is a great place, known by all the best connoisseurs of the territory: watching the wineyards change color is a moving and always different spectacle.
And, at the end of your tour across the Langhe, you surely can’t miss, in Fontanafredda, the Disguido Osteria, specialized in wines, where you can try the Alta Langa sparkling wine but also have some more lunch: they have meats, cured meats and cheeses. Simple and essential food from local farmers, traditional recipes and the good old-time flavors. Is there something else in life?
WHERE TO SLEEP
Photo credit © Arborina Relais
If you find difficult finding free spots to spend the night in Alba, we’d like to remind you that Piedmont is full of unique and charming places that aren’t at all distant from each other. To find a place to spend the night more easily you can use the Tartufo e Vino portal, and it will help you in your search.
If you can’t find places to spend the night in in Alba, Cherasco could be a very nice alternative, it’s just an half an hour drive from Alba. We slept in La Morra, in Arborina Relais, a twenty minute drive form Alba, facing the wonderful wineyards of Barolo. A truly exquisite hotel, with a modern, very elegant design, an osteria and wine shop attached to ii. Here you can book nice activities like tastings, nature walks and even picnics among the wineyards.
The following day, we moved to Barolo, a little medieval hamlet high on a small plateau inside of a natural amphiteather of spectacular hills. We slept in Casa Svizzera, which is named after the ancient Hotel Svizzero, who got this name from the decorations that made the building look like a chalet.
If you’ll sleep in the Castello Suite, amazingly furnished and restructured you will have over your bed an attic window that will let stargaze through the roof and watch, like it’s framed, the principal tower of the Castle of Barolo, now home of the National Wine Museum “WiMu”
WHAT TO DO
The Fiera del Tartufo will keep you busy for most of the time, but the Langes are not easily reduced to the Fiera: there’s a lot to see and do. They are mostly gastronomic experiences, guided visits to historical sites, natural parks and the hills, which are spectaculars in autumn.
Every town has its monuments, castles, palaces and cellars. All the components of a relaxing and quiet vacation that doesn’t demand much fatigue. The ideal on such occasions is to have your own car, but there are lots of different possibilities for moving around if you don’t have that.
Cherasco is a small town of less than ten thousands souls, and yet is full of nice views and unmissable corners. It’s great, in the morning, having breakfast facing the Arco del Belvedere and the St. Augustine Church. Walking among the trees of the ancient ramparts it’s very nice, and so is visiting the Salmatoris Palace. There are two museums, a civic one and a naturalistic one, a nice 18th-century sinagogue and the Visconti’s castle.
Barolo, instead, is dominated by another castle, the Marchesi Falletti castle, built during 13th century, that is totally worth visiting. A particular mention goes to the Historic Library of the castle, that was reorganized by the important Italian intellectual and writer Silvio Pellico. Now the castle is home of the Etnographical and Oenological Museum of Barolo, the “WiMu“, composed of twenty-five rooms made to let you explore with your senses the history of this wine.
Castiglione Falletto, which is also a small town, offers, besides its landscapes and the many nature trails, only one medieval castle, that you can visit in some periods of the year. Fontanafredda, instead, was the estate of King Vittorio Emanuele II with fifty-four hectares of extension and it’s the classic place where history and nature mix up perfectly. You can visit the little village, the spectacular cellars and the royal residence. A small forest, called Forest of Thoughts, will offer a very pleasent stroll of around forty minutes during which you will enjoy nature’s silence, a cure for your nerves better than a week-long retirement in a Spa.