Best of Piedmont
June 16-24, 2014 $4495
If ever there was a trip for lovers of Italian food, wine and cycling – this is it. Piemonte restaurants regularly feature several hundred wines — most of them local. Barolo and Barbaresco are not just the names of great wines — they are real towns that we will explore. From the autostrada, Piemonte looks like nothing more than a flat patchwork of rice paddies and wheat fields, but turn off the highway and just past Bra, the flatland falls away to a landscape of rolling hills, dotted by castles, and covered in vineyards. You’ll feel as if you’ve discovered your own private Tuscany — except there are fewer tourists, quieter roads, a greater variety of wine and richer culinary heritage.
Day 1 – Overnight flight to Milan.
Day 2 – Benvenuto! We’ll pick you up at Malpensa and shuttle you to Hotel Ariotto, in the Monferrato hills. Assemble your bike and take a test ride through rolling wine country or visit with new friends at the panoramic pool before our sumptuous welcome dinner.
Day 3 – The Roads of Champions await as we depart Ariotto among rolling hills, then string together historic villages in the Po river valley on our way to the historic wine town of Gavi. A shady road carved into a verdant hillside leads us to l’Ostellerie, a charming lodging nestled into the famous Villa Sparina wine estate. Take in the peaceful vineyard vista before we gather for a welcome drink and authentic local cena.
Day 4 – On today’s cycling loop your legs will feel how these roads shaped the careers of champions as you climb and descend with one eye on the road while the other admires the gorgeous scenery. Enjoy loops of 100, 70 or 34 kilometers before returning to the luxury of our hotel. We’ll visit the village of Gavi tonite, perhaps dining with friends at a local pizzeria or stay and indulge in another sumptuous meal at famed La Gallina.
Day 5 – Breakfast with a view begins this busy day. Our ride begins on the rollercoaster roads of the Alto Monferrato then crosses into Le Langhe. Two peaceful but challenging climbs then take us to the walled hamlet Roccaverano, famous for its robiola cheese. A wild descent lands us in Cortemilia at Villa San Carlo where our enthusiastic host, Carlo Zarri, will show off the flavors of his region at our dinner in the garden. (Below right is a picture of Carlo pouring the wine.)
Day 6 – The switchback climb to Mombarcaro is among the steepest roads we’ve seen. It’s just one of the features of today’s scenic loop along the crestline roads of Alta Langa. Pause for an outdoor lunch then return to the hotel in time to relax with a book in the hotel’s poolside garden. Open night to discover more local specialties either with Carlo or in the nearby artistic village of Bergolo.
Day 7 – Today’s route winds through Barolo country, visiting the town itself and rolling by most of the famous vineyards. Stop at the Trattoria d’Amicizia for lunch of local meats and cheeses with “Papa’s” own Dolcetto, or browse the museum of wine and truffles at the castle-enoteca in Grinzane Cavour. Cap the evening with another splendid meal at Villa San Carlo, perhaps Carlo will treat us to a dish he cooked for Sophia Loren?
Day 8 – Today we return to Monferrato, a quiet farm country of gentle hills typical in every way except that the farmers grow grapes for some of the best wines in the world. You’ll recover quickly from the challenging ride as you relax with a refreshing glass of Malvasia in our hotel’s shaded courtyard before sampling the incredible Carpaccio Ariotto and Risotto al Tartufo Chef Garrone has prepared for our group dinner.
Day 9 – Morning airport shuttles.
Revised Elevation Profile Coming Soon