Nestled into Italy’s northwest corner and bordering both Switzerland and France, the Piedmont region is an unexpected honeymoon location. Piedmont means “foot of the mountain,” and the region certainly lives up to its name. The European Alps surround Piedmont on three sides. In addition to the breathtaking landscapes of mountain peaks and alpine pastures, Piedmont is also culturally and historically rich. With majestic palazzi and an appreciation for fine wines and foods, Piedmont shouldn’t be an "unexpected" honeymoon destination, but rather a no brainer for couples seeking a more off-the-beaten-path location in Italy.
What To Do
Most visits to Piedmont begin in the region’s capital city, Turin. In the historic center, couples will find a city rich in atmospheric squares, baroque palaces and classic museums. In fact, Turin is home to the Egyptian Museum, one of the largest antiquities museums in the world. The famed Shroud of Turin is also located here. In addition to the museum scene, Turin impresses visitors with its palaces. Tourists won’t want to miss a trip to the Reggia di Venaria Palace, a UNESCO-approved stunner.
In order to really get to know the Piedmont region, couples have to partake in its wine culture. Most of the region’s orchards and vineyards are south of Turin. In particular, the area around Alba is known for its Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero wines, while the Asti province is famed for its Dolcetto, Barbera and Moscato bottles.
Aside from Turin and the Piedmont wine country, couples can find postcard worthy scenes along the shores of Lago Maggiore. The stunning lake boasts pretty vistas and picturesque towns. Perhaps most notably, Lago Maggiore is known for the Borromean Islands. The islands - Bella, Madre and Superior - are rich in villas and gardens. The islands have been owned by the same noble family since the 17th century.
What To Eat
The Piedmont region is perfect for foodie couples. Piedmont has cheeses, truffles and, as we have already said, fine wines. It is best known for its white truffles. Many dishes feature these delicacies. For example, Piemontese pasta tajarin and bagna caudal is a warm dip with Alba white truffles and raw vegetables. In addition to wine, cheese and truffle-laced dishes, the Piedmont region boasts a number of delectable desserts. Honeymooners should be sure to try chocolates from Turin, amoretti almond cookies from Novi and nougat from Alba.
Where To Stay
For the true Piedmont experience, couples will want to spend some time in the area’s tiny towns and villages. They can begin their honeymoon in Piedmont at Villa San Lorenzo, a 17th century villa near the small village of Bonvicino. Villa San Lorenzo sits in the hills of Piedmont, far removed from the tourist trail at an altitude of 2,000 feet. Just an hour’s drive from the Italian Riviera and the Italian Alps, the 14-acre property recently completed a five-year restoration project. The end result is plenty of modern amenities including Wi-Fi, satellite television and a state of the art kitchen.
Couples can choose from seven bedrooms, all with en-suite bathrooms. Added perks include two large living spaces and a traditional wood fired pizza oven. Stays at Villa San Lorenzo provide honeymooners with the perfect venue for seeking out delicious food and wine, lovely hikes, and villages untouched by tourism.
When To Go
While the Piedmont region can be visited year round, some seasons bring more advantages than others. In the early fall, visitors can expect comfortable temperatures. In this season, the summer crowds have also diminished, leaving many of the area’s most popular attractions much more enjoyable. At the same time, winter in Piedmont allows for honeymooners to partake in all kinds on sports and outdoor purists in the Alps.
Have you visited the Piedmont region of Italy? What is your favorite corner of this "hidden" region?