Let’s start this journey. We’ll discover a corner of Italy, there, near the French border. Turin is not far away, but here nature reigns. The bag is packed and the train ahead. Let’s find out the magic of the B&B Altrove!
Here we are in the Vaudois Valley, there where the Chisone Valley meets Val Pellice. The town of Prarostino is the union of villages and hamlets that extend from the hill, 450m s.l.m, to the mountain, at a height of about 1100m. The inhabitants are a little over 1,200, and walking the streets of the village you can still here someone speak patouà, the language of the Waldensian.
Why did you choose Prarostino?
The choice of Prarostino was a real gamble, Grazia tells us.
We have always lived in Turin, and we did not know at all Val Tisone. Then, during a year that was really hot we tried to rent a house to spend the summer. So we arrived in Prarostino and we love it madly. The next year we bought an old house of 700 that needed to be completely restored. We recovered following the principles of green building, bringing it back as it was before. The available space was more than we needed, we had an extra room to accommodate friends. This gave rise to the room at the B&B. The room for guests is ideal for couples, has a private bathroom and a separate entrance.
What made you fall in love with this place?
We liked the small village made up of several houses of the late eighteenth – early nineteenth century, surrounded by nature but close to the city. We are between 750 and 800 meters above sea level. 5 minutes from home we have an organic garden shared with a dear friend, from which we get the fresh vegetables for our menu and fruit jams (homemade) for our guests. Here it’s easy to find genuine products: there is the friend farmer who raises cows and produces delicious cheese, a big family every Saturday bakes bread made with sourdough, and sells a grape called special ‘Doux d’Henry’ or ‘doun of Henry’ (gift of Henry, in honor of Henry IV). This dark delicious grape comes from a native and very fine vine, which once produced a special wine.
The B&B Altrove (altrove means elsewhere in Italian) comes with its ancient stone facade, covered by green ivy.
To welcome us there’s Grazia, while Ferruccio, his partner, is in the kitchen. He’s baking the bread and pastries for the organic breakfast. The rooms are cozy, tastefully decorated; the atmosphere is enveloping.
The scent of wood and of freshly baked bread, an unusual silence that we are not used to hear, pictures and books scattered around, objects of design: each detail makes Altrove a place of poetry and serenity.
Grazia takes us in the only room of the B&B: it’s spacious and equipped with everything you need: from Wi-Fi to the modern private bathroom. The room has a separate entrance, to be more free and without timetables.
The hosts offer us their discreet company, made of a chat over a good wine, good music and recommend tours and excursions. They tell us how the B&B was born a bit by chance, in a hot summer. In an effort to find a bit of fresh and nature, they have started looking for a place to go back in the evening after the working day in the city. And so they arrived in Prarostino and that summer between nature, somehow, it never ended; and it became their new lifestyle, more sustainable, that they wanted to share offering green hospitality.
After a night’s sleep, with the moonlight, and after tasting the delicacies of Ferruccio for breakfast, it’s time to go out and find these places in Piedmont. The forests, mountains, rivers await us, but we can also choose a night in the town: all around us, within a few kilometers.
What is the itinerary or the excursion that you most recommend?
There are beautiful routes that go from very quiet walks in the woods, mountain biking, to adventurous climbing, such as the path leading to the hill of Vaccera, up to 1,300 meters.
Every day there are many opportunities for walking or climbing. There are all the tracks used by the partisans during the war, which remind us of the proximity of the border (we are 40 km from Sestriere). There are still all the walking trails that lead to France. Some of these you can travel on horseback.
Elsewhere it is not a place like the others, has no boundaries. Elsewhere is a second home, but also a place of discovery. Of ourselves and nature.
Elsewhere is a negative mirror. The traveler recognizes the little that is his, discovering the much he has not had and will never have.
Cover image: first snow in Val Chisone, Piedmont, ph. by Vincenzo Giordano, via flickr