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The artistic and cultural patrimony of this region is considerable, shaped throughout the centuries and now set in the showy beauty of its different landscapes. A natural piece of tapestry made of royal residences, art galleries, museums, peaks, food and wine traditions to be discovered from the ancient villages full of history.

Among a number of brave architectural choices Turin has changed its image since the second half of the 1990s until the Winter Olympic Games of 2006. The outcome is a big dazzling city centre, perfect also for the year 2011 when Italy celebrated in Turin the anniversary of its 150 years. In fact Turin was the “first capital of Italy” in 1861.
From the architectural choreographies of the main town, within 50 kilometers, you will reach the Langhe area, in the province of Cuneo: winding hills run as far as the eye can see, hazel trees and vineyards, timeless tiny villages, divine wines, a territory whose name is impressed in the history of oenology and gastronomy with places such as Alba – the capital of truffle – and Barolo, the synonymous of excellent wine. In the heart of the province of Asti e Alessandria there is the Monferrato with Asti: in the town where medieval and baroque architectures coexist the “Palio di Asti” is held on the third week of September: one thousand two hundred figurants dressed with medieval costumes, twenty-one horses, the town decked with flags and the Eve propitiatory dinners.

From Asti towards the South you penetrate into the heart of the land of wine: behind the Tanaro river you can meet the hills full of vineyards and wine-cellars. Every village shows its own castle – San Martino Alfieri, Calamandrana and Calosso, just to mention a few ones – and even their own wine museum such as Costigliole, Mombercelli and Nizza Monferrato. The wine-cellars of Canelli are amazing and they really deserve a visit; underground “cathedrals” dig in the tuff dating back to the XIXth century.
Between the river Tanaro and the river Bormida there is the town of Alessandria with its province where Valenza stands out. Two towns, two symbols of “made in Italy”: the former is famous for the creations of Giuseppe Borsalino and his famous hats, the latter for the working of precious metals, the first workshop in Valenza for the working of gold dates back to 1840.

At the North of the region there is the realm of water with its famous lakes Maggiore and d’Orta and famous small towns such as Arona and Stresa, elegant and charming, full of Liberty villas along the lake, the perfect starting point to reach the Borromean Islands, just four hundred meters from the coast. There are three of them, each one is more charming than the others: Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Madre, the widest one with a beautiful botanic garden. And at last, the mountains that were shown to the world during the Winter Olympic Games of 2006, especially Sestriere, Sauze d’Oulx, Bardonecchia, Pragelato and Cesana. The plain features the Vercelli area, famous for its rice-fields while at the North-West edge of Piedmont there is Novara, with its big cathedral, a neoclassical temple designed by Alessandro Antonelli.

Luciana Francesca Rebonato

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