Cuneo and surroundings
Population 55464 people / altitude 543 m.
The city of Cuneo is very similar to Turin – only much quieter. There are many reasons to stay in this lovely town, and first of all it’s cuisine. And, of course, the great opportunities for hikers and cyclists in the Maritime Alps. The town is also famous for its chocolates and rum.
Cuneo is located on a high plateau, which is located at the confluence of two rivers (Jesso and Stura). The city has a magnificent view of the mountain peak Monte Viso (3,841 m) located in the Alps.
Napoleonic avenues of the city give it a French atmosphere.
Piazza Galimberti square
Once you get to this huge main square in the city, you might think you’ve arrived in the capital. The square, which was built in 1884, is a little aside from the old city center of Cuneo, founded in 1198. The square has several arches that date back to the Middle Ages.
Museo Civico di Cuneo museum
Cuneo has several magnificent, mysterious churches. The oldest is the Church of St. Francis (San Francisco), which houses a museum dedicated to the history of the city and province.
In the southwestern part of the Alpes-Maritimes there is a beautiful picturesque area where the two influences, France and Italy, meet.
20 km south of Cuneo is the resort town of Limone Piemonte, which can be reached by train (€2.50, 40 minutes). It has been considered a ski resort since 1907 and today it has 15 elevators and 11 runs for a total length of 80 km, among which there are cross-country ski runs. In the town (population 1600) there are several hotels and rental ski equipment. More information can be found on the website.
Where to stay
Hotel Royal Superga hotel
Superga means “magnificent.”
Located on the corner of Cuneo’s central Piazza Galimberti, this lovely old-fashioned hotel offers a blend of royal comfort with modern amenities. Free Wi-Fi, free DVD in the room, free aperitivo in the lobby bar from 5pm to 9pm, and free bikes for hotel guests! And then there’s the great breakfast, which is included in the room rate.
Hotel Palazzo Loverna hotel
Hotel Loverna has a very rich past: it used to host the King of France and the Pope of Rome. Today it offers comfortable, luxurious rooms and many refinements, such as a gym and sauna (at extra charge). The hotel has two restaurants, one of which (Delle Antiche Contrade) has a Michelin star.
Hotel Ligure Hotel
In the heart of the old town, Hotel Ligure has several self-catering rooms (minimum stay of 7 days). The standard rooms (with breakfast) are quite simple, but very clean. The staff speaks three languages, which is a definite advantage.
Where to eat and drink
Like any city in Piedmont, Cuneo has several excellent establishments.
Delle Antiche Contrade gastronomy
Today, the former XVTI century post station is the gastronomic workshop of Ligurian chef Luigi Taglienti, who skillfully combines his native fish cuisine with meat and pasta. The result is a Michelin star. Those with a bottomless wallet can book a table where you can see the entire cooking process for only (!) €130 per person.
Osteria della Chiocciola gastronomy
Despite an unassuming exterior, the Chiocciola restaurant is a culinary marvel inside. Despite the fact that the institution belongs to the Slowfood movement, very busy people can have a quick bite on the first floor, ordering a glass of wine, cheese and salami. The second floor is for bums who are not in a hurry: there is a lovely dining room with an impressive handwritten menu.
It was this chocolate producer who invented the famous Cuneesi al Rhum in the 1920s, large chocolates with rum pralines wrapped in cellophane. Ernest Hemingway loved them when he came here in 1954 while passing through Cuneo on his way from Milan to Nice – a picture of his visit hangs in the window.
Locanda La Volpe traditional Italian cuisine
This restaurant, located in the old part of town, offers authentic local cuisine (mountain dishes, including hare meat).
The way there and back
From Cuneo’s central train station, which is in Piazzale Liberta, you can travel to Saluzzo (€2.70.35 minutes, 6 times a day), Turin (€5.30.1 hour 15 minutes, 8 times a day), San Remo (€6.50.2 hours 15 minutes, 3 times a day) and Ventimiglia (€5.80.2 hours, 4 times a day), and the French city of Nice (2 hours 45 minutes, 6 times a day). The city has a second train station (in the suburb of Mondovi), from where you can go to Savona and Genoa.