You know you’ve crossed the border and arrived in Italy when the first thing you see is a local’s garden full of concrete and marble statues. And when the supermarkets have whole aisle’s dedicated to Olive Oil and tomatoes.
We have quite literally eaten our way through this part of Italy and enjoyed every mouthful. When we first arrived Pizza was often been the food for choice for brekky, lunch and dinner…and we have now expanded our diet to include Pasta, fish & gelato! Ah how we love Italy…..we love it a lot.
Turin is in beautiful Northern Provence of Piedmont which is like Tuscany but without the tourists. Rolling green hills filled with grape vines, hazelnut & olive groves, hill top villages all boasting a castle and/or massive church, wineries galore and beautiful villages with winding cobblestoned streets full of B&B’s and restaurants. A lot of people bypass this area, but it really is a gem and a gourmet food lover’s dream.
We didn’t release it at the time but Turin & Piedmont is considered the capital of the food of Italy (however I’m not sure every Italian will agree) but it’s bursting with fresh produce, sparkling wine, rare white truffles, chocolate, the “Bra Sausage” & is where the Slow Food Movement headquarters are located.
The first thing we stumbled across in Turin was the local produce market, so we stocked up on local wine, tomatoes, meat and bread. The food is so much cheaper than France and better quality and to our delight it was on daily, so we went back twice. We didn’t really know what to expect but we liked Turin and found it easy to get around. The locals are really friendly and with an abundant choice of pizza and gelato shops on every street there was not much of a need to cook in the motorhome. It’s also home of the ‘Shroud of Turin’ but that’s not really our sort of thing, plus only the Pope & the bishop of Turin can view it so we skipped the big line up at the museums and spent most of our time in and around the produce market. We made sure we left Turin with full pantry cupboards & a bit of wine to wash it all down.
We then headed south and stopped at an awesome little town called Cherasco. In the lush Langhe wine district. It’s apparently well known for its chocolate & snails (we didn’t see any or try any). We intended to only stay a night as a stopover on our way south, but found it really well situated and ended up staying for nearly a week. It’s a beautiful village around 1000 years old with 7 or 8 castles (and summer houses of past Kings & Queens from all over Europe) and just as many churches, built on a hill overlooking the hills.
From here we did day trips to Alba (factories for Frerro Rocher, Kinder Surprise & Nutella), La Morra & Barolo (home of Nobbiolo grapes and famous for its red’s where you can do wine tasting in their castles’) Monfortme d’Alba (beautiful village sitting on a hill top ridge) Cuneo & Fossano. All beautiful, all worth seeing and extremely affordable. Tuscany gets a lot of attention and so it well should, but if you’re after a less crowded Italian experience, Piedmont is perfect.
We then headed south and drove along a route that Napoleon took and past many ‘Jesus boxes’ as call them (concrete shrines depicting scenes from Jesus life and death) down to the coast and along the Italian Riviera from Savona ending in SanRemo.
The weather hasn’t been so kind to us so we didn’t get to see much outside the motorhome windows, but with it’s typical cobblestoned winding narrow street, impressive coastal drive and world class marina’s it wouldn’t be hard to spend a summer anywhere along here.
We could only stay in Italy for a few weeks as we are heading back to France and UK & looking forward to returning and working on our waistlines again for a few months in June.
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