With a name that means "at the foot of the mountain", Piedmont is Italy’s second largest region (Sicily is the first). Occupied by Celtic and Ligurian tribes during the first Millennium B.C, this region was fought over throughout Italy’s history and took centuries to become unified under the house of Savoy.
The capital of Piedmont is Turin, which was briefly the capital of the whole country from 1861 to 1864. It’s the home of the Shroud of Turin, a linen cloth bearing what many believe to be the image of Jesus. It’s one of the most studied objects in history, but you have to be lucky to see it in person. It’s only displayed a few times a century!
Where better to start than Turin (a.k.a Torino)? The Shroud of Turin is on display from April 19 to June 24, but if you can’t make it, there are lots of other things to do in this city. Wander into amazing museums like the Egyptian Museum and the National Museum of Cinema, which is located in the Mole Antonelliana landmark building.
Check out the UNESCO-World Heritage- listed Reggia di Venaria Palace and other striking buildings, like the Royal Church of San Lorenzo, with its Baroque architecture and domed roof.
You don’t have to be religious to enjoy Piedmont’s Sacred Mountains, where ancient churches dot the region’s hillsides, sometimes sharing the countryside with forests and lakes.
And if you feel like skiing, Piedmont has more than 1000 kms of runs on the Italian Alps, which also have walking and climbing trails.
The Balon market in Turin is a famous flea market that sets up every Saturday morning behind the Piazza della Repubblica. It has about 80 stalls, but that number grows to more than 200 when the Grand Balon arrives on the second Sunday of each month. You can find a bit of everything here, including antiques, clothing, art and retro goods.
Known for its rich desserts and traditional dishes, Piedmont’s food scene also includes minimalist fine dining, small village trattorias, local food (including rabbits and hares) and cafes with mouth-watering chocolates and pastries. Take a trip through wine towns like Barolo and Dogliani if you like drinking wine in charming villages with vineyards on rolling green hills.
Getting to Piedmont is easy when you book one of our cheap flights to Turin. There are some bus and train services in the area, but a hire car is the easiest way to really explore Piedmont. Book your Piedmont accommodation with us and take a trip through 25,402 square kms of food, nature and history.Image credit Megan Cole under Creative Commons