The Piedmont (Piemonte) Region (Asti and Alba)
Piedmont is one of Italy’s great wine making regions and is highly agriculture producing grapes, grains, cereals, fruit and milk. They have over 30 DOC designated wines such as Barolo, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Asti, and Barbaresco. We rented a car and headed out to two small wine producing towns, Asti and Alba.
Again, I don’t recommend driving in Italy! Every time I do it I say it is my last, but honestly I think it’s true this time. The Piedmont region, much like Chianti is hilly, curvy, and steep. It’s not fun to drive on and the street markings are equally as bad. The GPS we rented worked fine when we were on the Autostrada, but when we wanted to get off to see the countryside, it failed us miserably.
Alba and Asti can both be reached by train, which I will do the next time I visit the area. They are both lovely little towns with more to see in them than we had time to do making it a certainty that we will return. We did manage to squeeze in some time to sample some of the wonderful wines. Remember when you are visiting these places for a day trip, most things close during 1-4:30. We were late for lunch and found everything closed at 2:30 for miles around, so missed out on an eating opportunity. I hate it when that happens.
Asti has its on Palio in the Grand Piazza which serves as a large and convenient parking lot when it’s not Palio time. The Information Center, which was not in the parking lot where the sign indicated, but about a block away was one of the more helpful ones that we have come across.
The countryside around this area and between these two towns is breathtaking. I am considering a trip to Alba as a base to visit the many Castles and sites in the area. (Whoops! That is going to require a car!)