In Piedmont, the plain rises towards the hills creating a harmonious geometry of vineyards and villages, forests and castles. An anthropized fabric that recounts the history of the places and blends in with a natural environment to be discovered by simply walking or exploring by bicycle, car, motorcycle and, in some places, even on horseback, amidst the spectacular variety of colours that change with each season.
The Collina di Torino (hill of Turin), known in the past as the "mountain" by the people of Turin, extends to the foot of the River Po and Collina Torinese Park, a UNESCO Mab Reserve. To enjoy the variety of its areas and landscapes, you just need to venture onto the Anello verde (Green ring), the approximately 35-kilometre hiking trail that is composed of ancient paths, gardens, wooded areas and residences such as Villa della Regina or sacred architecture such as the Basilica of Superga. For a tour in the setting of hills, parks and rivers that surrounds the Royal Residences of the House of Savoy, there is the Corona di Delizie in Bicicletta, a ring of over 90 kilometres of cycle paths and rural roads for city bikes, mountain bikes, as well as on foot. A beautiful trail that is part of the Corona Verde, the green infrastructure system of the metropolitan area.
About forty kilometres from Turin in the Canavese area, the Serra d'Ivrea stands out as a mighty morainic construction of terraces alternating with cultivated plains, woods and rows of vineyards, signs of a viticulture deeply rooted in ancient times, favoured by the particular microclimate and rich biodiversity. These hills are the realm of Erbaluce di Caluso DOCG, Canavese and Carema DOC, the latter being the result of "heroic" cultivation on dry terraces that climb 700 metres high. Here the undulating landscape is dotted with testimonies of art and architecture on the Royal Road of Turin Wines, including pergolas supported by the typical topiun, stone and lime structures used since ancient times also for their function of releasing the heat accumulated during the day at night.
In the Monferrato area, between Langhe, Asti and Alessandria, the hills stand out in the intertwining of villages and castles, wineries, panoramic towers and vast cultivations of fruit and vegetables. Here, the jagged and irregular hills of Roero are truly special, characterised by the Rocche, formations created by a very ancient geological phenomenon of ongoing erosion, with their typical villages at the top. A UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2014, these vineyard terrains produce most of Piedmont's renowned 18 DOCG and 41 DOC wines in a splendid natural setting, which should be savoured at a slow pace, to fully understand the ancient culture of savoir vivre that pervades the atmosphere. We are in the realm of Barolo and Barbaresco, Nebbiolo and Barbera, Dolcetto, Arneis and Pelaverga.
While "hunting" for truffles and local specialities, you cannot miss a visit to the infernot, the characteristic cavities dug below houses in ancient times to preserve the most prized wine. Here, the connection with the places is also expressed in the passion for art, as confirmed by the series of installations and contemporary works that create an ideal open-air museum, to be discovered along an ideal itinerary of art mapping.
Going down towards the surroundings of Alessandria there is the captivating landscape of the Colli Tortonesi (Tortonesi Hills) where you can find DOCG wines such as the Brachetto and the Gavi, but also the Timorasso and other wines proper to the territory. Here the atmosphere has the scents and the colours of the nearby Ligurian Sea. On the background there are medieval strongholds, such as the imposing Gavi Fort, and countless castles, which are everywhere to see between slopes and plains.
Another gem of the territory is the Gran Monferrato, an evocative area that stretches from Casale Monferrato to Ovada, reaching Acqui Terme. It includes also the longest Wine Road in Italy called “La Strada dei vini e dei sapori del Gran Monferrato”.
Between these captivating hills there are two World Heritage Sites (the Sacro Monte di Crea and the Monferrato degli Infernot), castles, hamlets on a panoramic position, Big Benches, and high-quality food and wine (especially the Grignolino).
You can’t miss in Casale Monferrato the Sant’Evasio Cathedral, the Civico Museum and the Bistolfi plaster cast gallery, the baroque Synagogue which is the most valuable in Europe with the Jewish Museums and the Castle, home to exhibitions and events.
Acqui Terme is a charming spa town already renowned during the Roman age for its steaming water that is an important and vital element of this town. It is surrounded by vineyards and landscapes identified in 2014 by UNESCO heritage, full of artistic and food suggestions accompanied by the excellent aromatic wines Brachetto and Moscato.
Ovada is a town located in the confluence of the rivers Orba and Stura. It is characterized by narrow streets and buildings with painted facades testifying to the influence of the Republic of Genoa. The Ovada area is surrounded by a wonderful territory characterized by trails, castles, woods, and vineyards, from which the high-quality Ovada DOCG come from, and surround the hills and the picturesque villages in Ovada.
Stretching between two rivers (the Ticino to the east and the Sesia to the west), the hills of Novara descend towards the rice-field plain that is part of the Sesia Valley Protected Areas. Against the backdrop of Monte Rosa, the horizon is dotted with settlements and towns of medieval origin, such as the perfectly preserved fortified castle-ricetto of Ghemme (built starting from the 11th century). Wine tourism and outdoor excursions enthusiasts should not miss the itinerary that winds among gentle hills, largely covered by centuries-old vineyards and now a production area of robust DOC wines in the area of Boca and Romagnano Sesia, Sizzano and Fara Novarese, and DOCG wines in Ghemme, City of Wine and Honey.
Between Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta, the hills of Vergante form a vast strip dominated by Mottarone, from the top of which - at almost 1500 metres - the view of the Alps and the seven surrounding lakes is truly breathtaking, especially when aboard the two-seater sled that whizzes down a 1200-metre track in the Alpyland Adventure Park. Also at the top, but at 800 metres, the Alpinia Botanical Garden (in the hamlet of Alpino di Gignese) is a natural balcony covering 40,000 square metres with incredible panoramic views of Stresa and the coast. It can be reached along the old Via Borromea or with the cableway that departs from Lido di Carciano in Stresa.