A Deep Dive Into Langhe Tourism
A few things come to mind when thinking of Langhe-Roero and Monferrato. Among them cheese, wine and the internationally prized truffles. The southern towns of Piedmont are a foodie’s dream and #Winetravelers will revel under the spell of Barolo and Barbaresco. But while you may come for the food and wine, it’s the history, landscape and endless opportunities to immerse yourself in the local culture that just may entice you to spend a few extra days in the region.
How To Get There
Langhe-Roero and Monferrato, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2014, sits within the Cuneo and Asti provinces, not far from Turin and Milan, from where it is most easily accessed.
Many flights are available with international routes easily found through Milan. Our team recommends you rent a car for the two-hour drive from Milan to the Langhe-Roero and Monferrato region and the exploration that will ensue. However, trains are also available from both Milan and Turin. If taking a train, make arrangements ahead of time with your hotel or a local guide for transportation to your accommodations. See below for a range of hotel recommendations in Langhe.
Where To Stay in Langhe-Roero and Monferrato
While there’s no shortage of agriturismos, bed & breakfasts, hotels and rentals available in Langhe-Roero and Monferrato, here are a few nice options we recommend to kick off your daydreaming and travel planning:
Tenuta La Romana – Formerly an 18th century farmhouse and one of the oldest in Nizza Monferrato, this chic farmhouse resort in the Monferrato countryside is surrounded by vines and stunning rolling landscape. Get lost in the groves surrounding the lake, go fishing, take a mountain bike ride or hike through nature while observing pheasants and deer.
Amalia Cascina – This Winery and B&B is the ultimate place to unwind in the heart of Langhe. You’ll be pampered with delicious homemade breakfasts, local cheeses and cured meats and can then lounge by the pool or stroll through the gardens surrounded by the Langhe countryside with the Alps looming in the distance.
Casa Scaparone – Another historic agriturismo, Casa Scaparone offers a variety of accommodations, including family rooms situated in the heart of the Alba Langhe-Roero. Dine at the osteria featuring products from the family’s organic gardens, sip a glass of wine poolside, or bike to the surrounding villages and through the vast, picturesque countryside.
Langhe-Roero and Monferrato was long protected by castles, towers and fortified villages and these same structures offer a glimpse into the legacies of past civilizations and cultures ranging from the Crusaders to the Benedictine Monks, and Romans to the farmers that have shaped the region since.
A visit would not be complete without an exploration of these remaining historical towers and castles with their unmatched views of the landscape. We suggest visiting the Towers of Barbaresco, the villages of Roccaverano and Viarigi and the Castles of Magliano Alfieri, Prunetto, Govone (also a UNESCO heritage site) and Monastero Bormida. Additional attractions include the Abbey of Vezzolano, Grinzane Cavour, Serralunga d’Alba and the castles of Barolo castles.
Wine is, of course, also a significant factor in the culture of this Italian region. Explore the “underground wine cathedrals” of Canelli where the subterranean wine cellars wind through tunnels built into and under the surrounding hillside.
The Castle of Barolo offers an interactive and immersive wine museum experience complete with multi-sensory explorations of science, art, literature and history. The region also offers five Regional Wine Societies where local wines and winemaking culture can be explored, tasted and purchased: Enoteca del Barbaresco, Enoteca del Barolo, Enoteca Regionale Piemontese, Enoteca “Colline del Moscato”, and Enoteca del Roero.
Active Things To Do Around Langhe-Roero and Monferrato
While it is easy to do nothing but wine and dine in the region, it’s also not a bad idea to supplement these indulgences with some activity; and thankfully, the Langhe-Roero and Monferrato region has has a lot to offer on this front.
The picturesque region is a paradise for hikers, trekkers and cyclists of all ability levels with its mazes of trails along the hills, through the villages, and on the scenic winding countryside roads. Outdoor activities provide an opportunity to get to know the area from vastly different perspectives including horseback, river rafting, cross country skiing and hot-air ballooning. Golfers will be able to hit the links year-round and families with young children will enjoy the Parco Safari.
Winetraveler Tip: Outdoor enthusiasts can even download the Alpi Langhe Outdoor app for iOS and Android phones!
Truffle Hunting in Piedmont
While all of the above is thrilling, the ultimate experience in Langhe-Roero and Monferrato is truffle hunting!
The truffle is born and develops underground. It grows spontaneously, unable to be cultivated, in the woods south of the Po River to the Apennines of Liguria. It matures between September and January, and that is when the hunt begins.
The truffle hunter extracts the truffle with a special hoe, often with a dog leading the way. Each year Langhe-Roero and Monferrato celebrates the Alba White Truffle hosting national and international truffle fairs. The most well-known is the Alba International White Truffle Fair, celebrated in fashion on weekends in October and November. However, year-round truffle enthusiasts will find plenty to do including simulated truffle hunts, seminars and tastings, cooking classes with area chefs and of course, many restaurants in which to dine on the delectable morsels. Bring your appetite to this slow food destination.
What is Your Langhe-Roero and Monferrato?
This hilly region with its landscape that stretches beyond endless horizons, world-renowned wines, exquisite cheeses, cuisine and its welcoming culture is an off-the-beaten-path opportunity to not only discover beauty, but also likely yourself.
UNESCO has described the area as, “an outstanding example of man’s interaction with his natural environment,” and with the myriad of experiences beckoning travelers of all ages with any number of interests, it is no doubt to leave visitors inspired, awed and invigorated.