Looking to explore a part of Italy filled with top-notch wine, world-class food, and still get in some European culture and fashion? Spend a week in Northern Italy, ideally in the fall when white truffles are in season!
Day 1: Arrive in Turin, the capital of Piedmont. This region is home to red wines Barolo and Barbaresco as well as lesser known Dolcetto and white wines Roero Arneis, Cortese di Gavi, and the sparkling wines of Asti: Spumante and Muscato. Over the coming days you might as well try them all.
Day 2: Explore Turin on foot with a guided walking tour of its piazzas and elegant facades. You’ll stop for tastings of traditional Turin delights such as bicerin, a warming beverage of chocolate, coffee, and cream while learning about Turin’s history and the local love of coffee and luxurious treats.
Days 3-5: Pick up a rental car and drive to Alba where you’ll stay for the next three nights. This town will be your base for exploring the wine and truffle region of Piedmont. One day, a driver could take you out wine tasting, cleansing your palette along the way with local meats, cheeses, truffles, hazelnuts, and chocolate. Or hop on bicycles and visit wineries under your own steam. Take a cooking class in nearby Neviglie where you’ll get to make traditional dishes such as vitello tonato (veal with tuna sauce) and torta alla nocciola (hazelnut cake) and sample wine made from your host’s vineyards. Enjoy the refreshing air of the Italian countryside, chat with residents at the outdoor produce markets, and relax over long lunches and decadent dinners.
Day 6: Drive to Milan and return your rental car. Take your time and stop along the way in Asti to sample a glass of Spumante and in Alessandria to check out the UNESCO-listed Sacro Monte di Crea. Or just head straight to Milan and start museum hopping or shopping for the latest fashions.
Day 7: Take a three hour tour on foot or be chauffeured around town with a guide to see the Duomo, La Scala Opera Theatre, and other gems of Northern Italy’s main city. If you’d rather, take the day to shop, eat, drink, and soak in the fashionable culture of Milan.
Day 8: Pack the wine you just bought in your checked luggage and head to the airport. If you left on a Saturday, you’ll have a day to get back into the swing of things before returning to work on Monday.