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15 Places to visit in Piedmont


Piedmont is one of the most deserving regions of our beautiful country, but too often it is not adequately celebrated and perhaps it is not given the right merits.
Its cities, including Turin, seem to remain off the radar of tourists arriving in Italy: most foreigners head for the Rome-Florence-Venice triptych, and the Italians themselves prefer the seaside resorts of Sicily, Sardinia and the Salento, or the mountain areas of Trentino.

In reality, this fantastic territory has a lot to offer, austere elegance, incredible atmosphere, fantastic historical and cultural places, great food and impressive natural areas. Here we advise you 15 things to see absolutely in Piedmont.



Index

  1. Torino
  2. The Royal Palace of Venaria Reale and Stupinigi
  3. Lake Orta and villages
  4. Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands
  5. Gran Paradiso Park
  6. Alpe Veglia and Alpe Devero Natural Park
  7. Ivrea and its lakes
  8. Sanctuary of Oropa and villages of the Biella area
  9. Langhe, Roero and Monferrato
  10. Castle of Racconigi
  11. Alta Valsesia Park
  12. Val di Susa and the Via Lattea Ski Area
  13. Sacra di San Michele
  14. Agliè castle
  15. Sestriere, Val Chisone, Usseaux and Fenestrelle
  16. User questions and comments

Save with the Torino Piemonte Card: the Torino Piemonte Card for two, three or five days allows you to explore the region in a simple and economical way. It offers free access to museums, monuments, castles and royal residences and discounts for concerts, theatrical performances and public transport.

1 - Turin

For its artistic beauties and centuries-old history, Turin is one of the most beautiful cities in Piedmont and Italy.
The tree-lined avenues are a characteristic of Turin and the conception dates back to 1808 to connect the Savoy residences together. The oldest are Corso Francia, Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Corso Regina Margherita.

Among things to see absolutely: the Renaissance Cathedral, seat of the Holy Shroud, the Mole Antonelliana which houses the National Cinema Museum, the Royal Palace, Palazzo Carignano, Palazzo Madama, and the beautiful Egyptian Museum. Another feature of the city is the monumental arcades, develop for over 18 km. Along the banks of the Po there is a famous public park, the Valentino Park, which in 2014 was the most popular in Italy by tourists. Here also stands the Castle, an ancient Savoy residence declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, now home to the Department of Architecture.
Through the streets of the city, take the opportunity to stop in the historic cafes, nineteenth-century places where you will feel like taking a journey through time.



2 - The Royal Palace of Venaria Reale and Stupinigi

10 km from Turin, in the municipality of Venaria Reale, is the famous Royal Palace, one of the Savoy residences and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.
The garden della Reggia was elected in 2019 "the most beautiful public park in Italy". Inside the complex there are statues, paintings and depictions of game that refer to the function of the structure, which was commissioned by Duke Carlo Emanuele II for hunting trips on the Turin hilly moors. It is possible to book a guided tour of 3 hours that starts from Turin.
Another destination to discover Piedmont is Stupinigi, a fraction of the municipality of Nichelino. Here is the Hunting lodge with the adjoining natural park, also an important Savoy residence, the structure includes the apartments of the Duke of Chiablese, the King, the Queen, the Duke of Savoy and the Prince of Carignano. Among the most beautiful rooms stand out the game room hall of mirrors in Rococo style, the hunting room with hunting scenes painted on the walls and the central hall. The park that extends around it was used for hunting, with an area of ​​1611,26 hectares today presents a rich fauna and specimens of large trees.

3 - Lake Orta and villages

Between cities and islands, Lake Orta is one of the most beautiful and romantic in our country. On its banks there are wonderful villages, more inside it is located the Island of San Giulio, called "the island of silence" for the peace that is breathed.

An itinerary on Lake Orta can only start from Orta San Giulio, recognized as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and awarded with the Orange Flag. The town center is completely pedestrianized and the main square is like a real living room on the lake. From here you can set out to discover the island of San Giulio, located about 400 m from the shore. The most important buildings are the Basilica of San Giulio and the Mater Ecclesiae Abbey. Very particular is also the village of Omegna, in its square the Nigoglia appears, the small stream that flows towards the Alps.
The other inhabited centers are Pettenasco, Miasino, Gozzano, San Maurizio d'Opaglio, Pella and Nonio.
A navigation service that connects the main towns overlooking the lake.



4 - Lake Maggiore and the Borromean Islands

Lake Maggiore extends between Italy and Switzerland, in Piedmont it includes the provinces of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola and Novara. Among the main Piedmontese localities bathed by the waters of the lake we mention Stresa, Verbania, Baveno and above all the Borromean Islands.

The Mother Island it is the largest of the Borromean archipelago; here you can visit the 2000th century Palazzo Borromeo with an English garden characterized by white peacocks and more than floral species from all over the world. Also Isola Bella has its own Palazzo Borromeo, in this case with an Italian garden. The only island to be inhabited is the Isola dei Pescatori, also called Superiore, was once a fishing village and today its village has preserved the original architectural structure. Here there are excellent trattorias and the traditional handicraft market is famous, but also the Ferragosto party during which the suggestive evening procession of illuminated fishing boats takes place.
You can reach these wonderful islands by ferry from Stresa, Arona or Verbania, but the most recommended way to get around is the hop-on hop-off boat tour.

5 - Gran Paradiso Park

Located between Valle d'Aosta and Piedmont, on the Piedmontese side rise three mountains already identifiable from the Turin plain, the Ciarforon (3642 m), the Tresenta (3609 m) and the Becca di Monciair (3544 m).

Then the Valle dell'Orco and Val Soana expand, where they can carry out various activities at any time of the year, give it skiing al trekking. Among the municipalities that meet along the valleys are Ceresole Reale, Noasca and Valprato Soana. Still worth seeing is the Sanctuary of Prascondù, in Ribordone. From here various excursions start towards the surrounding pastures and peaks, it is located along the route of the Great Crossing of the Alps.

In the Aosta Valley area, the Animal park of Introd and Paradisia Alpine Botanical Garden. The first is a wildlife park where many animals live together, the entrance is opposite the headquarters of the Les Amis du bois association in the village of Villes-Dessus. The Botanical Garden is in Valnontey and inside you can admire 1000 species of plants and rocks, not to be missed is the butterfly garden. The town of Cogne instead hosts more than 80 km of tracks for cross-country skiing.



6 - Alpe Veglia and Alpe Devero Natural Park

It is the northernmost part of the Ossola Valley and includes the two alpine basins which together form the Natural Park established in 1995 and which affects the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, in particular the municipalities of Baceno, Crodo, Trasquera and Varzo. Alpe Veglia can be reached from Varzo, exactly from the hamlet of San Domenico through the Val Cairasca, while Alpe Devero is accessible by climbing from Baceno through the Devero Valley.

The mountain peaks of Alpe Veglia are a popular summer tourist destination and its valley looks like a vast plain covered with pastures and surrounded by larch woods, perfect for excursions and trekking in nature. There are also three lakes in which to stop, the Lake of Avino, White Lake and Lake of the Witches.

Alpe Devero is instead a ski resort popular with snowboarders and skiers. From here it is even possible to reach Binn in Switzerland via the Combi Lanza bivouac at more than 2000 m (for expert hikers only). There is also a chairlift and two ski lifts to reach the summit of Mount Cazzola from where 8 km of groomed slopes and countless off-piste routes wind.

7 - Ivrea and its lakes

Ivrea is a city surrounded by five lakes: the Sirio Lake, San Michele lake, Pistono Lake, Black Lake and Countryside Lake. They are very interesting to see and perfect for hiking thanks to the trails present that connect all five.

Lake Sirio is the largest, in the summer you can rent canoes and rowing boats. Lake San Michele, on the other hand, is the smallest and part of the surrounding area is included in Polveriera Park of the municipality of Ivrea. At the Pistono Lake the Montalto Dora Castle reflecting on the body of water below. From the Lago di Campagna instead you can admire the Castle of San Giuseppe, here there are also two areas used for picnics. Finally, the Black Lake is the northernmost one and takes its name from the color of the waters that reflect the surrounding wild landscape.

But not only lakes, the city of Ivrea has recently also been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Its historic center rises on a hill leading to the Savoy castle and Duomo, while the modern part expands flat. Food and wine tours depart from Turin between good food and excellent wine.

8 - Sanctuary of Oropa and villages of the Biella area

The Sanctuary of Oropa enchants all its visitors, even non-pilgrims, given the wonderful surrounding landscape. It is located a short distance from Biella, at about 1150 m above sea level in a sort of natural amphitheater of mountains of the Biellese Alps. Inside the sanctuary there is a meteo-seismic observatory founded in 1874 which is still part of the regional weather network and the national seismic network today. The complex has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2003 and the entire territory has become the "Sacro Monte di Oropa Special Nature Reserve", an ideal place for those seeking destinations not only for pilgrimage but also for pure magic.

In addition to Oropa, another village in the Biella area that you cannot miss is the Ricetto di Candelo. Considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, it was used as a deposit for agricultural products in times of peace and as a refuge in times of war. Its corners are protected by four round towers, and it houses about 200 housing cells protected by high stone walls. Then there is also the village of Piazzo, which is none other than the upper part of the city of Biella that can be reached by funicular or along the cobbled streets called "banks".

9 - Langhe, Roero and Monferrato

Among the hills of the Langhe you can live a unique experience discovering vineyards and picturesque villages. It is possible to participate in numerous activities such as visits to cellars, balloon flights and various tours with wine tasting.

The Langhe are included between the provinces of Cuneo and Asti, here some of the finest wines in the world are grown such as Barolo, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto and Barbera. The Monferrato area is located between Asti and Alessandria, as well as for the Moscato d'Asti, is known for the lavender fields that offer an enchanting glance between June and July. The Roero instead is located in the north-eastern part of the province of Cuneo.
Among the countries to visit there is Alba, the most important of the Langhe famous for wine and truffles, the town has a real underground archaeological heritage to be discovered. But also Treiso, perched on a small hill and surrounded by vineyards, and then Barbaresco, where the homonymous wine is produced and seat of the regional Enoteca, the symbol of the town is the imposing Medieval tower from which it is possible to admire the splendid panorama of the green hills.

10 - Racconigi Castle

During its almost millenary history it has seen numerous changes and became the property of the Savoy from the second half of the fourteenth century, so today it is part of the Savoy residences of Piedmont. It is located in the heart of the homonymous village and, in addition to having become later real village summer of the king of Sardinia, it was also birthplace of Umberto II, the last king of Italy.

Elegant and imposing, Castello di Racconigi is surrounded by a majestic 170-hectare French park where you can relax and stroll among the greenhouses and farmsteads where storks nest. Inside the structure you can then admire the original furnishings and collections of portraits. Among the most interesting rooms you will find: the Hall of Hercules Diana's room, the Chinese apartment dining room reception room library of Carlo Alberto e the royal chapel dedicated to the Madonna della Neve. On the second main floor there are the apartments renovated in the first three decades of the twentieth century, such as the bedroom of Queen Elena, the bathroom of Umberto II and the living room of Maria José's Music.

11 - Alta Valsesia Park

The protected area of ​​the Alta Valsesia Park includes some municipalities in the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola and Vercelli, including Alagna e Carcoforo where the main entrances to the Park are located. Alagna is also part of the Monterosa Ski, one of the largest ski areas in Europe, and offers a shuttle service in summer from the car park in the Wold hamlet to the Acqua Bianca locality.

The Park territory extends for 6500 hectares, from an altitude of 900 m asl of the valley floor up to 4559 m asl of the tip Gnifetti, one of the highest peaks of Monte Rosa. It is located in a colonization area "walser", a population of Germanic origin that has left its indelible mark in the characteristic architecture of the wooden houses, in the High German dialects, in the ancient customs and traditional costumes. You can discover the history of this community by visiting theEcomuseum of Valsesia which is distributed in different locations, Alagna, Mollia, Rassa, Rima San Giuseppe and Rimella.

12 - Val di Susa and the Via Lattea Ski Area

To the west of Turin is the Val di Susa, the largest in Piedmont. Between lakes, alpine passes and rivers it is a complete and perfect territory for lovers of nature and outdoor activities, you can in fact go on mountain bike itineraries, go hiking and walking between ups and downs. Of the alpine passes, the Argentera Valley offers scenery of unspoiled beauty both in summer and in winter. You will also come across the Dora Riparia, the Moncenisio Lake and the Avigliana Lakes.
Do not miss a visit to the characteristic villages of bussoleno of Exilles, both along the route of the Via Francigena, the fort of Exilles is one of the most important defensive systems in the region.

Also on the border with France is located Milky Way, the second largest ski resort in Europe, which in 2006 hosted the ski competitions of the Winter Olympics. It extends up to 2823 m of Mount Motta, has 70 ski lifts and 243 slopes, for a total length of about 400 km. In short, a paradise for mountain and snow sports lovers.

13 - Sacra di San Michele

It is more properly called the Abbey of San Michele della Chiusa, and it is an architectural complex perched on the summit of Mount Pirchiriano. It is located on an imposing base of 26 meters at 960 meters above sea level, overlooking the border between the Cottian Alps and the Po Valley, it is usually the first stop on an Italian itinerary along the Via Francigena being reachable on foot via a path which connects it to the town of Chiusa di San Michele and another to the town of Sant'Ambrogio.

The current church is the result of more than a century of interventions, the last damage unfortunately suffered recently, in January 2018 when a fire broke out on the roof, fortunately not causing too much damage.
This suggestive Benedictine abbey inspired the writer Umberto Eco in 1980 to set his most famous novel "The name of the rose".

14 - Agliè castle

The Ducal Castle located in the municipality of Agliè is an elegant and imposing building begun in the th century on behalf of the San Martino family, originally from the Canavese area. This is also another UNESCO site and Savoy residence in Piedmont, in recent years among other things it has been used as the setting for some television series, one of these Elisa di Rivombrosa.

Attached to the castle there is a large park of about 320 thousand square meters that surrounds it and which in 1839 was arranged in romantic forms, with Italian and English gardens organized in terraces on three floors. At the entrance there is an eighteenth-century fountain that symbolizes the Dora Baltea that flows into the Po, the work of Ignazio and Filippo Collino. Also all around the castle structure can be seen seventeenth-century and eighteenth-century rural buildings, like the laundry, the farmhouses and the mill. Among the most beautiful interior rooms is the Hall of the Hunt, attributed to Birago di Borgaro, with depictions of hunting scenes and trophies, contains two canvases by the French painter Berger of King Carlo Felice and Queen Maria Cristina of Bourbon.

15 - Sestriere, Val Chisone, Usseaux and Fenestrelle

The highest town in Italy is located in Piedmont, it is Sestriere and is located on the hill that connects the Val Chisone with the Val di Susa. Here is the church of Sant'Edoardo, commissioned by the businessman and politician Giovanni Agnelli in honor of his son who died in a plane crash. It has a bronze portal on which the seven children of Edoardo Agnelli are depicted.
Val Chisone includes two other important inhabited centers that deserve a stop, are Usseaux and Fenestrelle. The first was awarded among the most beautiful villages in Italy and with the Orange Flag, in the town there are numerous and characteristic fountains and original painted sundials. In Fenestrelle instead there is the homonymous one fortress formed by various parts connected to each other by roads, stairs and the exceptional internal staircase called "covered" which has 3996 steps. Inside there are guided tours of a historical nature, as well as various cultural events every year.

Plan your trip: how to get there and where to sleep

Piedmont is easily reachable thanks to Turin airport, 16 km from the city center, connected to the main European and Italian capitals (flights starting from € 61,00 -). But also with the high-speed trains that unite Turin to the main cities of Italy, Switzerland and France.

If you want to take a trip to discover the places of art you can stay in Turin, it is very convenient for traveling (accommodation from € 50,00 per night). In reverse, if you want to enjoy some relaxation away from the city, choose a location on the lake such as Stresa or Arona (accommodations from € 60,00 per night), or Barolo on the Langhe hills (accommodations from € 65,00 per night). The latter also perfect for culinary lovers.

For a stay in the mountains, Ceresole Reale is ideal for venturing into the Gran Paradiso Park, while Varzo for the Alpe Veglia Park (accommodation from € 55,00 per night). For a white week we recommend more Alagna in Alta Valsesia or Sestriere in Val di Susa (accommodations from € 70,00 per night).

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