Piemonte, Italy

Another region I’ve seen a lot of recently and one I’d recommend for anyone with a couple of days to spare in the area. And preferably with a car. Don’t walk it like I did…

The region starts over the mountains from Tende in France, and the first town I passed by was Limonette. I didn’t see much, but it looked quite residential. Limone Piemonte, however… lovely place. Definitely a ski resort feel even in summer, the layout and decor is sublime. Little parks, a pedestrian-only area after 7pm with restaurants, pubs and clubs to visit… surrounded by mountains and with friendly people. Try and find the Irish bar with free internet. I normally don’t recommend Irish pubs because they’re all the bloody same, but this one had some of the best bar staff ever, free internet and killer burgers.

Work your way north from here through Vernante with its tourist-aimed Pinocchio fixation. Murals adorn the walls of most buildings and there’s a statue in a park at the north end. The rest of the place is mainly a single street with some lovely old churches and the like on it, but it’s a superb little spot for breakfast or lunch. I hear tell they have a killer fireworks display in mid-August as well.

Cùneo is next up, and it’s a larger place with less character but still some nice sights, such as the fountains and parks. It’s still in sight of the mountains as well, so you can sit and slobber over a delicious ice-cream while drooling over the scenery.

Between here and Torino / Turin are a succession of small towns and villages. A day trip in a car is enough to take them all in. I’d pick Racconigi or Carmagnola as my favourites as they had more to see in them. Courtyards, churches, nice lighting…

As I said, a nice day-trip if you’re in the area. Only an hour or two’s drive from Nice.

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