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Piemont, Bild: Rostislav Glinsky / shutterstock

Piedmont – At the foot of the Alps

Piedmont is the northwesternmost region of Italy, which separates Switzerland and France . The fact that it is still treated a little stepmotherly today is due to the fact that the former Savoy was its own empire of great importance in European history. When Italy was united under one flag, it was the kings from here who took control of the country. Today, Piedmont is best known for its outstanding cuisine, diverse landscape and long history, which is reflected in a wide variety of buildings and sights. In addition, Piedmont is much more than just a large ski resort.

Piedmont – what should you know about the region?

Barolo, Piedmont
Barolo, Image: Matteo Volpone / shutterstock

Piedmont is still above all a paradise of nature. In no other region of Italy are the contrasts of the country as clear as they are here. The only thing missing is direct access to the sea – but Genoa is directly in the south and can be reached in a few hours. With its capital Turin, Piedmont, like the rest of northern Italy, is one of the country’s most important economic centres. Once the most important industrial city, Turin has now become an insider tip for those who would like to experience the culture in Italy without stepping on the toes of another tourist at every step.

Turin is also the capital of Fiat, which is evident in a great museum. This region, which is so important for Italy, is a little insider tip because, from Turin, you can be in a wide variety of areas in just a few hours. There are the Alps with the famous ski resorts that are appreciated not only by the Italians, but also by the French and the Swiss. The Sestriere and Via Lattea are particularly well-known for this. All over the world, the standard offered here is observed.

Turin
View of Turin, Image: ZM_Photo / shutterstock

The region around Monferrato is in complete contrast. Here you will find vineyards, small villages, endless valleys and fertile meadows. This is also the home of the famous Piedmont cherry, which actually has only a distant connection with the region today. Above all, however, the region is known for the many castles and mansions of the Savoy people, who have ruled over the region for several hundred years and left their mark on it in terms of culture, architecture and history. The small restaurants in the farms invite you to enjoy an extensive meal with the famous local cuisine.

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The typical sights of the region

Every trip through Piedmont should begin with a stay in Turin. Today, the city is best known for being the center of Italian car culture. In earlier times, it was the capital and therefore also the residence of the Dukes and Kings of Savoy. First and foremost is the Venaria Reale, the royal palace, which has of course become a World Heritage Site with its impressive architecture. But there are also small and large hunting lodges everywhere in the region, which the former nobility used for themselves. As famous builders, it’s no wonder that so many of them are still among the most important sights today. But Turin offers even more. The city is baroque with many of its buildings and there is a little piece of history on every corner.

Sacra di San Michele
Sacra di San Michele, about 40 km from Turin, Image: Boris Stroujko / shutterstock

The cities of Novarra and Vercelli also have a long history and are surrounded by beautiful nature. Once you have explored the city, you can take a trip through vineyards and experience the typical spirit that Piedmont conveys. In general, there are many small villages that have their own history. Apart from Turin, Piedmont has always been very decentralized, which can still be found in the various places today. Places like Cherasco and Alba have their own charm and are a real highlight all year round.

Of course, there are still the many ski resorts and the many small lakes that run through the entire region. They are all suitable for a holiday in nature and with a little planned relaxation. The high standard offered in every accommodation is typical of Piedmont and almost guarantees that you won’t be able to find a bad hotel. All in all, it’s not just the sights, but the activities and culinary arts that make a visit to this region so appealing.

Living and experiencing on holiday in Piedmont

The ski resorts mentioned are just one example of things you can do here. Piedmont is known for its cliffs and slopes, which attracts climbers and hikers alike. At the lakes there are opportunities for water sports or simply for recreation when the Italian weather is merciful. If you have the chance and don’t pay quite so much attention to your own line, you should also feast your way through the menus of the region. The famous Alba truffle can be found everywhere here. Chocolates, game dishes, excellent wines and generally upscale cuisine round off the picture for the holiday.

Holidays in Piedmont: The most important information at a glance

Important telephone numbers

  • Emergency numbers: 112 (police), 115 (fire brigade), 118 (rescue service)
  • Turin Tourist Office: +39 011 535181
  • German Embassy in Rome: +39 06 49213 1

Journey

  • Airports:
    • Turin Airport (TRN): The main airport in Piedmont, about 16 km northwest of Turin.
    • Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP): About 140 km from Turin and also an important travel option.
  • Train: Good train connections from all over Italy and Europe, main station in Turin: Porta Nuova.
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Supermarkets

  • Carrefour: Various branches in Turin and the surrounding area.
  • Esselunga: Several locations in the region, known for a wide range of products.
  • Coop: A widespread supermarket chain with many branches in larger cities and towns.

Doctors and hospitals

  • Turin:
    • Ospedale Molinette: Corso Bramante, 88/90, +39 011 633 1633
    • Centro Medico Torinese: Via Montecuccoli, 5, +39 011 560 5555
  • Novara:
    • Ospedale Maggiore della Carità: Corso Giuseppe Mazzini, 18, +39 0321 3731

Important words with translation

  • Hello – Ciao
  • Thank you – Grazie
  • Please – Per favore
  • Yes – Sì
  • Nein – No
  • Sorry – Scusa
  • Where is…? – Dove si trova…?
  • How much does it cost…? – Quanto costa…?
  • Emergency – Emergenza
  • Doctor – Medico
  • Hospital – Ospedale

Holidays

  • New Year’s Day: January 1
  • Epiphany: January 6
  • Easter Monday: variable (March/April)
  • Labour Day: 1 May
  • Republic Day: June 2
  • Assumption Day: 15 August
  • All Saints’ Day: November 1
  • Day of Italian Unity: November 4
  • Christmas: December 25
  • St. Stephen’s Day: December 26

Opening hours

  • Shops: Usually Monday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Many shops close at noon for a siesta.
  • Supermarkets: Usually daily from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Restaurants: Lunch from 12:30 to 14:30, dinner from 19:00 to 22:00.
  • Banks: Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Things to see and do

  • Turin: Visit the Mole Antonelliana, the Egyptian Museum, and the Royal Palace.
  • Alba: Famous for its truffle markets and excellent wines.
  • Barolo and Barbaresco: discover the vineyards and taste the world-famous wines.
  • Lake Maggiore: Enjoy the breathtaking scenery and charming islands.
  • Langhe and Roero: These UNESCO World Heritage Sites offer picturesque hills and excellent gastronomy.

NUDISM

  • Not common: There are no official nudist beaches or facilities in Piedmont. Nudism is not practiced and could be considered offensive.

Post / Stamps

  • Post offices: In all major cities and towns. Main Post Office in Turin: Via Alfieri, 10. Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8:20 a.m. to 7:05 p.m., Saturday from 8:20 a.m. to 12:35 p.m.
  • Stamps: Available in post offices and tobacconists (tabacchi).
  • Costs for letters and postcards to Germany: Standard letter up to 20g: approx. 1.15 EUR; Postcard: approx. 1.15 EUR

Safety

  • Crime: Piedmont is considered relatively safe. Nevertheless, as everywhere: Pay attention to personal belongings, especially in larger cities and tourist places.
  • Emergency number: 112

Current

  • Voltage: 230 volts
  • Sockets: Type F and L (Type F as in Germany)

Tip

  • Restaurants: 5-10% of the bill amount, often included in the bill.
  • Taxis: Round up the amount
  • Hotels: 1-2 euros per day for cleaning staff

Customs

  • Allowances within the EU: No customs restrictions on personal belongings.
  • Alcohol: Maximum 10 liters of spirits, 20 liters of alcoholic beverages with less than 22%, 90 liters of wine, 110 liters of beer.
  • Tobacco: 800 cigarettes, 400 cigarillos, 200 cigars, 1 kg of tobacco.