Wine and Food Tour of Piedmont
Discover Italy's culinary and wine delights without the crowds
DAY 1: Arrival day
DAY 2: Royal city of Turin
DAY 3: Vercelli rice experience
DAY 4: Alba and truffle fair
DAY 5: Truffle hunting
DAY 6: Asti, Barbaresco, Roero wine tastings
DAY 7: Barolo
DAY 8: Departure Day
Planning to spend more time in Italy before or after the tour? Audrey will be happy to help you plan a pre or post tour extension to other regions of Italy like Val d'Aosta, or the Italian lakes (Lake Orta, Lake Maggiore, Lake Como). For pricing on the extensions contact Audrey.
**AIRFARE NOT INCLUDED**
Love this itinerary, but these dates don't work for you? Want to book this itinerary for your own private group? Audrey can help!
- Sample local wines on a visit to Barolo, Asti & Barbaresco wine producers
- Risotto cooking class in the famed rice region of Vercelli
- International truffle fair in Alba
- Enjoy the pleasures of eating the rare and delicate white truffle
- Truffle hunt experience followed by lunch
- Learn about the secrets of chocolate with a tasting of the famous "bicerin"
- Traditional meals with a variety of local recipes and wines including one Michelin-rated experience
- Charming villages and alluring beauty of panoramic Piedmont
- Intimate group size of 6 travelers. We need a minimum of 4 for a tour to run.
NEXT CHANCE TO GO: October 18 to 25, 2023
PRICING: From $4,035USD pp (double occupancy), not including airfare.
Arrival and departure airport: Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP)
8 days/7 nights (7 nights in the Langhe, Piedmont)
Are you looking to discover the culinary and wine delights of northern Italy, without the crowds? If you are, then this is the small group tour for you!
Discover one of Italy's magical wine regions, Piedmont, which Italians call Piemonte. Although more and more people are hearing about Piedmont and coming to visit, the region remains quite undiscovered. In Piemonte, the rhythms of Italian life, uninterrupted by tourists, can be found everywhere: from the corner bar where the locals grab their daily café to the local festivals that almost always revolve around food and wine.
Piedmont is often referred to as ‘Tuscany without the tourists’. Piedmont’s undulating hills striped with vineyards bear more than a passing resemblance to its famous southern counterpart. Allow yourself to become enthralled by this picturesque region of dramatic hills wrapped with vineyards, orchards, hazelnut orchards that boast the finest quality of nuts in the world, medieval fortresses, and charming villages with terracotta rooftops. Delight in white truffles and wine tastings at premier winemakers. This area also produces most of the rice used throughout Europe and the Piemontesi claim to have taught the Swiss how to process chocolate into a tantalizing experience. Meet authentic local people, hard workers, very proud of their land and visit Torino (Turin) the aristocratic first capital of Italy and unexpectedly gorgeous city. Come discover the magic of Piedmont for yourself!
Day to day itinerary
DAY 1: October 18, Wednesday - ARRIVAL DAY
Arrive in the afternoon after an included transfer from Milan Malpensa (MXP), and check-in at your hotel in Turin where you will spend your first days in the region. Once you have had the time to freshen up, enjoy some time to get acquainted with the city on an orientation walk with your tour manager and local host. This evening your included dinner will be at a well-known ristorante, considered to be one of the best in the city. During dinner you can sip on a selection of local wines and get to know your fellow travelers.
Welcome to Torino, the first capital of Italy!
The regional capital of Turin (Torino) is magical and considered one of the most elegant and beautiful in Europe. It is Italy’s fourth-largest city and has an illustrious past, resulting in elegant squares, world-class museums and historic cafés, flanked by some 18km of colonnaded walkways. Turin also gave the world Italy as we now know it: Piedmont with its Torinese president, the Count of Cavour, was the engine room to the Risorgimento (Resurgence, referring to the Italian Unification). Turin also briefly served as Italy’s first capital and donated its monarchy, the venerable House of Savoy to the newly unified Italian nation in 1861. Monte Viso, the formidable snow-covered Alp Mountain (3820meters), you might recognize it, is the one that Paramount Pictures uses as the opening scene in all its movies.
Your Travels with Audrey tour starts at 3:00PM in the hotel lobby for a walk around the hotel area: Our hotel lobby is where the tour begins and where we all meet for an included Orientation walk around the hotel area and an opportunity to meet your fellow travelers.
DAY 2: October 19, Thursday - DISCOVER TORINO
This morning, after breakfast, meet your local expert guide for a walking tour taking you along the streets of this historical. The first capital of Italy, known as an industrial city, has become a cultural destination for the discerning visitor. The baroque palaces and churches, the piazzas and pedestrian shopping are walking distance from your hotel.
We'll venture into the old Roman Quadrilateral, an ancient enclave where the original city walls and gate can be seen, and stroll through Piazza Castello, home to Turin Cathedral and the Palazzo Reale for an unparalleled glimpse into royal life during the Savoy Dynasty. The last stop on our tour will be at the impressive Porta Palazzo open-air market, the largest-open air market in Europe where you can snack on salumi and gourmet cheeses or sit down for lunch at one of the artisan eateries.
During the tour, we will stop at one of the historic coffee shops of Turin for a tasting of the local chocolate and coffee drink, called "bicerin" and sample some local pralines. On tour, we will also ride on the glass elevator to the top of the iconic "Mole Antonelliana" where with a reserved entrance, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the city and the Alps.
The rest of the day is at your leisure to visit other wonderful sites in the city, including:
- the Cinema Museum for a peek into Italian motion picture history
- the Egyptian Museum, considered the second-best collection of Egyptian artifacts in the world (after the Egyptian Museum in Cairo)
- a stroll along the Po River through the scenic Parco del Valentino
- Alternatively stroll along the elegant shopping streets of Via Roma and Via Garibaldi. If you are interested in automobiles, do not miss the Automobiles Museum. From the first old cars to the most modern, the museum is a highlight in the birth of FIAT. It was founded here in 1899.
OPTIONAL DINNER: Tonight, you will be able to experience this city on your own; its tradition of chocolate, gianduiotti and gelato is something any food lover needs to experience. But first dinner, mind you, who says one cannot have dessert before dinner…there are so many restaurants to choose from. Be sure to try a specialty from this area.
DAY 3: October 20, Friday – VERCELLI, A Risotto Tradition
You are in for some fun today! Driving down to the largest rice growing area of Europe, Vercelli with a stop at a traditional rice farm near Vercelli for lunch and a visit of its ancient “risaia” where some of the highest quality of rice varietals is grown to be made into the tastiest risotto from northern Italy (Arborio, Carnaroli, Vialone, Nano).
Following your visit of the risaia in the middle of the rice fields it's time to put your cooking apron on for your risotto cooking class! Your chef will supervise and teach you how to transform the best rice in a superb Risotto! Lunch will feature your risotto.
After lunch, transfer to the surprising small town of Vercelli to see the monumental complex of Churches before continuing to the Langhe area; a magical valley where time seems to have stopped and traditions still are carried out in the most authentic way.
DAY 4: October 21, Saturday - Alba, truffle fair (Alba fair on a Saturday or Sunday)
Depart for the town of Alba to visit this beautiful town and visit the world-renowned International Truffle Fair, where top chefs from across the globe mingle with passionate food enthusiasts. There will be free time for shopping and lunch at your leisure.
Alba: there are few more enticing destinations for gourmet travelers than Alba, a picturesque town in the heart of Piedmont that's renowned world-wide for its succulent white truffles, velvety red Barolo and Barbaresco wines, Dolcetto d’Alba and Nutella. Alba absolutely deserves its reputation as the jewel of the Langhe and as one of the world's finest food-and-wine hotspots.
The International White Truffle Fair in Alba is one of the main Langhe events held in Autumn that draw many people interested in unique culinary experiences. Worth seeing are the Alba Cathedral, which is dedicated to Saint Lawrence, and the Church of St. Dominic, one of the few examples of Primitive Gothic architecture in Piedmont and just recently restored. Alba itself is a lovely town with castles, medieval palaces and towers, and many churches. Stroll alongside the Tanaro River, which slices through town, or along the Via Vittorio Emanuele, known for its delicatessen shops.
DAY 5: October 22, Sunday - TRUFFLE HUNT
This morning follow our truffle hunter in the fields and hills for truffle hunting. Interesting to see how the dogs work and how the men will dig in the ground to pick up the precious mushroom. Piemonte is not the only area in Italy or Europe where you can find truffles, but in some places you find just the black one that can also be cooked, in other places you find white truffles which are eaten raw only. White truffles are excellent served with simple local dishes such as tajarin (local pasta), fried eggs or grated on a risotto.
Following your tuffle hunt, enjoy wine tasting and special tasting menu for lunch!
DAY 6: October 23, Monday - LANGHE WINE COUNTRY & BAROLO TASTING
Aaaah!! A great day to just BE! We'll take a leisurely drive through the heart of the Langhe hills, where Barolo wine is produced and patiently aged. Drive by and stop at some of the fairy-tale-like medieval villages such as La Morra, Barolo, Serralunga d'Alba and its castle.
Start your day by visiting Serralunga d'Alba. Visit the castle, slender and majestic, the Castle of Serralunga d'Alba overshadows one of the most beautiful and historically intact villages of the Langhe, surrounded by the rolling hills of Barolo vineyards. Considered to be one of the best-conserved examples of 14th century noble castles in Piedmont, this castle represents a unique piece of history in Italy with an architectural structure of a French donjon. The castle's construction was carried out between 1340 – the year in which the Falletti family received its estate as recompense for military involvement – and continued until 1357. This information is gleaned from documents that register a sale carried out in one of the castle rooms.
After Serralunga d'Alba it is time to visit the famed town of Barolo. Barolo is a scenic small town surrounded by spectacular countryside, known mainly for its wine. It is part of the largest Nebbiolo grape-growing region in Langhe, the grapes from the region are used to make Barolo wine. It is the namesake city for the “king of wines and the wine of kings.” One of its main sites is the Falletti castle, which houses a wine museum and an enoteca. You may also wish to visit the Corkscrew Museum, stroll through the streets and shop in the local stores.
For lunch, relax at an on-site restaurant at a famed Barolo winery overlooking the vineyards. Partake in a lunch with traditional dishes paired with five wines (including Barolo).
In the afternoon it is time to visit the small village of La Morra, perched on a hill at the height of 513 m above sea level, is one of the most striking observation’s points of Langhe landscape. From the central Piazza Castello, in fad, you can see an overlook extended across the Langhe and the Alps that offers a unique show on the hills, characterized by villages, castles and towers emerging from the vineyards.
Let’s take a downhill walk (or we can drive down) and reach the small church called the Barolo Chapel. Nestled in the vineyard, it was built by the local farmers and rediscovered in the last part of 20th century and completely remodelled, thanks to the Ceretto family, by famous artists called in from the United States. The artist did not want to be paid, he simply asked for? One bottle of wine for each day of his life!!! The bright colour of the walls and the peaceful interior invites you to stop and take in the beauty of the surrounding views.
DAY 7: Tuesday, October 24 - ROERO, CANNELLI AND BARBARESCO
Travel to Canelli, the home of Spumante wine. Canelli, a town settled among vineyards, is a UNESCO World Heritage and truly remarkable for its “underground cathedrals”, which extend for 8 miles below the city and are dug out from several levels in the hills, creating a striking masterpiece of engineering and architecture. The Asti area is a wine producer par excellence and the home of Asti Spumante DOCG (sparkling wine), renowned and exported all around the world.
Then we have another wonderful wine tasting to conclude the day in Barbaresco.
For our final dinner we'll enjoy dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant.
DAY 8, Wednesday October 25, DEPARTURE DAY
Departure day or continuation by adding Milan or the lakes.
Transfer to Milan Malpensa airport (MXP) included for today for your return flight (Flights should not be booked before 10:30AM).
Planning to spend more time in Italy before or after the tour? Audrey will be happy to help you plan a pre or post tour extension to other regions of Italy like Val d'Aosta, or the Italian lakes (Lake Orta, Lake Maggiore, Lake Como).
Itinerary specifics subject to change
Your Tour Price Includes
- Unwind for 7 nights in charming, hand-picked boutique style accommodations that offer Italian hospitality, comfort and local character (standard rooms, including daily breakfast)
- Relax in the care of your local host, Audrey, who is fluent in Italian and English
- Private transportation throughout the itinerary
- Rest assured that we will never guide you into a tourist trap shopping experience or surprise you with hidden fees
- Private transfers to and from Milan Malpensa Airport
- Local expert guides for private walking tour in Torino including entrance to the Royal Palace and Alba
- Hand-picked experiences and insider access to the Italian way of life:
- Risotto cooking class in Vercelli
- Light lunch "merenda sinoira" on local regional specialties and wine
- Truffle hunt with a truffle hunter and his dog, known as a "trifolau" followed by an included lunch
- Wine tours and tastings in Canelli, Roero, Barolo, Barbaresco
- Cheese farm visit and tasting
- 2 dinners (Welcome dinner and Farewell dinner)
- Information packet before departure
- Taxes & Fees: Local VAT taxes and government fees, city tax, gas, highway tolls, city access licenses and permits, parking fees
Audrey's Gold Standard
I've personally tried, tasted and tested every single experience, ensuring quality and authenticity. If it doesn’t meet my personal Stamp of Approval, it won’t be on your tour!
What's not Included
- Passport fees, visa fees, immunization costs, entry clearing fees (when applicable)
- Optional enhancements like room upgrades
- Additional sightseeing, activities and experiences outside of your itinerary
- Personal charges such as laundry, phone calls, SIM cards or room service
- Travel insurance (strongly recommended)
- Your international and domestic airfare
- Porterage: Please note that you'll need to carry your own luggage up and down stairs at hotels and across cobblestone
Extend your trip
Are you planning to spend more time in Italy before or after the tour? Italy has so many beautiful cities and regions to explore. Audrey can help you to extend your stay with pre & post tour options, tailored to your preferences. Contact Audrey for pricing on pre and post tour options. Here are some of Audrey's suggestions:
Spend a few extra days in the city of Turin
The Royal City of Turin (or Torino) is considered one of the most elegant and beautiful in Europe. It is compact yet bustling modern city with impressive historic buildings, excellent restaurants and stunning views of the Alps. There is so much to do in this city! World-class museums like the Museo dell’Automobile, which is a must-see for any car fanatic—will enthrall you. Or, visit the UNESCO-listed Reggia di Venaria Reale, a lovingly restored 17th-century hunting lodge that was once the expansive residence of the Savoy royal family. Hike up to the 10th-century Sacra di San Michele, a striking abbey crowning the mountain of Monte Pirchiriano. On your way back to town, swing past Birrificio San Michele, a brewery at the foot of the mountain, for a platter of salumi and a flight of their craft beers.
THE LAKES: Add 3 wonderful days/2 nights visiting Lake Orta & Lake Maggiore designed as a post tour extension
The enduring charm and beauty of the Italian Lakes has lured everyone from Roman emperors and Hollywood celebrities to the cream of European society. Lying in the foothills of the Alps near the Swiss border, romantic Lago di Orta (Lake Orta), the most beautiful lake in Northern Italy, is nestled among a dark green forest and rocky hills. One of the smallest and lesser known of the northern lakes of Italy, its shimmering waters, the nearby ancient town of Orta San Giulio and its fascinating history will steal your heart.
On Lake Maggiore, idyllic islands play host to grand palaces and picturesque fishing villages as well as superb gardens that nurture plants from all over the world. It's a beguiling region, littered with Michelin-starred restaurants and fine hotels, making a trip here a feast for both the eyes and the senses.
DAY 1: Most beautiful Italian lake, Lake Orta
Today we head northward to Lake Orta and the town of Orta San Giulio. The village is a maze of picturesque streets and narrow cobbled lanes, flanked by old stone walls, craft boutiques, antique shops and lively cafés.
- Walk uphill to the Sacred Mountain, a unique religious site with 25 chapels dedicated to the life of St. Francis where pilgrims used to come and pray. As you walk uphill enjoy stunning views over the lake.
- Take a short boat ride to Isola San Giulio and walk around the tiny island home of a convent of nouns. Take in views and the mystic atmosphere walking around the path of silence.
After lunch, we drive to Stresa (25minutes) and check in to your hotel just a 10 minute walk along the lake to the town center.
Dinner at your leisure: your tour manager can make recommendations of her favorite places
DAY 2: Lake Maggiore
Bella (beautiful), Pescatore (fisherman) and Madre (mother). These three islands on Lake Maggiore were named after the aristocratic Borromean family—art and garden lovers—who bought the land in the 16th century and transformed two of them into luxury residences.
Today, we'll travel by ferry. We'll begin our day at Isola Bella with a visit to the Baroque Palazzo Borromeo to tour the opulent rooms filled with 15th-century art, intricate tile work and beautiful frescoes. We'll finish in the gardens before we hop the ferry to Isola Pescatori, also known as Isola Superiore, the northernmost island of the three. It’s a beautiful little fishing village where we'll have lunch. (not included) Those naturalists among us can continue on to Isola Madre, and tour the English-style Giardini Botanici dell’Isola Madre: seven terraces include cypress trees, camellias, rhododendrons, plus a wild community of peacocks, pheasants and parrots.
DAY 3: Transfers to Milan Malpensa Airport for flights out or join us for and extra day in Milan.
When we arrive in Milan, we'll drop our bags at the hotel and meet our guide for our tour, including reserved timed admissions to the Scala Opera House and the Last Supper. Discover how business and history blend together in Milan. We'll begin our tour at the Piazza del Duomo, including a skip the line ticket to the roof. Just across the square is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, one of the most beautiful covered gallerias in the world. Begun in 1865, it was the first to make use of an iron glass structure. We’ll then visit La Scala opera house, the most famous theatre hall in the world. After lunch (not included), we're off to see Leonardo’s masterpiece, The Last Supper, painted in the refectory of the Santa Maria Delle Grazie church. The church and adjoining refectory were badly damaged in World War II, and during the repair work, old sgraffito paintings in the dome were brought to light.
Milan is Europe’s fashion capital, with many chic shops and boutiques! Visit vintage shops, view street art, explore Milan’s canal district, and sample this city’s delicious cuisine. If you want to see l’ultima moda (the latest fashion), and the beautiful Duomo di Milano Gothic Cathedral, add a couple of extra days to your journey.
Overnight in Milan
DAY 5 - Departure day from Milan Malpensa Airport
From Milan, by train, you can easily reach Bologna, Florence, Rome or Venice.
Travels with Audrey RECOMMENDS YOU BOOK EARLY as hotel availability may occasionally be an issue due to popularity, capacity of unique accommodations. A supplemental fee may be applied if our normal set of hotels in each city is not available. Hotels are booked based on availability at time of booking. If a specific hotel is not available, a similar quality or location will be chosen. Your hotels will be finalized about 90 days prior to the tour (after receipt of full payment) and will be available in your pre-tour documents mailed to you within 30 days prior to your tour.
We believe that where you sleep is an important part of your overall travel experience. We choose truly special and unique locations, that reflect authentic local charm.
There is frequent confusion over the terminology used for hotel rooms. A “double” room is recognized as meaning a room with a double bed, which may be two single beds pushed together. A “twin” room is a room with two single beds. A “single” room tends to be smaller than double or twin rooms. Triples are usually two-bedded rooms plus a roll-away cot and not recommended for comfort. Some properties offer 1 double and 1 single bed, or 1 double and 1 pull out sofa
Please note that the hotel staff assigns rooms to guests. Some rooms may include stairs. A specific view is not guaranteed. As we work mainly with luxury historic inns and small upscale boutique hotels, rooms differ in size and layout. In general, Italian bedrooms and bathrooms are smaller compared to US standards. Each room has its own en-suite bathroom with shower and/or tub, hair-dryer, and basic toiletry set. Please contact us if you have specific requests/needs.
Please note: Many cities in Italy have implemented tourism taxes on hotel stays in order to "to ensure the quality of tourist, cultural and environmental services in addition to the efficiency of public transports." We are unable to include these taxes in the tour price as the majority of hotels require the tax to be paid in cash upon check- out. The tax is usually 1 euro per hotel star per person per night. (A four star hotel will usually be four euro per person per night).
Prepare for Your Trip
European travel in general involves a lot of walking, much more than we are used to in the US. Most of our tours include city walking tours, visits to hilltop towns and villages, and meandering through cobbled streets. Keeping active and incorporating long walks into your busy schedule in the weeks before your departure will make your vacation much more rewarding.
- Don’t Overpack: A challenge even for some experienced travelers! Plan to wash or dry clean some clothes during your travel. Some hotels and villas we choose offer laundry and dry cleaning services and towns and cities have laundromats. Most also provide hair dryers. Toiletries and cosmetics can also be purchased at your destinations. Please contact us if you need some assistance.
- It is your responsibility to obtain the required documents to travel to Europe. Please verify with your own country's travel laws and government agencies. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months after your return date.
The first day on tour is your arrival day into the city in which we meet. So you would be flying no later than the day before from the United States or Canada. It is your responsibility to get to the city and hotel where and when the tour begins. When making flight arrangements, please allow sufficient time to claim luggage and clear customs in order to join the included transfer on time. For all pre-designed tour packages, we meet for our first orientation walk of the tour at 3:00PM (15:00) on tour start date in the hotel lobby. The tour ends when you check out of the hotel on your last day on tour.
Note: Please make note or inquire with us as to the meeting time on that first day on tour. This should be done prior to you making any flight or train bookings so that it is clearly understood that the arrangements will fit in with our times. Your train or flight should arrive between 09:00AM and 12:00PM-noon (no later) on Day 1 of the tour to allow you enough time to check in to your hotel, freshen up and meet for the orientation walk with our other group guests.
Remember, airfare is a completely separate arrangement from your land tour. It is your responsibility to arrive at the point of tour origination.
- All prices are subject to change until the tour deposit has been paid. Please bear in mind that each hand-crafted pre-packaged itinerary showcased on the website represents a typical itinerary, and the actual details may vary due to season and special events. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances may arise. Itinerary changes are also made to improve the tour and your experience. Prices are subject to change with global exchange rates. Please be aware that equivalent dollar costs are based on exchange rates and are contingent upon a fluctuating currency market.
- All quoted prices are subject to changes based on Euro dollar/US dollar exchange rate, until balance is paid. Once the deposit has been received, the price is locked, regardless of exchange fluctuations prior to the tour . Variations in price will be made only if Euro value increases 5% or more from the time of reservation to the time that balance is due. Any variations in price, which may or may not increase your balance, will be communicated by email.
- Meals: All breakfasts are included. We carefully choose the restaurants based on ambiance and quality of cuisine.
- Air Conditioning: Hotels and mini-buses/vans used are air-conditioned for your comfort. European air conditioning should be considered as a climate-control system; most have three settings for the fan, plus a "cool" setting. Very few of the European systems actually have a temperature setting. In general, the amount of cool air that is produced from a European air conditioning system may be less than what you may have in your own home. Some hotels in Europe do not operate their air conditioning systems on a year round basis, but only during certain months of the year.
- Mobility: All of our tours involve walking and require our guests to board and disembark our vehicles several times a day making this tour unsuitable for those with reduced mobility. You must be able to walk up and down hills, on uneven surfaces and stand for extended periods of time.
- Itinerary Changes and Price Flexibility: We pledge to make every effort to operate all our tours as advertised. We reserve the right to alter or curtail the itinerary, or substitute sightseeing, hotels, and/or transportation as deemed necessary.
Please note: while we do our best to adhere to our published itineraries, they may be changed at the discretion of the tour leader (local host) due to weather conditions and any other unforeseeable circumstances.
The purchase of TRAVEL INSURANCE is strongly recommended to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. A Protection Plan can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more.
Please read our Terms and Conditions here.