Over many years of traveling to and throughout Italy, I have been struck by the wide diversity of wine to be found throughout Italy and the contrasting and perplexing laser-like focus of wine professionals and amateurs alike on a limited range of established and prestigious appellations. For example, Piedmont, a region blessed with a multitude of exceptional wines is often and only viewed through the spectrum of Barolo and, perhaps, Barbaresco. Allow us to open the doors wide to an Italy that offers joys beyond the imagination, from a vinous, culinary and cultural perspective. Join us on a tour of the mountain regions of the Alto Piemonte, the Canavese and the Valle d’Aosta and discover the grandeur of Torino in the fashion that I have developed during my forty-year career seeking out the finest wines of Italy and France.
ALTO PIEMONTE, CANAVESE, VALLE D’AOSTA
Sep 10th – Sep 19th 2017
9 Days | 8 Nights
Group size is limited to 8 participants
Also available in Jun 10th- Jun 19th 2018 & Sep 23rd- Oct 2nd 2018
— YOUR JOURNEY —
Torino and its Neighboring Wine Regions: Alto Piemonte, Canavese, Valle d’Aosta
SUNDAY 10th SEPTEMBER
We are prepared to assist in coordinating your flights to Milano Malpensa Airport.
Arrival at Milano Malpensa Airport and meet your driver for a quick transfer to Cureggio, the town of our first accommodation, the farmhouse La Capuccina, where a welcoming lunch awaits you together with Livio and Simone, your guides for the entire journey. Take some time to relax and get acquainted with your new home in Alto Piemonte. In the late afternoon meet wine growers Antonello and Paolo Rovellotti for a visit and tasting in their unique medieval castle “Ricetto” in the heart of Ghemme village.
Convivial dinner at Locanda Orta in the beautiful hamlet of Orta San Giulio.
Rising up next to the canal known as “il mora” that runs along the western edge of the village is a vast, almost square ancient castle with two large circular towers on the west wall (…). Originally built for defensive purposes it is now divided into numerous properties, (…) a part of which are used specifically for storing wine…”
Giaffredo Casalis, 1841, description of a ricetto or retreat of Ghemme
Get ready for a short drive after breakfast to Stresa, lovely harbor village on the Maggiore Lake where we will meet our local ferryman Fulvio for an exclusive morning discovery of the lake beauties on his private boat: cruising the Borromee Island and walking in Isola Bella to visit the Palazzo, the Pinacoteca and its lush gardens, will set us ready for our next stop in Verbania, on the opposite side of the lake, where cheese affineur and gastronome Eros will guide us through a tasting of the best local cheeses, salumi and bollicine. Back home the evening is dedicated to a cooking experience with Gianluca and Rajfaella, chefs and owners of La Capuccina.
Agriturismo “La Capuccina” – Cureggio
Cozy and elegant farmhouse built on the ruins of a 16th century monastary of the Begging Friars; definitely off-the-beaten-track and in equal distance from Orta and Maggiore Lakes, the grounds of La Capuccina are charming likewise the owners’ hospitality. Rooms are comfortable and everything is topped by excellent food, all locally sourced.
On our departure day we can’t miss to check one of Neal’s favorite vigneron, Massimo Clerico, grower of Nebbiolo grapes in the Lessona appellation; with little walk across the minuscule alleys of his town we will taste his fine wines in an old farmhouse, Cascina Mondella, before moving to Castello di Masino, an heritage site of FA!, Fondo Ambiente Italiano, a philanthropic conservation program aimed at protecting and restoring some of Italy’s wonderful jewels of art and nature. Not far is our family run b&b, Spazio Bianco, in Ivrea, hometown of the first ever Olivetti PC and site for new incredible discoveries…starting with a walk with book author Marco Peroni, just before dinner in Osteria San Maurizio.
Bed & Breakfast “Spazio Bianco” – Ivrea
A beautiful “former power station” turned by its “arty” owners, Sara and Elvira, in one of the most unique places in town. Rooms are finely decorated and each takes on themes from Ivrea. Lots of attention to detail, warm hospitality and little extras in the room make it a comfortable and personable retreat.
As the summer days meander to a close, we begin the day with a visit with Neal’s beekeeper, Andrea Bianco, for a tasting of the full-range of this year’s vintage honeys, all from single flower sources, like Acacia, Chestnut, Rhododendron and others, produced by the bees as they forage the wild in the foothills of the Piedmontese and Valle d’Aosta Alps. After the sweet treats with Andrea, we head north to the mountains to have lunch at Ramo Verde in the village of Carema with Roberto and Andrea Ferrando; then, with their insight, we will tour the terraced vineyards of Carema and taste their rare wines. As the day concludes, we drive up the majestic valley to Entreves, the ultimate village at the foot of Monte Bianco, where we check into the Auberge de la Maison for a restful night in the shadow of Europe’s highest peak.
The day begins with the delightful option of “taking the cure” at the thermal baths in the neighboring village of Pre Saint-Didier; later, in the company of Ermes and Milena Pavese, we tour the highest elevation vineyards in Europe, planted to pre-phylloxera vines of Prie-Blanc from which the Pavese family produce their exquisite white and sparkling wines: the Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle. After a cellar visit to taste the wines, we dine with Ermes and Milena at the Cafe Quinson, the ultimate table of the region.
Meals: B/D (free lunch)
As the day dawns, you are enticed to reach for the stars via the newly-constructed miracle known as the “Skyway”, a funicular that climbs majestically up the mountain to the very top of Monte Bianco (3600 mt in altitude) where only the birds and a few intrepid skiers and climbers go. On the way, there is a stop at the Giardino Botanico where you will view the flora of these high mountains. For those less comfortable at heights, there is always the pleasure of the spa facilities at your home base of Auberge de la Maison. After lunch or a snooze, we join Danilo Thomain, the principal grower in the tiny appellation of Enfer d:Arvier, to explore these high altitude vineyards tucked into a magnificent amphitheater, taste wine and locally made chocolate and gelato while strolling the mountainside. We return to Entreves for dinner at the modest but oh-so-delicious Dandelion trattoria around the corner from the hotel.
Meals: B/D (free lunch)
Hotel “Auberge de la Maison” – Courmayeur
Located in the heart of Courmayeur’s most picturesque villages, Entreves, Auberge de la Maison is a charming wood and stone hotel standing on a vast lawn that enjoys marvelous views of Mont Blanc. The delightful combination of elegance, local flavors and alpine vistas make it the perfect destination for those looking for refined yet genuine traditional alpine hospitality.
After a hearty breakfast and a quiet Sunday morning, we leave Auberge de la Maison and head to Torino; but, first, we spend the end of the morning with the Grosjean family in their mountainside cantina in the hamlet of Ollignan, overlooking the city of Aosta. There we will visit their organically farmed vineyards and taste an impressive range of wines – Petite Arvine, Cornalin, Torrette and more – before lunching at La Vrille, a “Slow Food” legend, situated on the southern slopes of the Valle d:Aosta. The day ends in the beautiful, historic city of Torino; check in at the NH Carlina Collection, perhaps a walk to see the exquisite baroque architecture that adorns this gem of an urban landscape … or do we wait to do that after dinner at the historic trattoria, Scannabue?
We arrange for a private guide to walk us through the Egyptian Museum (“Museo Egizio”), one of the finest collections in the world of Egyptian artifacts; this touch of culture precedes lunch at Del Cambio, established in 1757, fine food in the most elegant of setting in Turin … you will want to dress the part! Recover, relax, walk the parks of Torino, all to prepare for a light bite at Vitel Etonne before we go to the theater to see drama, perhaps a musical presentation, a moment of intellectual stimulation after plenty of outdoors activity, wine, food and the joys of this multi-faceted environment of the northwestern sector of Italy. Before the goodnight one more treat or drink at Caffè Mulassano.
Hotel “NH Piazza Carlina” – Torino
In a charming, elegant square in the heart of Turin, the NH Carlina is a contemporary treasure with 17th-century origin, set around a beautiful courtyard. This unique hotel is perfectly situated for exploring the sights of this fascinating city, stroll along the banks of PO or hunt for antiques in the city’s little streets. The pleasant rooms have hardwood floors and are painted in a palette of cream, old rose and blue. Some have artisan-carved cedar headboards and furniture.
To say goodbye to Torino, before the drive to the Milan-Malpensa Airport, why not a pastry and coffee at Al Bicerin, the most unique cafe in town, open since 1763, and continually owned and managed by women. Its history is long as it became a fashionable spot for the ladies of Torino to take their morning coffee after receiving communion at the Santuario della Consulata, the baroque church across the piazza.
The end, we suppose, but only the beginning of the memories…
Please note that your final itinerary may vary slightly from this one as we continuously research and develop each trip. Inclement weather – though we’d like to think there won’t be any – may also necessitate minor alterations. EU pricing in EUR. “‘2017 Zest of Italy.
DURATION: 9 Days I 8 Nights
NOTE: Group size is limited to 8 participants
START: Milano MalpensaAirport Mon September 11th 2017
FINISH: Milano MalpensaAirport Tue September 19th 2017
RATE: 7.200€ per person in double room occupancy
Please find below a full breakdown of our all-inclusive, payment and cancellation policies:
- 8 nights in hotel or b&b as indicated in the program;
- all meals as indicated in the program;
- pick up and drop off at Malpensa airport;
- all transport with luxury vehicles as indicated in the program;
- access to all sites, theater and museum as indicated in the program;
- tutored wine tasting and visits as indicated in the program;
- guided tour of towns, museum and sites as indicated in the program;
- Livio Colapinto & Simone Pozzo, your English-speaking tour manager & guide, will accompany you throughout the itinerary.
– EXCLUSIONS –
- Airfare on international flights, NB: We are prepared to assist in coordinating your flights;
- items and expenses of personal nature;
- any meal or service not listed in the program;
- personal travel and cancellation insurance.
– PAYMENT REQUIREMENTS –
All prices listed are in EURO, land only, per person, based on double occupancy. Airfare and travel insurance are not included. A deposit of 20% per person is due at time of booking. The balance is payable 3 weeks before tour begins. We strongly advise to purchase a personal travel and cancellation insurance. For more details please refer to the terms and conditions featured on the website (www.zestofitaly.com).
– SUPPLEMENTS –
Single occupancy supplement are considered ad hoc – as they might derive from season and availability – and will be quoted on request.
– CANCELLATION –
If you find it necessary to cancel your booking, you may transfer the reservation to another suitable person, following acceptance by Zest of Italy. If this is not possible, then cancellation of your booking will become effective upon receipt by us of your written notification and the following charges will apply for each cancelling client:
- 42 and more days before trip start date – loss of deposit
- 41 – 22 days before trip start date – 50%
- 21 – 8 days before trip start date – 75%
- less than 7 days before trip start date – 100%
Also available Jun 10th – Jun 19th 2018 & Sep 28rd- Oct 2nd 2018.