Home > Gastronomic Piedmont: From Torino to Alba
Note: Special departure dates may be arranged for groups of 4 or more (on request)
For those seeking a refreshing cycle through verdant countryside, surrounded by vast vineyards and orchards and the enticing aromas of rustic Italian cuisine, the Piedmont is an area we couldn’t recommend any higher.
From the region’s capital of Torino, you’ll cycle (and devour) your way along the river Po, over lush green foothills, through beautiful medieval towns including Pinerolo and Saluzzo, and towards the gastronomic gems of Bra and Alba. And even if the leisurely rides and rich history don’t get your heart racing, the region’s traditional sweets certainly will: chocolate, pannetone, Nutella…you’ll have to pedal twice as hard to burn off those extra calories! Equally as decadent are the savouries: braised beef, veal agnolotti, and the famous white truffle of Alba. All of these pair beautifully, of course, with a bottle of the local wine.
Luckily, we’ve planned this trip accordingly—you’ll cap off your tour with a luxurious cycle through the Piedmontese wine country. Believe us when we say that staying upright in the saddle might present a challenge after a few glasses of Barolo and Barbaresco!
For travel and cycling tips to Piedmont, visit our "Travel and cycling tips" section.
Whether you’re arriving by train or plane, you’ll want to get in early to allow plenty of time to explore Torino and gawk at its bevy of beautiful sights. Today, this city is the capital of the Piedmont region; in medieval times, it was the capital of the Duchy of Savoy and later, the Kingdom of Italy!
Evidence of this prestigious past is everywhere, but especially in Torino’s stunning Baroque centre. The Savoy Residences, the Palatine Towers, ornate palaces and cathedrals…it’s almost too much to take in! To keep energized, we recommend frequent café breaks for nibbles of typical Gianduiotto chocolate and luxurious sips of bicerin, a traditional hot beverage made of espresso, hot chocolate, and whole milk. (You start cycling tomorrow, so why not indulge?)
Be sure to fill up at breakfast this morning, for today…you ride! With our route taking you on bike paths and quiet roads, you’ll enjoy easy cycling as you follow the river Po towards the eponymous foothills of the Piedmont. A quick 20 km (12 miles) into today’s route, brake to admire the Palazzina di caccia (hunting lodge) di Stupinigi and its extensive grounds. Feel free to visit this ornate rococo masterpiece—built in the 18th century by the architect Filippo Juvarra, the palace today houses the Museum of Art and Furnishings.
The rest of your journey is a serene cycle through the Piedmontese countryside, finishing for the day in lovely Pinerolo. Park your bikes and explore the narrow streets of the Old Town on foot— with it’s beautiful Gothic architecture and “starry” blue ceiling, the 11th-century Cattedrale di San Donato is not to be missed. The Cavalry Museum and the Basilica di San Maurizio are also worth a visit—from the church you’ll enjoy a marvelous view of the landscape as it transforms from Alps to plains.
Today’s cycle begins with a slight downhill coast before the land flattens out into a beautiful mosaic of orchards and vineyards. You’ll soon ride into the tiny town of Cavour, whose Rocca (fortress) sits upon a morainic mountain, 162 meters (531 feet) above the surrounding flatland. The unobstructed view it affords includes the Apennine mountains to the south and the Gran Paradiso National Park to the north. You may even spot the 12th-century Staffarda Abbey, an incredible structure we definitely recommend visiting as you continue your ride toward Saluzzo.
Your evening in this lovely medieval town is sure to be packed with adventure: you can discover the Mole di Castiglia castle and the nearby San Giovanni convent (both dating back to the 15th-century); try the traditional Castelmagno cheese; enjoy an evening concert in a medieval piazza… Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a day! When you finally call it a night, you’ll be retiring to a charming hotel in a restored farmhouse.
You’ll want to get an early start today—not only is the leg from Bra (or Cherasco) the longest ride of the tour, but the route is also filled to the brim with amazing historic sites! In fact, just 2-3 km pedaling out of Saluzzo, you’ll pass by Manta, whose castle dates back to the 12th century and houses beautiful 15th century frescoes. From there, it’s an easy cycle through farmland, with the ever-present mountains looking on in the distance. Pause for lunch in Fossanoor in the ancient Roman town of Bene Vagienna, and don’t forget to have dessert—tasty treats in this area of the Piedmont include colomba cuore d’oro (a local cake) and of course…pannetone.
When you’re ready to come back to the present, hop back on your bike and a short cycle will bring you to either Bra or Cherasco, where you’ll overnight. Both cities are fascinating in their own right: Bra is the home of the Slow Food movement and rightfully holds the title of “gourmet capital” of the region; Cherasco was dubbed the “most beautiful spot in Italy” by none other than Napoleon, and continues to live up to the high praise.
Leaving behind the cultural and gastronomic delights of Bra and Cherasco, you may find it tricky to stay on your bike today—not because the terrain is difficult, but because you’ll be cycling through wine country! Winding roads and gently rolling hills will take you past the vineyards of the Langhe region, the perfect backdrop for a leisurely ride. You can make the cycle even more enjoyable by stopping for wine-tastings, especially at the halfway point of Barolo, where the fragrant red Barolo wines are produced.
Save room in your panniers for more bottles though—more wonderful wines await in Alba, centre of the Langhe winemaking industry and your home for the night. What’s more, Alba is also renowned for its peaches, white truffles, and being the “birthplace” of Nutella! Spending an evening savouring fine food and drink, surrounded by Romanesque architecture…it’s the quintessential way to end a cycling tour in Italy’s divine Piedmont.
After breakfast, bid arrivederci to Alba at your leisure. If you’re leaving by train, your hotel is conveniently located less than a 5-minute walk from the station.
5 nights' accommodation in 3- and 4-star properties