Des Geneys-Splendid Hotel Bardoneccia, Piedmont Italy.
Don’t think of Italy as only a summer destination. There are plenty of things to do and to see during the Italian spring, fall, and even winter. This series of articles provides ideas for your Italian winter vacation, describing regional spectacles, tourist attractions, and special events, and sometimes skiing and other winter sports. Italian winter holidays have several advantages: You won’t fight the crowds, hotels and other accommodations are easier and cheaper to find, and every region has its own winter festivals. When we say winter, we mean November to February; spring comes early in Italy. Don’t look here for information about Italy’s marvelous Carnivale; we are planning a separate series covering regional Carnivale celebrations. Talk about planning; start organizing your Italian winter holidays now. Keep reading.
The Piedmont region of northwestern Italy is famous for wine and food. Their local white truffle is one of the best and most expensive “mushrooms” in the world. Perhaps the ultimate truffle festival is Fiera del Tartufo Bianco di Alba (White Alba Truffle Fair) that runs for over a month starting in early October. This festival has been around for almost eighty years. Alba is also famous for its wine as is its neighbor and constant competitor, Asti. Alba also hosts the Regional White Vezza d’Alba Truffle & Roero Wines Fair in late November. Other truffle events include the Peccati di gola - Fiera regionale del Tartufo, Overindulgences – Regional Truffle Fair at Mondovì from late October to early November and the San Sebastiano Curone Truffle Festival in November. For more than truffles visit the Truffle Regional Fair in mid-November at Murisengo’s “Trifola d’Or” (Golden Truffle) Fair with some 100 booths featuring traditional food, wine, and handcrafts from the neighboring area.
Piedmont Italy's famous Alba Truffle Festival.
The town of Nizza Monferrato southeast of Asti holds its annual Fiera di San Carlo in early November. This fair has been going on for almost 500 years. Or visit its Antiques Market on the third Sunday of every month. On the second Sunday of November the town of Alessandria near Piedmont’s capital Turin hosts a wine exhibition.
Turin is a great place to enjoy Christmas lights; the season runs from late November through early January and covers about 12 miles (20 kilometers). During December enjoy its Mercatino di Natale (Christmas Market) in the the Borgo Dora neighborhood. It’s open all week and on the weekend hosts music and entertainment for children. Everyone will enjoy the Christmas tree and nativity scene.
This is not the place to discuss Piedmont options for skiing. But should you choose Alagna Valsesia which is internationally known for off-piste skiing make sure to be there on Christmas Eve for its Ice Nativity scene. And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Piedmont wines including Barolo, Barbaresco, and Barbera.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.
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Winter events, spectacles, and tourist attractions in Piedmont, Italy