Piedmont is a real paradise for gourmets. It offers prestigious white wines, delicious chocolate and a gentle landscape of vine-covered hills, with the majestic circle of the Alps in the distance. Piedmont has real elegance and style. The best example is the main town, Turin, 150 years ago the first capital of Italy, where the influence of French style is very evident in the squares and palaces, giving Turin the nickname of ‘little Paris‘. Visit the Piazza Castello with the 17th century Palazzo Reale, which was the Royal residence until 1865. Also a visit of the Egyptian Museum shouldn’t be missed. It is the second largest in the world after the museum in Cairo. For the lovers of Italian delicacies there is the Porta Palazzo market, where you can find cheese, hams, salami’s and vegetables.
A pleasant surprise will also await you in small towns like Pinerolo and Saluzzo with their medieval charm. Nowadays Bra and Alba are very much at the forefront of eno-gastronomy: don’t miss the pleasure of a delicious dinner, maybe with truffle of Alba, and the chance to sample great wines like Barolo or Barbaresco. In short, discovering Piedmont by bike is a very special experience.
Certainly two highlights are the town of Split with its old town centre inside the Roman palace of Diocletian and the pearl of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik with its impressive town walls and castle, used as set for the Game of Thrones. Both towns are full of life with many bars, restaurants, museums and squares with terraces, excellent places to start and end this wonderful cycling tour! Don’t forget to try the different local specialities like the oxen meat Boškarin, the fishermen’s stew Brodetto and the fried donuts Fritule. Croatia produces also excellent wines in many different regions, with a wine-history going back to the Greek. Wines to try are the Babic (Primosten), Merlot (Drniš), Pošip maraština and Grk (Korčula). All in all you will experience an authentic, unique Croatia!
The daily program of the 8-day tour
The initial capital of Italy and a very smart city, Turin is a former industrial city which has now emerged as centre of culture, particularly after hosting the Winter Olympics in 2006. There are four rivers passing Turin: Stura di Lanzo, Sangone, Po and Dora Riparia. A characteristic of the town are many cycle paths. In Turin there’s a lot to see: the 19th century tower ‘Mole Antonelliana’ (167,5m), symbol of the town, the National Movie Museum, Palazzo Reale (residence of the Dukes and after them the king, who governed the town), the cathedral San Giovanni Battista (15th century), the Egyptian Museum and the impressive Palazzo Madama.
Overnight with breakfast in Turin
This part of the route is flat. From Turin you bike along cycle paths and minor roads, following the river Po and small tributaries of the Po, to reach the foot of the mountains. Here you will find the hunting lodge of Stupinigi Palace, a royal residence of the Savoy family. The building is a Rococo style masterpiece by the architect Filippo Juvarra. You then continue, park by park, along the rivers to Pinerolo; a very pleasant stretch of cycling. Your overnight stay is in the delicious Pinerolo, which used to be home to one of the most famous horse-riding schools in Italy. The square ‘piazza Vittorio Veneto’ with its surrounding palaces is the beating heart of the town, a meeting point for the Pinerolesi.
Overnight with breakfast in Pinerolo
Distance: About 55 km / 34 mi
Ascent & Descent: + 370m – 244m
This part of the route is also flat. Following country roads through orchards and vineyards you get to Cavour with its curious ‘Rocca‘, a morainic hill right in the middle of the flatlands, which is now a protected area. Saluzzo, a medieval town, is situated on a hilltop in the valley of the Po. Inside the town walls this fascinating town has well preserved different architectonical styles.
Overnight with breakfast in Saluzzo
Distance: About 49 km / 30 mi
Ascent & Descent: + 199m – 226m
The cycling today is medium/easy, there are some gentle uphill stretches after Fossano. On the way you can visit the handsome castles of Manta (12th –15th century) and Costigliole (13th – 16th century) and the ancient Roman town. Also worthwhile is it to make a stop at Bene Vagienna with its archaeological area. You can visit the archaeological museum. You arrive at Cherasco, with its seven centuries of history and art or at Bra, the capital of gourmet and home to the international headquarters of the Slow Food organisation.
Overnight with breakfast in Bra/Cherasco
Distance: About 65 km /40 mi
Ascent & Descent: + 421m – 488m
This is a medium/easy day’s cycling in the Langhe area. In Pollenzo, the Roman ‘Pollentia’, is situated the Food Science University (known as the ‘Università del Gusto’). You continue cycling to Alba along the river Tanaro, which is perfectly flat, but along the way there is a detour, with some uphill stretches, to Barolo, where you could taste Barolo in the castle. Your overnight stay is in Alba, the town famous for its white truffles and for its high towers.
Overnight with breakfast in Alba
Distance: About 46 km / 28 mi
Ascent & Descent: + 203m – 317m
Overnight with breakfast in Alba
Distance: About 55 km /34 mi
Ascent & Descent: + 917m – 1031m
Medium/easy cycling. Today you are in the Roero area. On the way there are the castles of Guarene and Cisterna (it is possible to visit the museum in Cisterna). Your overnight stay is in Asti, the main town of the area. Asti has a very rich history and is famous for its ‘spumante‘ wine and its medieval festival with a horseback race or ‘palio’ (historical horserace).
Overnight with breakfast in Asti
Distance: About 42 km / 26 mi
Ascent & Descent: + 392m – 447m
Overnight with breakfast in Asti
Distance: About 60 km / 37 mi
Ascent & Descent: + 899m – 954m
Ride of medium difficulty. You cycle along the charming hills of the Monferrato, another important gourmet land. From the square of the castle of Moncalvo you will have beautiful views of the vine-covered hills. In the afternoon. You could visit the church of St.Francis (12th century). You continue for Casale, a baroque town at the foot of the hills of Monferrato, along the river Po.
Overnight with breakfast in Casale
Distance: About 58 km / 36 mi
Ascent & Descent: + 738m – 744m
Departure after breakfast
Cycle paths and minor roads; some dirt tracks in fairly good condition; flat from Turin to Fossano; hills in the Langhe area to reach Barolo and in the Monferrato area between Alba and Casale. Cycle experience is needed
Daily distances between 45 and 69 km / 28 – 42 miles.
Total km: 315 – 342 km / 195 – 212 miles
Every Saturday from 27 March to 25 September (with min. 4 pax other starting dates are possible or with supplement of 50,00 Euro p.p. for 2-3 persons)
2 or more people.
START / FINISH:
Turin / Casale Monferrato