Touring Piedmont, Italy, or Reminiscence of Summer

It’s a shame this site has not been keeping on for a while now and I’m sorry about that. Today’s post has been long in the making, the seasons changed dramatically in the meantime. Listing my reasons for not posting would just be too lame so I’m simply inviting you to step a few months back with me into the wondrous land of Piedmont, Italy.

A view ofGovone, a very pretty village in the region of Langhe in Piedmont
Govone, a very pretty village in the region of Langhe in Piedmont. Not only wine also hazelnuts are big here.

Lately (please keep in mind this post was first beginning to take shape almost two months ago) every time I looked out the window towards the park or around me outdoors I was struck by how wonderful this year’s autumn was. September was a true disappointment weather-wise, so I guess it wasn’t too hard for October to outperform it. Outperform it did: the nature’s treasures are glorifying. The generous sun provided for all possible shades of yellow, red and brown. Marvellous.

Piedmont, Italy

So, I cannot stop wondering how colourful and calming Piedmont in Italy must be in autumn. It’s a wealthy region of Northern Italy (of which Turin is the capital) that we chose as the first part of our summer holiday this year. From here, after a scant week, we headed to Bordeaux and later on to fantastic Cote d’Azur. In retrospect, the Piedmont part of our summer vacation was a true discovery. For some reason I haven’t written here about it yet but we were both very happy there. We’ll be returning gladly.

The view over the endless vieyards of Langhe region
Up till visiting Langhe, I haven’t seen so many vineyards in a single region. They seem to cover every inch of every tender slope.

We stayed in a village of Govone, a gem. It’s the kind of place we always look out for and enjoy the most: unglamorous but quietly elegant and beautifully set within its environs.

The pretty village of Govone
The Unesco listed castle of Govone
Govone, main piazza . In that bar I was given my first proper lecture by the Italian barista as to how it is completely unacceptable to order a cappuccino at any other time than in the morning. I waited for this my whole life and had great fun.

Govone as our delightful base (think huge castle atop the village, narrow, stone paved streets all leading up to it), from there we visited several other small towns and villages, that are charming and inviting not only for their greatest treasure which is, of course, their reds, be it Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, or any other, but also for the sense of soberness and down-to-earth-ness that’s hard to come by when luxuries are in question.

Barolo, Langhe, Piedmont
The view from Barolo castle: everywhere one looks there are vineyards, interspersed with whiteroads

Piedmont is, of course, known for Martini too, and Superga,  Lavazza, or Fiat, but also for the best of white truffles, and the best of hazelnuts, IGP and all. Remember Nutella?

The capital of Piedmont is Turin
Wine not your cup of tea? No worries, there’s always Martini
Turin is amazing with its huge piazzas and regal palaces
A passageway in Turin

The countryside in that particular part of Piedmont, know as Langhe, the home of famous Barolo and other remarkable red wines, is not unlike Tuscany, which is probably more notoriously known worldwide.

Neive, a lovely village with very good eating options (and a great bar offering tastings of all local wines)
Barbaresco, Piedmont, is dominated by a tower from which a traveller is granted spectacular views in every direction
The passing traffic in Monforte d’Alba, Piedmont

Here too is a region of rolling hills, manicured to the maximum, dotted with lovely dignified hilltop villages where one can usually find great trattorias and restaurants. In fact, Bruno, our host at Govone’s great b&b, mentioned that within Italy, gastronomically speaking, Piedmont is forming the holy trinity together with Apulia and Sicily.

Breakfast for the kings and queens at Ca Alfieri
Ca Alfieri al trenta and its magical walled garden

I can certainly vouch for the food because it was delicious everywhere: in a modest pizzeria down the road, or in a corner trattoria in Alba, or up in the elegant restaurant within Govone castle. I’ll make it no secret that the wine is pretty delicious too. Tested many times.

The star of Piedmont cuisine: truffle
Two plates of tajarin please (fresh egg based pasta with ragu)

As for the fine food, we were instructed by the loyal locals to dine at the restaurant Le scuderie in the Govone castle. We went on our last night and it was a meal to remember. The food was delicious, the staff competent and friendly, the surroundings very elegant and pleasant. We couldn’t have imagined a more appropriate way to bid farewell to Govone.

Spectacular view from the castle of Govone
Walking the streets of Govone, each leading up to the castle.
The setting at Ristorante Le scuderie del castello Govone

Farewell Govone, till next time!

View from the terrrace of our b&b Ca Alfrieri al trenta in Govone in the late afternoon
View from the terrace: early morning mist in July before the heat