Doreen and I spent a fabulous Easter weekend visiting the Langhe wine region in Piedmont, Italy (map below). Less than four hours from Geneva, this hilly, super-picturesque area seems to have a castle on every hill top.
The Tourist office in Alba had a great set of free cycling route cards — strangely only in French — but easy to follow if you don’t understand the language.
We stayed in Grinzane-Cavour. Cavour was a famous Italian politician instrumental during Il Risorgimento (the unification of Italy – 1870) and his old castle has a museum celebrating him and his pals:
The castle also has a one star Michelin restaurant (reserve in advance!). I quite like the Italian method of many small courses, and honestly, I think it was the best meal I have ever had. Without a doubt. So good. Yum. And not expensive. Doreen kept laughing at me as I gushed over every single course. We will return.
The weather sucked, and we spent Saturday as umbrella tourists visiting Cuneo, Alba, and Fossano. But we made the best of a very wet day.
Sunday was dry, and we went biking. But ….. I forgot my camera. Seriously. Me? WTF? So all photos are with an iPhone.
The region is just so beautiful. Here is a view from the terrace of our hotel room. Every view, in every direction is at least as good.
The route on the map below is on mainly quiet roads. A fair bit of climbing split into two segments. It was wonderful. It was overcast, and my photo isn’t great, but you can just about see the high Alps at the top of the photo.
The toughest part of the route was the road above Sinio. Marked as a scenic route I deviated from the route card. Doreen was stoic and brave and did very well up some super steep slopes.
But the detour rewarded us with some of the best roads of the loop. Including a visit to MonteLupo (Mount Wolf). A very cute, perched village with many of the houses painted with fairy tale type painting with wolves. For example:
We had a snack break in Diano d’Alba – yet another picturesque perched village, and then thoroughly enjoyed the descent back to Cavour Castle.
We would go back to this region in a heart beat. I think my main advice would be to ensure you have routes planned or to get the tourist route cards as it is a difficult and confusing place to just ride without a plan.
But so beautiful.