Piedmont: Italy’s region surrounded by the Alps


Piedmont is in the northwestern part of Italy and is bordered by France, to the northwest by the Valle d’Aosta, to the north by Switzerland, to the east by Lombardy, to the southeast by Emilia Romagna and to the south by Liguria. The region is divided into three zones: the Alpine, the Apennine and the hilly-plain area lying between the first two.

The Alps surround the region to the west and north and the Apennines to the south, near the border with Liguria and Emilia-Romagna. “Piedmont” translates as “foot of the mountains” and this is true: as mentioned above, the region is surrounded by mountains on three sides. The Alps look harsh and imposing here: the three thousandths of peaks fall to the valley level very steeply. The highest peaks are Monte Rosa and Gran Paradiso.

Piedmont has many small and large rivers, all flowing into the Po, which originates in the Pian del Re at the foot of Mount Monviso. There are many mountain lakes of glacial and moraine origin: the largest, Lake Maggiore, is on the border of Piedmont and Lombardy. Lake Orta is the second largest.

In the flat Piedmont the climate is temperate continental, becoming moderately cold and cold as one ascends the mountains. In the lowlands the winters are cold and wet, with frequent fogs and little precipitation. Summers are hot and sultry, with frequent thunderstorms, especially in the areas north of the Po. The Alps have a colder and drier climate, with snowfall in winter. Lake Maggiore has its own microclimate, with warmer winters than the rest of Piedmont and cooler summers. Thunderstorms are frequent. The main cities are Turin, Novara, Alessandia and Asti.


Piedmont is a rich history, culture and wonderful monuments of architecture (Roman, Romanesque, Art Nouveau and modern). But the main architectural masterpieces undoubtedly belong to the Baroque era, with its combination of importance and restraint. These are the palaces and squares of Turin, designed by the famous architects who were invited from Savoy to beautify the capital of the kingdom. Villas and palaces of Savoy dynasty are included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the best example of which is considered to be the royal residence of Venaria, a magnificent building, a triumph of architecture and art of the 17th-18th centuries.

Turin, the world capital of design in 2008, is more than 2000 years of continuous evolution. Within the city you will find the Porte Palatine and the ancient Roman quarter “quadrilatero Romano”, palazzos and basilicas, the Mole Antonelliana tower, Lingotto and the buildings of the Winter Olympics of 2006: the Arata Isozaki Sports Palace, the Oval and the Ice Palace designed by Gaia Aulenti and Arnoldo De Bernardi.

Among the cities of Piedmont, Alba with its medieval historical center and its famous towers, Asti with architecture of the XVIII century, Casale Monferrato with its baroque historical center, Kerasko, where fortress walls of the XV century are preserved, Cuneo, Novara with the Basilica of S. Gaudenzio, and the beautiful old town. Gaudenzio and beautiful ancient squares, Varallo with the Sacro Monte (“Holy Mountain”), Biella with the medieval tower “Richetto di Candelo”, Aqui Terme and small towns in the province of Turin. The Borromeo Islands are a true masterpiece of Lake Maggiore; the town of Orta is the jewel of the lake of the same name.

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In addition to medieval towns, castles and forts, there are two Alpine prehistoric stone villages that have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Fortresses are mainly found in the hilly terrain, of which Fenestrelle – whose walls are second only to the Great Wall of China – and the impregnable Forte di Exile stand out. Piedmont’s abbeys and temples were worked on by the best architects and artists of their time. The abbey of the Sacra di San Michele on Mount Pirchiriano in Valle di Susa is one of the architectural symbols of Piedmont. The abbey of Fruttuaria in San Benigno Canavese, the abbey of Vezzolano in the province of Asti, the abbey of Luciudio in the rice paddies of Vercellese and the late Renaissance Certosa di Santa Maria in Valle Pesio are all very picturesque.

Food and wine

Piedmont is one of the trendsetters in Italian cuisine and winemaking: it is here that truffles, mushrooms and hazelnuts are harvested, Castelmagno, Robiola, Gorgonzola, Taleggio, Grana Padano cheeses and Barbaresco, Nebbiolo and Barolo wines are made. Each area is a unique palette of flavors; each valley boasts its own “signature” products. Motta di Costiglio d’Asti grows “square” sweet peppers, in Carmagnola sweet peppers in the form of horns, in Cervera leeks, in Ivrea sweet onions, in Santena asparagus, Spanish artichoke in Nizza Monferrato. The production of salami and meat products is well developed. An excellent example is “filletto bachato” from Akvi Terme.

Meat and sausages are often used as toppings in first courses: “tagliarin” is the thinnest egg dough tagliatelle; “agnolotti del plin” is the most famous variety of local ravioli, usually served with meat gravy. Vercelli produces the most rice in Italy, especially the Carnaroli, Baldo and Sant’Andrea varieties.

Sweets are a local specialty. For the cream “gianduya” and Nutella from Alba and sweets with rum they use the famous Piedmont hazelnuts, honey, corn cookies and, of course, cocoa, which appeared in Turin in the late 17th century. For the dessert “bonnet” one takes almond cookies, cocoa, eggs, cream and caramel. It is absolutely impossible to resist, especially if you are also offered a glass of the local dessert wine, passito di Caluso. For gourmets, Piedmont is a true Promised Land. Not without reason the capital of the Slow Food movement and the University of Gastronomic Sciences is situated here. Local products and wines (truffles, 9 DOP cheeses, Piedmont hazelnuts, Barolo wines. Barbaresco, Asti and Moscato d’Asti, Bracetto, Gavi, Gattinara, Gemme, Roero) are the unique heritage of the region, a source of infinite variety and richness of local dishes.

How to get there

By air The main airport of Turin, Caselle ( www.aeroportoditorino.it) is located 16 km from the city center. The transfer from Milan Malpensa airport (www.sea-aeroportimilano.it) is also quite convenient.

By train Piedmont has more than 2,000 km of railroad lines, so it is easy to reach the main cities in Italy and Europe. In addition to the usual trains there are high-speed trains. Information and timetable: www.trenitalia.com

By car The region is well connected by road, with five freeways to the main cities in Italy and Europe. The A32 runs from Turin to Frejus in France, the A5 from Turin to Mont Blanc, France and Switzerland, the A4 links Turin to Milan, Venice and central and eastern Europe, the A6 from Turin to Savona (Liguria) and southern France, the A21 from Turin to Piacenza and central Italy.

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Piedmont (Italy) – the most detailed information about the region with photos. Piedmont main attractions with descriptions, interesting cities, map.

Piedmont (Italy)

Piedmont is a region in northwestern Italy, the westernmost Italian region adjacent to France and Switzerland. It is surrounded on three sides by the Alps and is bordered by Lombardy, Liguria, Emilia-Romagna, Valle d’Aosta. Piedmont is a peculiar blend of France and Italy with magnificent baroque architecture, exquisite gastronomy and some of the best wines in the world.

Picturesque mountains, lakes, medieval castles, luxurious palaces and old churches are all symbols of Piedmont. The capital of the region is Turin, one of the largest industrial centers of Europe, which is famous for its museums and fine architecture. Also Piedmont is the cradle of the Risorgimento, the national liberation movement that created modern Italy.

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Geography and Climate

Piedmont is located in northwestern Italy and is the second largest region in the country. It is surrounded by a semicircle of mountains formed by the Alps and Apennines, which surround it on three sides. On the slopes of Monviso, the River Po, the largest river in Italy, rises. From the high peaks, the terrain gradually flattens with hills (sometimes with a sharp transition back to mountainous terrain), gradually descending to the Padana Plain.

The Piedmont Alpine region has several excellent ski resorts. The most famous is the “Milky Way” (Via Lattea) with the town of Sestriere, which hosted the Winter Olympics in 2006. Another major ski resort is Bardonecchia.

Mountains cover 43% of Piedmont. The climate is for the most part temperate. The mountains have a pronounced altitudinal zoning and continental climate. Piedmont has an extremely diverse countryside: from the rocky peaks of Monte Rosa and Gran Paradiso to the rice fields of Vercelli and Novara, from the gentle slopes of the Langhe, Roero and Monferrat, covered with vineyards, to the quiet plains.

The Piedmont Alps

Piedmont Alps.

Administrative division of Piedmont

Administratively, Piedmont is divided into 8 provinces:

  • Alessandria
  • Asti
  • Cuneo
  • Biella
  • Novara
  • Torino
  • Verbano-Cuzio-Ossola
  • Vercelli

Vineyards in Piedmont.

Vineyards in Piedmont

Wine and agricultural regions:

  • Langhe, famous for its wines and truffles, where the best vineyards in Piedmont are located. The region is located in the province of Cuneo west of the Tanaro River.
  • Monferrato, which stretches from Turin to the eastern border of the province of Alessandria and is bounded by the River Po to the north. The center of the region is the city of Asti.
  • Roero is the hills located on the west bank of the Tanaro River between Alba and Asti, known for its light wine and honey

Tourist information

  1. Population 4.3 million
  2. Area – 25 402 km 2
  3. Language – Italian
  4. Currency – Euro
  5. Time – Central European UTC +1

The natives of Piedmont are friendly and hardworking. Not for nothing has this region been the industrial center of Italy since the 19th century.



Cities of Piedmont

    – The capital of Piedmont, one of the main industrial and economic centers of the country. It is an elegant city with wide streets, squares, palaces and a unique metropolitan atmosphere. It stands out architecturally and culturally among all other Italian cities, being the first capital of the united Italy. – The ancient city, which is the capital of the historical Langhe region, known for the production of fine dry wines and truffles. Alba is often referred to as the “City of a Hundred Towers”, which graced the cityscape in the Middle Ages.
  • Alessandria is the capital of the province of the same name and one of the largest cities in Piedmont. – It is a city in the north-west of Italy and the center of the most famous wine-making region of Piedmont. It is located among the picturesque hills and valleys, surrounded by vast vineyards and charming medieval towns. Asti is a typical city of Northern Italy with ancient history, medieval cathedrals and delicious cuisine, with a beautiful historic center full of pretty old streets. – is a small charming city that is considered one of the oldest settlements in Northern Italy. It lies on the gentle slopes of the Gattinari hills and is surrounded by rice paddies.
    – a beautiful ancient city with ancient and medieval monuments, located at the foot of the Cotta Alps. – A city in northwestern Italy, located in the heart of the Piedmont region. It is the center of the province of the same name situated between Milan and Turin.
  • Stresa is an exquisite town on the western shore of Lake Maggiore, a popular resort. – A small town south of Alba, famous for its red wine.
  • Bra, a town on the edge of the historic Langhe region, is one of the main centers of the Piedmont Baroque style, known for its numerous churches and palaces of the 17th and 18th centuries.
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Piedmont was inhabited in ancient times by Celtic and Ligurian tribes. In the 3rd century BC these lands were conquered by the Romans and became part of the Roman Empire. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire the region is covered by a succession of invasions: Burgundians and Ostgoths (5th century), Eastern Romans and Lombards (6th century), Franks (8th century). In the 10th and 11th centuries, Piedmont suffered from the raids of the Magyars, Saracens and even Moors.

The Piedmont province

Piedmont Province.

In the 11th century the region became part of the County of Savoy (with the modern provinces of Asti and Alessandria remaining independent). The County of Savoy became the Duchy of Savoy in 1416. In 1563 Turin was chosen as the capital of the Duchy. In 1720 the Duke of Savoy became King of Sardinia, making Turin one of the most important European capitals.

In the early 19th century in Piedmont was founded Subalpine Republic, which fell under the full control of France in 1801 and then completely annexed to her in September 1802. At the Congress of Vienna (after the defeat of Napoleon) Piedmont was united with Genoa. In 1859-1861 Risorgimento, the national movement for independence, flared up here. After the unification of Italy Turin became for a time its capital, which was then moved first to Florence and then to Rome.

How to get there

Piedmont is part of the great industrial triangle of Northern Italy (Turin-Genoa-Milan ) and is easily accessible by plane and train. The airport is located in Turin. You can also use the air ports of Milan, Bergamo and Genoa. Piedmont is easily accessible by train and car from the rest of Italy as well as France and Switzerland.


The most popular purchases in Piedmont are the wines of the Langhe, Roero and Monferrato regions. In the town of Biella you can buy wonderful cashmere and woolen fabrics, in Alessandria you can buy jewelry, in Turin you can dress up fashionably, and in Alba you can buy local chocolate and white truffles.

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Gastronomy of Piedmont is a kind of synthesis of culinary traditions of Southern and Central Europe. The highlight of local cuisine are two sauces: fondue and bania cauda (warm garlic sauce with anchovies). Other typical dishes are: braised beef (brazato), hare, beef tartare, insalata russa (Italian example of potato salad with the addition of peas and carrots), potato dumplings (gnocchi), aromatic ravioli stuffed with meat and vegetables, egg pasta with meat ragu.


San Michele

San Michele

San Michele is one of the most famous symbols of Piedmont and the jewel of the Susa Valley. It is an ancient Benedictine abbey built at the end of the 9th century on the picturesque peak of Pirkiriano (962 meters above sea level). This sanctuary resembles a huge citadel, built in Romanesque style and visible from afar. It is like a mighty sentinel at the entrance to a mountain valley.

The monastery has several levels. The entrance to it is at the bottom. To enter the church, you have to climb the steep staircase that is called “Scalone dei Morti”, which translates as “the great staircase of the dead” (the skeletons of monks were once displayed along it). The oldest part of San Michele is under the central nave, where there are three small chapels carved into the rock, to which 12 very old and worn steps lead.

National Film Museum

National Film Museum (spire tower on the right)

The National Film Museum is located in the impressive Mole Antonelliana building, which is one of the symbols of Turin. The museum boasts exhibitions on the origins and science of film making, including posters and retrospective videos, and is the perfect place for any film lover. The observation deck of the tower offers one of the most beautiful views of the city.

Egyptian Museum

Egyptian Museum

The Egyptian Museum is one of the largest collections of ancient Egyptian artifacts in the world, with over 30,000 items, including mummies, and three different versions of the Book of the Dead, including the oldest known copy in the world. It is one of the most visited museums in Italy.



Superga is a beautiful late Baroque basilica on top of the hill of the same name, built between 1717 and 1731. It is known as the tomb of the Dukes of Savoy and as the site of a terrible tragedy – in 1949 the entire Turin soccer team died here (the plane in which it was flying crashed into the church).



Fenestrelle is an 18th-century fortress that is considered the largest fortification in Europe and the second longest in the world after the Great Wall of China. The fortress consists of three forts: San Carlo, Tre Denti and delle Valle, connected by a staircase of about 4,000 steps. The whole structure is about 5 kilometers long and rises 700 meters up the mountainside.



Vicoforte is a monumental church in the Classicist style, known for the largest elliptical dome in the world. It was once a small medieval sanctuary, consisting of a modest temple with a 15th-century fresco depicting the Madonna and Child. Around 1590, a hunt was taking place in the vicinity and a hunter accidentally struck the image of the Virgin Mary. According to legend, the fresco bled. Since then, this place has become a pilgrimage site.

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The Stupinigi (Palazzina di Caccia) is a Rococo gem, a magnificent 18th century palace built by the master Huvarra for the Dukes of Savoy. The palace complex, founded as a hunting lodge, includes a number of interesting monuments of architecture, history and art, starting with the stables of Juvarra, where visitors can see the sculpture of a deer by Francesco Ladatte, which once crowned the domed roof of the central building, the library, the central great hall, the apartments of the duke and duchess and the chapel of St. Hubert (patron saint of hunters and hunters), ending with the precious game room with its Chinese-style interior and the beautiful French-style park designed by Michel Benard.

Sacro Monte di Oropa

Sacro Monte di Oropa

Sacro Monte di Oropa is a late antique Christian sanctuary founded in the 4th century AD. It consists of an ancient basilica, a new basilica, a museum of ecclesiastical treasures, royal apartments, the Sacro Monte, a meteorological observatory, a library and pilgrimage houses. The gothic 13th-14th century statue of the Black Madonna is considered the gem of the complex. The sanctuary is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is situated in the magnificent landscape of the Biellese foothills.



Borromeo is an archipelago of three small but picturesque islands on Lake Maggiore. It includes the islands of Madre, Bella and Dei Pescatori, the island of San Giovanni and the rock of Malguera. There are palaces on the islands of Bella and Madre where you can admire beautifully decorated halls, paintings and beautiful gardens with many flowers and plants.

Royal Palace

Royal Palace

The royal palace of the Venaria, residence of the Dukes of Savoy, was built in the 17th century near Turin and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a huge and luxurious palace complex, which is certainly one of the main attractions of Piedmont.

The palace garden was voted the most beautiful public park in Italy in 2019.

The royal palace has an area of 80,000 km 2 and includes 60 hectares of gardens adjacent to the ancient village of Venaria and 3,000 hectares of the enclosed park of La Mandria. It is a natural and architectural masterpiece that is one of the most popular and visited cultural sites in Italy. The palace was built primarily in the Baroque style and is considered one of the largest royal residences in the world. After a long and expensive restoration, the complex has become a fascinating museum and venue for major exhibitions.

Horta San Giulio

Horta San Giulio

Horta San Giulio is a charming old village whose historic core is located on a small island in the middle of Lake Horta. It is a very atmospheric place with picturesque scenery.

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