This region's name means “the foot of the mountains.” It borders Switzerland to the North and France to the West. It includes the entire northwestern section of the Italian alps. Europe's highest mountains are located here: Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc) is just a few kilometers across the French border. Monte Rose (4,618 m) is right on the border. The mountains end abruptly at the Po river valley. Rare languages are still spoken in the deep and inaccessible valleys – including medieval Occitan and Walser German. South of the capital city, Turin, you will discover a charming and culturally interesting region. Fine wines are made from vineyards on the gently rolling hills around Asti. Truffles grow in the surrounding forests. This combination attracts gourmets from all over the world.
Italian Lakes & Swiss Mountains: Criss-Crossing the Alps
Capital of the Piedmont wines
The wine and truffle capital of Piedmont 50 km south of Turin is a must for gourmets. The town of 30,000 inhabitants is surrounded by the vineyards of Montferrato, Roero and Langhe. The rolling landscapes are particularly captivating when the autumn foliage reaches its peak. A drive among the villages and ancient Castelli that dot the countryside south of Alba, where Barolo and Barbaresco wines are produced, is particularly enjoyable.
Hexagonal castle and most beautiful synagogue in Europe
The town in Piedmont is rich in cultural features. One to point out is the Romanesque cathedral Sant'Evasio, originally from the year 742 but completely rebuilt in the 12th century. The Church of San Domenico and a number of the palaces date back to the Renaissance. The convent of San Chiara in the center of the city is home to paintings of Il Moncalvo. The hexagonal castle (Castello dei Paleologi) is a military masterpiece from the 15th century. The synagogue of the city is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe.
Medieval towers in front of a magnificent backdrop
This ancient capital city of the earldom of Saluzzo is located on the western edge of the Piedmont and is a magnificent sight in front of the pyramid-shaped mountain called the Monviso (3,841 m). The architecture of the original city can still be seen in the historic old town. The harmoniously interspaced buildings serve to highlight the medieval palaces and monuments. Once inside the city walls, follow the “Salita al Castello” to the old town with its palace. Medieval exhibitions and markets once took place in the Piazza Castello, which is surrounded by elegant terracotta houses adorned with frescoes. Sights especially worth seeing include the earls' residence, the old town hall, the palace of liberal arts and the city tower dating to 1462. It is 48 meters high and can be climbed.
Mountain village on an wonderfully scenic road
This village with a population of 300 lies on a remote, scenic road winding through the Italien Maritime Alps. The town's history is a classic example of rural-urban migration: It had 2800 residents 120 years ago. This is also where Valcasotto cheese is made using high-quality raw milk. As in the past, the cheese comes in square blocks that can weigh up to six kilograms. Their shape made it easier to load them onto donkeys.
Romantic lake between Ticino and Po Valley
In a part of Switzerland renowned for its warmth and Mediterranean light, Lake Maggiore has been attracting visitors for over 100 years. While its northern (...)