Italy’s second largest region, Piedmont, is probably lesser known for its Ferrero chocolate factories than it is for its world-class wineries. There is however more to this region than its culinary delights: the area experiences almost the same popularity among Italians as it does visitors from overseas.
A logical starting point for a travel enthusiast is the region’s capital, Turin. It’s home to not only one of the largest Egyptian Museums in the world, but also the Shroud of Turin, a treasured relic in Christianity. You’ll also find the dominating Mole Antonelliana, an architecturally imposing building towering 160m into the city skyline. It was erected in the second half of the nineteenth century and now houses the National Cinema Museum, where you’ll find a variety of scientific and educational activities.
Don’t miss the Royal Palace and Palazzo Carignano, housing the Museum of the Risorgimento – the biggest and most important of Italy’s 23 museums – exhibiting weapons, flags, uniforms, documents and artworks. And for the rev heads, Turin’s Automobile Museum offers historical insight into city’s motor-rich heritage. It houses some 150 auto examples as well as drawings, prints, posters and models.
Snow bunnies can wet their skis at Sestriere – Via Lattea, one of the most important winter sports complexes in Europe, offering steep downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, ice-skating and snowboarding. For the less agile, there’s rocky mountain adventure climbs and river rafting. Or for a relaxing afternoon try one of the regions renowned spas – Acqui Terme – surrounded by the remarkable remains of a Roman aqueduct.
So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, grab a pocket-sized Piedmontese phrase book and get ready to experience the baroque architecture, bold wines, and myriad of museums on offer in Italy’s ‘Tuscany without the tourists’.