“At the foot of the mountains”, this is the meaning of Piedmont, a Region in the North of Italy surrounded on three sides by imposing rocky chains. The region is rich in protected natural areas which give the possibility to explore unique landscapes, from the Alps to the flat land where rice is grown. If you are curious to know more about this land you can also read our green travel guides to the main cities and discover the suistanable accommodations:
Piedmont is known in particular for its imposing rocky chains and high peaks, higher than 3000 meters, such as Monte Rosa, Gran Paradiso and Monvisio mountains, quickly degrading towards the plain, called Pianura Padana. On the Alps there are many renowned sky areas. There are also many protected natural areas. Among these you can visit the National Park of Gran Paradiso, on the board with Valle d'Aosta where you can enjoy amazing landscapes and walk along many paths, on your own or together with the guides of the park, but you can also explore Val Grande National Park, where nature is still wide. The park hides many secrets: shy animals, steep valleys, clear waters and beautiful landscapes, going from Monte Rosa to Lake Maggiore.
You can also decide to to go to the Regional Park of Alta Valsesia, the highest in Europe, covering an area between 900 and 4559 meters high, on mountains where ibex run freely. Here you can discover the history of the main glaciers, walking along a dedicated path created inside the park.
At te foot of the mountains there is a wide area characterized by green roling hills: it is the Langhe, Roero, Monferrato and Casalese, where vineyards, orchards and cereals are grown. Here there is a production of renowned wines, among which Barbera and Spumante. A beautiful itinerary can be followed in Monferrato, walking biking or riding among castles and vineyards, small villages and green hills.
In the area between Vercelli and Novara provinces, you meet the Pianura Padana, where rice is grown, thanks to the presence of many water channels. In this area the Po River flows. It springs at the foot of Monvisio Mountain, run across the city of Turin and then goes toward the sea, flowing across Lombardia, Emilia Romagna and Veneto, marking the boarder of the Regions. The lanscapes surrounding the River, covered by the Po River Park, are characterized by the presence of many different animal species but also by green forests and bushes of poplars, willows and meadows which during spring are dotted by yellow flowers, the Topinambur.
The land in Piedmont is particularly rich in lakes: you will find small lakes in the mountains, with their clear and cold water, shining at the sunlight as diamonds, surrounded by the green of forests and the rocks, but also wider lakes such as Maggiore Lake, the wider of the Region, Orta Lake, with its small island emerging in the middle and Viverone Lake, between Turin and Biella.
If you feel tired and stressed and you are looking for a simple but effective way to feel better, I suggest you to spend a day at the spa. Let the warm thermal water cuddle you and stop thinking for a while! In Piedmont hot water naturally springs from the ground. It has healing properties and the places are located in beautiful landscapes: between valleys, mountains and hills. And also after a day walking in the mountains, why don't you take sometimes to relax?! You will find the most famous thermal waters in the city of Acqui Terme, Valdieri, Crodo and Vinadio.
The typical plates in Piedmont are characterized by the use of local products, such as truffles, Barbera wine, rice and cheese: genuine products giving a great taste to traditional recipes!
You have to try Risotto, with truffle, melted cheese or beans and sausage called Panissa, Agnolotti or chickpea soup. An invention of the region are breadsticks which are now famous all over the world.
If you like sweets, don't forget to try local biscuits: Canestrelli, with their typical flower shape, Krumiri,made in the area of Casale Monferrato and Amaretti. Well known are also Gianduiotti, chocolates made with a soft dough with cocoa and hazelnuts.
Organic farms in the countryside, beautiful hotels surrounded by woods, ancient buildings converted into cozy hostels...these are just some of the proposals to choose from, for a perfect holiday in Piedmont!
Finally, if you look for some travel inspiration in Piedmont you can read some of these posts:
Author: Anita Cason
Cover Image: Megan Cole via Flickr
Gassino t.se (Torino)
Colverde, fraz. Drezzo (Lombardia)
Cogne (Valle d'Aosta)
Cogne (Valle d'Aosta/Vallée d'Aoste)
Ceresole Reale (Piemonte)
Luserna San Giovanni (Piemonte)
INTROD (Val d'Aosta)
Ceresole Reale (Piemonte)