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Top 5 places to visit around Turin

Article by Angelo, the founder and guide at Free Tour Turin

There are so many great places to visit in Piedmont and around Turin, but here are the 5 best, can’t-miss attractions, straight from a local!

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1. Langhe

This place, filled with beautiful fields, is close to Cuneo and Alba, two medieval cities famous for wine production, as is the entire Langhe area. Langhe is only 1 hour by car from Turin. Since 2014, these territories have also been a UNESCO world heritage site! The red wine production is spectacular, and you can visit a lot of cellars and there are so many wine tasting tours you can choose from, including small treks around the vineyards. The best wine is Barolo and to make this wine, the grapes have to come from only eleven small fields around the city of Barolo and then you need to wait a minimum of four years for the first bottle, so it is a long and difficult process. The wine does have a higher price tag (not less than 30-35 Euro a bottle) but is of excellent quality. Then, you can take some time to visit all the Tuscan-style hills and walk or hike around the amazing, postcard landscapes.

To seamlessly extend your exploration of the Langhe region's wine heritage, consider enhancing your visit with a specially curated wine tour. This unique experience, featuring a day trip from Turin to Langhe, includes private transfers, lunch, and guided tastings of the region's finest wines, like the acclaimed Barolo. It's an ideal way to dive deeper into the vineyard vistas and wine-making traditions you're eager to explore.

Photo attribution: Phalaenopsis Aphrodite from Italy, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

2. Lake D'Orta and Lake Maggiore

These two lakes are the most beautiful lakes you can find in Piedmont and only 1-1.5 h by car from Turin. Lake D'Orta is famous for a stunning small island you can visit by boat from the city of Orta San Giulio, the main coastal town of the lake. Then, you can visit the Sacro Monte, a steep promontory immersed in the green of the woods, which houses 21 chapels decorated with frescoes and terracotta sculptures that refer to episodes from the life of St. Francis. Lake Maggiore is the biggest and is popular for other beautiful islands you can discover there. You can have a full day boat excursion from Stresa to the three Borromean islands; Isola Madre, the largest of the three islands, with its peaceful and charming atmosphere; Isola dei Pescatori, with its characteristic winding streets, its small shops and renowned restaurants serving typical fish dishes; and Isola Bella, which houses an elegant home of the Borromeo family with its priceless works of art.

Photo attribution: Ozonski, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

3. Monviso Area

This is one of the highest mountains in Piedmont and you can have an amazing trek around this area. A pleasant excursion of EASY difficulty will lead you to the discovery of Monviso, known as the King of Stone, which stands out in a majestic way. You can have a trek that will end near the foot of the mountain, in the enchanting landscape of Lake Fiorenza (for guided tour options, click here). The first stop will be Pian della Regina, where you can park the car at about 1770 m above sea level. After that, a trek of about an hour will be waiting for you, which will take you to Pian del Re (2020 m). Here, in Pian del Re, you will have the opportunity to take a short break and snap some photos, and then start again with the last part of the trek that will take you to see the Sorgenti del Po, the longest river in Italy that passes right through Turin. At this point, you can continue towards Lake Fiorenza, where you can admire the majesty of Monviso, relax a bit, take some more pictures and enjoy the view. It takes around 2 h by car to get to the Monviso area from Turin.

Photo provided by Free Tour Turin

4. Sacra di San Michele

It is an emblem of Piedmont. The imposing Gothic-style abbey, built on the top of the Pirchiriano hill, dominates the Susa Valley, used since ancient times as a communication route to the Po Valley. It has also been the inspiration for the famous "Il nome della Rosa'' of Umberto Eco, from which a famous film was then created.

You can reach the Sacra di San Michele through 2 routes, one that connects it to the town of Chiusa di San Michele, and the other that connects it with the town of Sant’Ambrogio. The complex can also be reached via the ferrata Carlo Giorda which starts from Sant'Ambrogio di Torino at the foot of Mount Pirchiriano. The path of the Franks begins from the sacra di San Michele, a famous and historic hiking route that connects with the upper valley. The Via Francigena also passed through the Sacra, an important pilgrimage route that linked Mont-Saint-Michel in France to the sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo, near Foggia. The mystery of the so-called magic line of San Michele is linked to the Sacra di San Michele. In fact, it seems that an energy line unites three basilicas/abbeys dedicated to the Archangel Michael. The three points of this line are: Mont Saint Michel, located in France in the Normandy region, the Sacra di San Michele and Monte Sant'Angelo in Puglia. According to white magic experts, the energy point is located on a small tile in the floor of the abbey of San Michele. If you position yourself on that point, according to these theories, you can clearly perceive the powerful energy of the magic line of San Michele. In the Sacra di San Michele in Piedmont this point would be on the left of the Church, immediately after the entrance. Obviously, these are unverified, but fun, theories!

Planning a trip to Sacra di San Michele? Enhance your visit with a guided tour from Turin. Book here.

Photo attribution: Elio Pallard, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

5. Val D'Ossola

Val d'Ossola is a well-known Piedmontese valley that extends in the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, around the Toce river that crosses it along its 83-kilometer path. It rises on the southern side of the Alps, between Valsesia (in the province of Vercelli) and Lake Maggiore. The total number of inhabitants of this Piedmont valley exceeds 67,000 people, residing in the 38 municipalities that compose it, the most important of which, from a geographical and historical point of view, is Domodossola, but let's not forget about Villadossola (second municipality for number of inhabitants), Crevoladossola and Ornavasso. All the best tourist resorts are located in the northernmost part of the Piedmont region and included in the mountain communities of the Ossola Valleys which consists of eight valleys: Valle Antigorio, Antrona, Anzasca, Bognanco, Divedro, Formazza, Ossola and Vigezzo, of which we will cover below. For example, Macugnaga, a town of just over 600 inhabitants rises in the Anzasca Valley, on the slopes of the eastern face of Monte Rosa. It is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Piedmont. Even Bognanco, peacefully lying in the valley of the Bogna stream has less than 300 inhabitants but boasts great fame for its scenic beauty and for its thermal waters. The Ossola Valley also contains several protected areas, including the Alpe Veglia and Alpe Devero Natural Park, with its splendid glacial valleys, the Alta Valle Antrona Natural Park, which extends over almost 7,500 hectares from valley floor up to an altitude of 3,656 meters, and the Val Grande National Park, created to preserve the wild environment of the valley in the province of Verbano Cusio Ossola. Also noteworthy is the Sacro Monte di Domodossola, an extraordinarily evocative place for nature, art and faith - it is a path full of beautiful natural landscapes that is located along the slopes of the Mattarella hill, and along which religious works of art abound.

Photo attribution: I, Carlocat87, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Of course there are many other great places in Piedmont and around Turin, but it’s impossible to tell you about all of them. Just don’t miss visiting these Top 5, you will not be disappointed! See you next time for another article from Turin and its surroundings!

Thank you for reading the article. For more travel tips from our local guides around the world check the blog section of our website! Have you read our article about the 5 best food and wine products to taste in Turin?

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