Cycling Piedmont: Into Italy’s Slow Food Farmland Tour
9 Nights / 10 Days
Destination Covered : Turin
Tour Themes : Heritage
Depart from home for Italy. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.
VBT Air Package guests: Upon arrival at the Turin airport, claim your luggage and exit through the customs area. A VBT representative meets you outside and helps you transfer to your hotel. The representative will be holding a VBT sign.
If you are going to be delayed meeting our transfer representative for more than 15 minutes due to delayed or lost luggage, please contact our One Call travel assistance to advise of your delay, and they will contact our transfer service. Our drivers are generally able to wait for up to 45 minutes from the time your flight lands, after which you will be responsible for your own transfer.
Please note: The hotel check-in time is 2:00 pm, but hotel staff will do their best to get you to your room as soon as possible. You have the rest of the day free to relax or to explore, using VBT’s City Information as your guide.
VBT No-Air Package guests: Your tour starts at 12:30 pm at your Turin hotel. Your Trip Leaders will be in the lobby wearing VBT staff garments. Please have lunch before meeting them. If your arrival at our Turin hotel is later than 12:30 pm or if you are delayed, please call the hotel and ask the front desk to pass the message on to your VBT Trip Leaders.
VBT Air Package & Pre-Trip Extension guests: The morning is yours to explore Turin at your leisure. At 12:30 pm, meet your VBT Trip Leaders in the hotel lobby. They will be easy to recognize, as they will be wearing VBT staff garments. Please have lunch before meeting the rest of the group.
You will transfer to Canale (approximately 1 hour) southeast of Turin, in Piedmont’s lovely Roero/Langhe region. Arrive at your beautiful agriturismo, a country resort and working farm set on an estate of 86 acres, where you’ll attend a safety and bike-fitting session. After you settle in and don your bike gear, follow, your Trip Leaders on a short warm-up ride through the hotel’s surroundings.
Witness the art of truffle hunting as you join an expert farmer, or trifolao, and his dog Willy on the property grounds, to set out in search of the precious underground fungus. During this invigorating outing, you will learn how to choose truffles and how to preserve them. Your hunt will be rewarded with a tasting.
This evening, gather for a welcome cocktail back at the hotel, where you will sample local Arneis and Favorita wines and local cheese. Your welcome dinner is at the estate’s restaurant, complemented with wines from their farm. This delicious array of products, fresh from their gardens and farm, serve as a wonderful introduction to Piedmont’s locally sourced cuisine.
Wake up and enjoy a hearty breakfast, featuring jams prepared on site and a homemade selection of cookies prepared by the pastry chef with “nocciola gentile del Piemonte,” a locally grown hazelnut: Try a Brut e Bon (“ugly and good”), a Langa kiss or Meliga and Code di Gatto cookie – or one of each!
Your route today leads you through some of Piedmont’s stunning farmlands and natural beauty to the ancient Roman city of Pollenzo, today a timeless village whose architecture spans the ages. Though most of the remains of the ancient Rome have been destroyed, the shape of the ancient amphitheater is still visible, as you’ll see by walking among the terraced houses built upon the site. In the town piazza, admire the neo-gothic monuments erected by the Royal Savoy family, whose King Charles Albert made Pollenzo his favorite holiday resort.
Today Pollenzo is home to the internationally known University of Gastronomic Sciences, established in Corte Albertina in 2004 by the Slow Food Organization. The university embraces the latest models of agriculture and the preservation of biodiversity. At the adjacent Wine Bank, more than 300 winemakers regularly select, store and preserve their best vintages, making the history of Italian wines available for future generations. A local guide will explain their interesting projects and show their numerous wine collections featuring the best vintages from all over Italy.
After lunch on your own, enjoy an invigorating ride across the River Tanaro, the natural northern border of the Langhe, into the heart of the region. The breathtaking hilly landscapes you’ll traverse, or langa, are famous for wines, cheeses and truffles. The wine making culture, traditions and terrains established are among Europe’s finest examples of man’s harmonious relationship with nature and are considered an aesthetic archetype of European vineyards, earning this entire area a place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is truly a privilege to cycle here.
Upon arrival at your hotel, settle in and relax, perhaps by the panoramic pool, before walking with your Trip Leaders to a local restaurant for a great Piemontese dinner.
Today’s route passes through beautiful hamlets. During an inspiring reel, marvel at incredible views of manicured vineyards and castles. You will also cycle by the region’s rectangular cascine farmhouses, unique to Piedmont. The longer sides of these buildings face the sun, for warmth in winter and are embellished with an arcaded terrace, stone floors, and iron railings overflowing with colorful flowers. You will cycle by some of the best known cascine, home to wine makers, and take in spectacular views of Verduno, Roddi and other hilltop villages crowned by castles.
Later, pedal into Barolo and admire its impressive castle. This quaint medieval village gave the world famous, light-colored red wine its name. You will have time to explore and enjoy lunch on your own at a local café. Perhaps you’ll sample wine at one of the many cantinas or stroll to the WIMU, the wine museum located in the castle where Barolo wine was born. Here, you can learn the history of the Marquis Giulia Colbert and Carlo Tancredi, both beatified.
Back at the hotel, enjoy time to relax or explore before shuttling to Alba, the capital of white truffles, for a stroll, some shopping and dinner on your own. You cannot miss the delicious ravioli del plin or tajarin pasta!
Today more of rural Piedmont unfolds. After breakfast, ride through beautiful, hilltop Serralunga d’Alba. Overseen by a majestic castle, this tidy village seems frozen in time. Later, cycle past the headquarters of Fontanafredda, a historic Italian winery. Its cellars are among the 100 finest in the world. If you have time, browse its unique library or stroll the trails of its vast park, the Wood of Thoughts, past centuries-old trees, a lake and spots to meditate.
Continue to Grinzane Cavour, an ideal stop for lunch. Take the time to visit its historic castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and host to the World Auctions of Alba white truffles. The castle was home to the Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, statesman of the Risorgimento and mayor of Grinzane for 17 years. Today it houses the first regional Enoteca of Piedmont and the splendid Hall of Masks, which celebrates The Order of the Knights of the Truffle and Wines of Alba.
This afternoon, you will loop back to our hotel through Castiglione Falletto, past more stunning vineyards and gently sloping hills.
Relax at your hotel’s swimming pool, and later wander into this beautiful village, which holds several options for dinner tonight.
After breakfast, take a 30-minute shuttle to the start of our route: the charming hilltop village of Barbaresco. Famous for its eponymous wine made from Nebbiolo grapes, the town’s small former church hosts the Enoteca Regionale.
Your route unfolds among the hills overlooking the dreamy valley of the Belbo River. You’ll enjoy magnificent vistas with little evidence of the wartime scars it bore when many of its villagers fell during WWII. Your destination is Canelli, famous as the home of the largest producers of Spumante d’Asti, the Italian sparkling wine created in this small city 150 years ago. Enjoy lunch in one of its most ancient vaulted cellars, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is so vast that it’s known as an “underground cathedral.” While here, you can raise a glass to its 150th anniversary, celebrated in 2017. One of the proud owners, Giovanna Rivetti, joins you for lunch and prepares local specialties like friciule bread and vegetable pies. Savor them with cooked salami, handmade grissini, salted hazelnuts from Cortemilia, and of course a tasting of selected spumanti della casa.
After, continue riding through the breathtaking countryside to Mombaruzzo and our next accommodations, a chic country retreat revived from the ruins of a 1600 villa. Your welcoming hosts, British couple Nicola and Chris, relocated here after falling in love with the region. After relaxing and settling in, they invite you at sunset to join them in their garden, where you’ll learn to prepare pizza the traditional way, around their wood-fired oven, as well as delicious local amaretti cookies. Customize your own during this fun and relaxed class, and enjoy the results with a glass of wine and spectacular views from the terrace.
Today, your choice of routes include a more relaxed and easy loop, a spectacular hilly ride with sweeping vistas, or both. The countryside south of Asti, in the Monferrato region, is dotted with sleepy hilltop villages. Explore it your own way, and you’ll rejoin the group in Mombaruzzo at the fascinating grappa distillery plant of the Berta family. During your visit, you will learn about grappa, the popular Italian distillate produced from grape pomace. You will learn how the fragrant beverage is made and how its name is protected by Italy and the European Union. After your tour, savor a fresh and delicious lunch, featuring some of Piedmont’s great local cheeses and local specialties like Vitello Tonnato and Monferrina. After, you can sample the Berta family’s own amaretti cookies, a specialty in Mombaruzzo. Their secret ingredient is armelline, bitter apricot kernels.
Return to your hotel during the afternoon, where you can relax at the pool and in the aromatic garden. This evening, gather for a special farewell dinner under the stars.
VBT No-Air Package guests: After breakfast you will be transferred by private motorcoach to the railway station of Alessandria, arriving at approximately 9:30 am. Your tour ends here, and frequent train connections can take you back to Turin’s Porta Nuova station in about an hour. You are responsible for your own train travel and transfer to the airport for your flight home.
VBT Air Package and Post-Trip Extension guests: After breakfast, transfer to the vibrant city of Rapallo in Liguria, gateway to Cinque Terre and Portofino. At about 11:00 am, you will arrive at your ideally located, bayfront luxurious hotel, the only 5-star deluxe hotel on the entire Riviera di Levante. Your room may not be available until 3:00 pm; you may store your luggage with the reception desk. Join our local expert for an included orientation tour of Rapallo.
You will quickly find that walking is the best way to discover Rapallo. Enjoy leisurely strolls amidst its Old Town, seaside ambiance or follow footpaths into the hills for spectacular views. Walk the trail up to Sanctuary of Montallegro, the most important religious center in the Tigullio area. If you prefer, the sanctuary is also accessible by cable car. You can also unravel Rapallo’s lace-making tradition at the Lace Museum, housed in the 17th-century Villa Tigullio. Alternately, you can opt to venture to Cinque Terre, five stunningly beautiful and colorful villages linked by tranquil walking trails.
If you have chosen the independent Post-Trip Extension to Rapallo, you will remain at this hotel for three nights. Our local representative can answer your questions and help you discover Cinque Terre and Portofino during your stay. VBT’s City Information includes recommendations for restaurants, museums, and transportation in the area, and will help you explore on your own.
After breakfast* this morning, you will transfer to the Genoa airport (approximately 40 minutes, depending on traffic) for your departing flight. Please ensure you are ready in the hotel reception area at the designated transfer time**.
*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.
**Please note: VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.
More Details about Turin Tour
- * Some Advance Percentage of total booking amount
* Airfare/Transport fare to be paid full at one time in advance.
Cancellation & Refund Policy
- * Upon cancellation, refund will be made after deducting the Retention Amount.
* Retention Amount varies as per the number of days left before your package start date.