- Tour Alba's historic city center and underground tunnels
- Go hunting for truffles with trained dogs in the Piedmont countryside
- Tour Turin's grand piazzas and cathedrals
- Enjoy a full day of wine tasting in medieval towns in Piedmont
|Day 1||Arrive in Milan, Transfer to Turin||Turin|
|Day 2||Turin Walking Tour||Turin|
|Day 3||Turin to Alba, Guided Tour||Alba|
|Day 4||Truffle Hunting from Alba||Alba|
|Day 5||Barolo and Barbaresco Winery Tour from Alba||Alba|
|Day 6||Goodbye Italy|
Day 1: Arrive in Milan, Transfer to Turin
Welcome to Italy! From one of Milan's international airports, you'll be taking a train ride west to Torino, known as Turin to the English-speaking world. The journey is around 2.5 hours from the airport, usually changing at Milano Porta Garibaldi station. The capital of the Piedmont region, Turin is known for its elaborate architecture and excellent local cuisine. The train station where you'll be arriving is centrally located, so you can quickly check in to your hotel and familiarize yourself with your surroundings.
Take a walk to a city square—both Piazza Castello and Piazza San Carlo are good options—for coffee and a delicious baked sweet treat to reinvigorate you after your travels. The following activities are all excellent ways to spend your next several hours.
- Visit the interactive National Cinema Museum, housed in a 19th-century Jewish Synagogue.
- Wander through Turin's old town and Europe's largest open-air market, Porta Palazzo. The Piedmont region is famed for its truffles, cheeses, and meats- sample and purchase many mouthwatering examples of these here.
- Cross the river over the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele I bridge to the Santa Maria del Monte dei Cappuccini church. The walk is uphill but not steep, and you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the entire city after the climb.
To experience excellent examples of regional cuisine, head to the riverside area near the Piazza Vittoria Veneto for a delicious meal.
Day 2: Turin Walking Tour
After breakfast, you'll resume exploring Turin, a city famous for its sophisticated and historic architecture, shaded gardens, libraries, museums, and theaters. It's one of Italy's most fascinating cities, named in the New York Times "52 Places to Visit" in 2016.
Spend the day exploring the city on a walking tour. After meeting your guide, you'll start in the heart of the city at the iconic Piazza Castello and visit the Royal Palace, one of the city's most distinctive buildings. The Palace was the main symbol of the Savoy house when the capital moved from Chambery to Turin, and the greatest artists of the time were commissioned to create this Baroque masterpiece. Visit the ornate galleries and library, stroll through the gardens and the Royal Armory, and see the adjacent Cathedral that houses the Holy Shroud.
The entirety of the Piazza Castello was designed in concert to give the buildings a cohesive style. One of the buildings hides a great architectural treasure, the San Lorenzo Church. This baroque, octagonal building contains beautiful inner chapels and a soaring cupola with eight windows bathing the interior in sunlight.
Afterward, visit the Turin Egyptian Museum, the world’s oldest museum dedicated to ancient Egyptian culture and artifacts, with your guide. When the tour finishes, enjoy a coffee at a historic cafe nearby. Turin's cafes are legendary, with a long history as meeting places for artists, writers, and political refugees. Aristocracy, poets, bella gente, opera composers, and other lovers of the arts also sought out these cafes for their cozy atmosphere. Try the local drink, bicerin—a decadent mix of drinking chocolate, coffee, and whipped milk or cream.
In your free time, immerse yourself in Italian culture and buy your lunch from a local street food vendor. You'll see many Italians standing around eating sandwiches and catching up on their lunch breaks. We recommend spending your afternoon at one of these places of interest:
- Head to the Parco del Valentino for a late afternoon stroll through the sprawling medieval riverside park and check out the replica medieval village.
- Stop by the Parco Archeologico Torri Palatine to see the Palatine Towers, the world's best-preserved Roman city walls from the 1st century.
In the evening, you'll find many restaurants in the Quadrilatero market district serving great regional specialties for dinner. Feel free to ask your guide for a local recommendation.
Day 3: Turin to Alba, Guided Tour
After breakfast, pack your bags and check out as you get ready to move on to the town of Alba, around a 90-minute train ride away. Alba is in the UNESCO protected Langhe region and is most well-known as the "White Truffle Capital of the World". Between September and January is peak truffle hunting season, and people travel from across the world to the annual festival in October. You'll find no shortage of Michelin-starred restaurants here- it has the highest concentration in Italy. Alba is a great city with activities to suit all tastes and interests.
After checking in to your new hotel, explore the city center with a local guide to see how Alba's buildings, from Roman origins to modern construction, have been built on top of each other. During Roman times, the powerful city was known as Alba Pompeia. After the fall of the empire, citizens continued to build atop the former city. Head underground to see Alba's many architectural formations. At the center is a 12th-century cathedral, Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, built on top of an old Roman temple- what you see now is mostly from the Gothic period. Close by is the Church of San Domenico (no longer a place of worship), where visitors can take a look at the frescos and exhibitions.
In the Piazza del Duomo, you can see many towers that offer amazing views across the city and dominate the skyline. At one point, Alba had hundreds of towers, but only a few have been very well preserved. It is possible to climb to the top of the Sineo, Bonino, and Artesiano towers. Allow your guide to navigate through the narrow Old Town streets as you walk along Via Cavour to Piazza Risorgimento. Don't forget to look up at the beautiful architectural structures all around you!
After your tour ends, enjoy a relaxed afternoon of shopping or extend your underground adventure, walking in the footsteps of Romans on one of the archaeological paths. For dinner, head to Piazza Savona to find a wine bar or osteria with outdoor seating, nice ambiance, and great food.
Day 4: Truffle Hunting from Alba
Today, you will experience the art of truffle hunting on a tour of Piedmont's countryside. Italian truffles are some of the most sought-after culinary ingredients and are a well-loved feature of Mediterranean cuisine. Often served shaved over pasta, they add a distinctive and earthy flavor that is irresistible.
Start your day in Alba and head out on a search for white truffles, some of the world's rarest and most expensive foods, growing wild in the heart of Piedmont. When you get to the forest, you'll be guided by your expert truffle hunter (known as Trifulau in the local dialect) and his trusty four-legged companion, the Tabui or truffle dog. You'll learn all about the origins and importance of harvesting white truffles from your expert guide. When your hunt is complete, you purchase what you've bagged at a great price, and take them to a local gourmet restaurant. There, the chef will grate, slice or shave your truffles onto the dish of your choice. After spending the morning hunting for the rare truffles, you'll enjoy this expertly crafted meal as a picnic lunch complete with other regional delicacies and local wine.
In the afternoon, you'll return to Alba and have time to explore at your own leisure. We'd recommend the following activities:
- Visit the Civic Museum of Archaeology and Natural Sciences (called "Federico Eusebio"), to look at Roman and prehistoric collections discovered in the local area
- Enjoy a leisurely afternoon hopping between cafés, shops, and gelaterias. Sample some sweet treats such as "Bunet” (a rich chocolate pudding) or “Gianduja” (pastries or cakes made using hazelnut spread).
Later, head out for the evening around Piazza Duomo. Enjoy drinks at a local wine bar, and dinner at a restaurant on one of the small side streets off the main square.
Day 5: Barolo and Barbaresco Winery Tour from Alba
Today, you'll discover the beauty of the Piedmont countryside on a full-day private wine tour. The Langhe hills roll through Piedmont with medieval towns, vineyards, and castles overlooking the valleys below. This region is famous for producing excellent food and wine. In 2014, Langhe, Monferrato, and Roero were made UNESCO World Heritage Sites to protect the natural landscape and their traditional methods of winemaking. Full-bodied Barolo and Barbaresco red wines are the most well-known varieties hailing from this area, but there are also many others such as Barbera and Dolcetto. Today, you'll drive through luscious Langhe hills to discover and taste what local winemakers are proudly producing here, while learning about the significance of the geographical area.
With your guide, you will visit several small, family-owned wineries throughout the day and sample their wines, to enjoy as well as compare and contrast the flavors. Take a tour through the wineries and cellars, where wines are aged in oak barrels. The wine tastings are complemented by local charcuterie, cheeses, and bread. In the afternoon, stop for lunch and visit some hilltop villages and towns. In Barolo, you will have the opportunity to visit a unique wine museum. The final visit is to the ancient Grinzane Castle, which was restored in 1967. Inside the castle is a large showroom (and salesroom) of the best regional wines. Taste a Moscato or Grappa dessert wine- if you didn't already buy a bottle at a winery this is the last chance to take one home.
The tour ends back in Alba where you have the evening free. Later, head out for dinner around Piazza Duomo at a restaurant on one of the small side streets off the main square.
Day 6: Goodbye Italy
Your journey in Italy will end after breakfast, with a transfer to the airport to catch your flight home or to your next destination. Arrivederci!