Trip Overview

 “Those who come to the Langhe…are seduced and sometimes irrevocably won by the beauty of its landscape, the ancient grace of its towns and the modus vivendi of its people, firmly determined, yet ever ready to grasp the flower of happiness with an unexpectedly gentle hand.”   

 Italian writer Danilo Manera

Remarkable Italian cuisine, exceptional Barolo, Nebbiolo and Barbaresco wines (among others!), and daily walking tours through the gorgeous vineyards and villages of northern Italy — all in the company of other fascinating and adventurous women. What could be better?

But wait! There’s more!

A truffle-sniffing dog, Italian castles and palaces, artisan-made local meats and cheeses, fascinating museums, hazelnut Italian desserts, fabulous frescoes and Italian art, shopping in fashion boutiques, visits to funky aperitivo bars, and drinking the “King of Wines”. This unique walking tour, at the height of autumn in Italy, gives you an insider’s experience of life in northwest Italy – its villages, wines and fine Italian cuisine – an 8-day immersion into the BEST of Italy!

Our walking and hiking adventure in Italy is based in the Langhe and Alta Langa region of Piemonte (a.k.a. Piedmont) in the northwest, one of the most beautiful places in the country. (Piemonte, in fact, recently became a candidate for a UNESCO World Heritage Site.) Our walks take us through the foothills of the Italian Alps (Piedmont means “at the foot of the mountains”) on a combination of paved back roads, meandering farm paths, and tractor trails. We enjoy stunning views of Mont Blanc and Mont Viso while following vineyard walkways, wandering from one Italian village to another. And there is something marvelous in each destination on our route: medieval Italian castles, fortresses, and enchanting stone hamlets.

Simply put: Piemonte is a wine-and food-lovers paradise. This is a place where some of the most famous wines of Italy — the powerful red Barolo, the elegant Barbaresco, and a multitude of fragrant crisp white wines — were named after their delightful hilltop towns and villages. Piemonte is considered to be Italy’s premium wine region and is often compared to the famous French wine region of Burgundy.

And, perhaps because of its abundance of fresh produce and talented artisan food producers, the Slow Food movement started in the Piemontese town of Bra, and then spread throughout Europe, North America, and elsewhere. We’ll feast on artisan-made cheeses and meats, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, and savor the mouth-watering regional cuisine at family-run Italian restaurants (osterias) recognized for their commitment to sustainable farming and agriculture.

Join AdventureWomen for a delightful journey for walking, eating, drinking, and making merry in this spectacular and less-traveled region of mountains and hills in northwest Italy near the borders of France and Switzerland. Let this unique Italian walking tour, touching all five of our senses, captivate, surprise, and amaze you!

Main Attractions

  • Hike on world-renowned (yet un-crowded) Italian vineyard trails through beautiful landscapes and fortified towns in the foothills of the Italian Alps.
  • Feast on fine Italian cuisine, fresh artisan food and produce in the birthplace of the Slow Food Movement.
  • Taste some of the most famous wines in Italy: Barolo, Barbaresco, and fragrant crisp whites – named after their delightful hilltop towns and villages.
  • Stay in charming hotels and country inns, havens of quiet and calm.
  • Hunt for truffles with an Italian truffle-hunter and his dog!
  • Enjoy camaraderie and share experiences with other AdventureWomen participants during this delightful, custom-designed Italy walking tour.

What You'll See and Do!

Cultural Exploration, Hiking, Photography, Sightseeing, Wine Tasting

What You'll See and Do

  • Cultural Exploration
  • Hiking
  • Photography
  • Wine Tasting

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Trip Itinerary

Remarkable cuisine and home to the Slow Food Movement, exceptional wines named after their hilltop towns and villages, daily walks on gorgeous vineyard trails through villages in the foothills of the Alps, truffle-sniffing dogs, medieval castles and enchanting stone hamlets. Simply put: Piemonte is a wine- and food-lovers paradise, and an 8-day immersion into the best of Italy!

Day 1

Monday, September 30, 2013: Depart the U.S. for Your Overnight Flight to Turin (Torino), Italy
Turin is an exquisite and interesting city. It was the first capital city of Italy during the rule of the Savoy. Here you’ll discover the beauty of a city surrounded by rolling green hills with views of snowy Alpine peaks. The city is a historic center filled with baroque palaces and art nouveau mansions, as well as a labyrinth of shady arcades lined with fashion boutiques, funky aperitivo bars, and romantic restaurants serving delicious Piemontese cuisine. Also, many outstanding museums, including the largest Egyptian museum outside of Cairo and the Museum of Italian Cinema.

If you arrive a day early, or depart a day after our hiking trip, Turin is a wonderful place to explore!

Day 2

Tuesday, October 1: Arrive in Turin, Italy and Transfer to Saluzzo
After the group pick-up, at 12:30 p.m. at the Turin Airport, we transfer by private coach to the medieval hill town of Saluzzo, which has retained its original, historic center and dates to the 15th century. Saluzzo is the artistic jewel of Piemonte, and is nestled at the foot of Monviso.

After settling into our hotel, we take a short walk to stretch our legs and to view the 13th century Castle of Manta, which houses what is often considered to be one of the finest masterpieces of Late-Gothic secular art. These delightful frescos show scenes of secular life, the Fountain of Youth, and portraits of some of Italy’s most famous citizens.

Our hotel for tonight and tomorrow is Antico Podere Propano, a haven of comfort and quiet, located just a short walk to the center of town. Formerly a farm owned by the Marquis of Saluzzo, it has been transformed into a country hotel. It is surrounded by meadows, the mountain chain of Monviso, and the fertile Po plain — a stunning location.

2 hour walk                                                                                                            (Dinner)

Hotel Antico Podere Propano
Via Torino 75
12037 Saluzzo
Tel +39 0175 2480887
www.anticopoderepropano.com

Day 3

Wednesday, October 2: The Po Valley
Today we travel into Valle di Po, a valley at the foot of Monviso. Known to the locals as the “King of Stone”, or as the “Mont Blanc of the Southern Alps,” Monviso sits entirely in Italian territory and is the highest mountain of the Cottian Alps (3841 meters/11,500 feet).

Scattered throughout the rugged and remote landscape in this area are beautiful valleys, which are the heart of Occitan tradition and culture. (Occitan is a language spoken only in Italy, mainly in the 15 alpine valleys in the Piedmontese provinces of Torino and Cuneo. The Occitan community emigrated here in the 13th and 14th centuries to escape religious persecution). This is also where the Po River begins its 430-mile journey to the Adriatic Sea.

A 45-minute transfer by van takes us from Saluzzo to Ostana. Here we have stunning views of the Cozie Alps and Monviso. Our hike is on well-maintained paths that climb through pastures and past the small stone houses that were used in the past as barns and shelters. Most have been converted into summer homes.

Return by van to Saluzzo.

4-hour walk                                                                            (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)

Overnight Hotel Antico Podere Propano

Day 4

Thursday, October 3: Barbaresco
After a hearty breakfast, we drive to Barbaresco, a small village that gave its name to the famous wine. Made from Nebbiolo grapes, Barbaresco is often referred to as the feminine version of Barolo.

The village has an imposing square tower, built in the late 10th century to protect it from foreign invaders. From the village we walk the Barbaresco path, a trail that links the two famous wine villages of Neive and Barbaresco. We walk through some of the most famous vineyards in Italy to reach Neive, another important wine village. We stop here to enjoy a splendid lunch.

After lunch, we return to Barbaresco on foot and taste the wines at the Cantina Produttori del Barbaresco, a cooperative of small growers in Barbaresco that produce very good wine at reasonable prices. After our wine tasting, we continue to our next hotel in the foothills of the Alta Langa, the heart of Piemonte’s Monferrato wine country.

4-hour walk                                                                                       (Breakfast and Dinner)

Agriturismo La Piazza
Strada Piazza 4 S. Margherita
Costigiliole d’Asti
Tel 39- 0141966267
www.agriturismolapiazza.it

La Piazza sits on 30 acres of Barbera d’Asti and Moscato d’Asti vineyards. Once the living quarters of local sharecroppers, this charming country inn has been converted into a premium 12-room hideaway set among Monferrato’s breathtaking green hills. From handmade tajarin to local artisanal cheeses, La Piazza’s extraordinary restaurant features authentic Piemontese cuisine prepared with only the finest locally grown ingredients.

Day 5

Friday, October 4: The High Langa
This morning we depart for La Spinetta (which means “top of the hill”), one of the great wineries of Barbaresco. After our morning tasting we take a walk to explore the woods of the Alta Langa, ablaze with autumn colors at this time of the year.

Alta Langa (high langa), is also known as Langa of the Valleys, due to the three deep valleys that form its territory. This pristine area played a major role during the Italian Resistance in World War II, and was the setting for several famous local literary pieces. It has maintained its authentic character. Here, we see stone villages that seem suspended in time and the formidable 10th century fortress town of Prunetto Alta Langa, home to the “Tonda e Gentile” (round and gentle) — the hazelnut of Piemonte, ingredient par excellence in most of the local desserts.

4-hour walk                                                                            (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)

Overnight Agriturismo La Piazza

Day 6

Saturday, October 5: La Morra
Today we drive to La Morra, a pretty medieval town overlooking the Po Valley and one of the most important wine villages in the Barolo. It’s also the highest hilltop town in the area and has spectacular views of the Langhe valley and the Alps.

After settling into our charming hotel, we set off to explore the vineyards around La Morra. Our trail takes us on dirt pathways to the tiny village of Annunziata and then on to a favorite trattoria for lunch. After lunch, we continue our walk — back to La Morra.

In the afternoon we visit the cellars of one of the local producers and taste their range of the King of Wines: Barolo.

Tonight you’re on your own for dinner and exploration of La Morra.

3-hour walk                                                                                        (Breakfast and Lunch)

Corte Gondina
La Morra
Tel + 39 0173 509781
Fax +39 0173 509782
www.cortegondina.it
The beautifully restored Corte Gondina Hotel is an ideal place from which to explore both the town and the beautiful surrounding countryside. Once a family residence, it is now an elegant hotel with a large outdoor pool, well-tended grounds, and a lovely sun terrace. Quiet and private, Corte Gondina is just a short walk from La Morra’s excellent restaurants and wine shops.

Day 7

Sunday, October 6: La Morra- Vergne- Barolo
Our hike this morning begins at our hotel and takes us through the vineyards to the small village of Vergne, where many of the houses are decorated with murals by local artists. From there we walk on country roads, tractor paths, and trails along the ridge, enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding hills and the Maritime and Cozie Alps. Along the way we pass through wheat fields and hazelnut orchards.

Our mid-day destination is Novello, a quaint village perched at the edge of a hill and founded by the Romans in the 1st century B.C. Here we stop for a simple lunch accompanied by local wines.

After lunch, we descend through the vineyards for another hour, arriving in Barolo, a town with a 13th-century castle where the world-class wine of the same name was created in the 19th Century. We tour the newly-created Barolo Museum before enjoying a tasting in the vaulted wine cellar.

4-hour walk                                                                                        (Breakfast and Lunch)

Overnight Corte Gondina

Day 8

Monday, October 7: Truffle Hunting
Today we take an excursion with a local truffle hunter, walking through the woods while his dog searches for the prized tuber — wagging its tail and racing back and forth, nose to the ground. Eventually (we hope!), it will start digging with gusto and uncover “black gold”! With luck, we follow our walk with a truffle lunch, prepared for us at a lakeside restaurant.

After lunch we take our final walk — to the romantic castle at Verduno, built by the House of Savoy in the 17th century, which has been renovated into an inviting inn.

Returning to Corde Gondina, we celebrate our last night’s dinner together after a wonderful week of walking, eating, and wine tasting!

3-hour walk                                                                                       (Breakfast and Dinner)

Overnight Corte Gondina

Day 9

Tuesday, October 8: Departure
This morning we are transferred back to Turin and dropped at the railway station at 12 noon. The RR station is convenient for transfers into town or the airport. However, most flights to the U.S. depart very early on the morning of October 8, so you will most likely stay overnight in Turin (unless you can get a late afternoon flight) and depart on October 9, arriving home that day.

(Breakfast)

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Traveling to Italy


Arrival & Departure

You will need to coordinate your flights with our group pick-up and departure times. The group pick-up is at the Turin Airport, in Turin, Italy at 12:30 p.m., October 1, 2013. Most flights on major airlines arrive by 11:40 a.m. on that morning. From the airport, it’s about a 1- to 1.5-hour drive to our first hotel in Saluzzo. If you are unable to arrive for the pick up at 12:30 p.m., you will need to come in a day early and stay overnight in Turin, then come back to the airport to meet the group on October 1 at 12:30 p.m.

On October 8 you will be taken back to Turin and dropped off at the Turin Railway Station at 12 noon. Most flights depart very early in the morning on October 8, and it will not be possible to get everyone back to the airport in Turin for a flight out in the morning, as the journey from our last hotel in La Morra to Turin is at least 2 hours.

You might be able to get a flight out after 1:30 or 2 p.m on October 8. But most likely you will stay overnight in Turin and leave very early the morning of October 9, arriving back home on that same day.

 

Important Information About Travel Arrangements

We suggest you book your air reservations with our travel consultant soon after registering for this trip! 

On this AdventureWomen Piemonte Vineyard Walk, Italy, we ask that you work directly with our travel consultant at Montana Travel to make your travel arrangements. After booking your trip, please call Ciretta at Montana Travel, in Bozeman, Montana, to discuss your air schedule based on the arrival and departure times we have set for the group pick-up and departure from Turin, Italy. 

1-800-247-3538

Email: ciretta@mttravel.com

FAX 1-406-586-1959

CANADIAN RESIDENTS, please call 406-587-1188

When calling, please identify yourself as an AdventureWomen traveler. If you leave a message on Ciretta’s voice mail, she will return your call promptly. She will be happy to discuss your travel plans and help you decide when to purchase your ticket for the best rate. If you purchase your ticket through her, she can also help you with hotels, should you want to come early, stay longer, or share a hotel room with another participant. If you do not purchase your air ticket through Montana Travel, you are responsible for making your own arrangement for hotels, rental cars, trip extensions, transfers, etc.

NOTE: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible booking last-minute registrants, we must often relinquish hotel space and air reservations 6 to 12 weeks prior to departure! Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.

 

Hiking Experience, Physical Condition Required & Health Insurance

This hiking trip is rated as moderate, which means that you must be in very good physical condition. Trips of this designation offer moderate physical challenges. You should be able to hike from 5-8 miles, in rolling terrain. The terrain varies widely, from paved roads and cobblestone streets to uneven, single-track trails with loose stones or gravel, to dirt roads. The terrain can also be uneven and steep in the vineyards, so good hiking boots are recommended. A walking stick, if you prefer to hike with one, is also helpful. The pace on this tour is leisurely with stops en route to explore villages, and cultural and historical sites.

You must have your own health insurance. You must be in very good physical condition, a requirement essential to your enjoyment and personal safety, as well as the enjoyment and safety of the group.

Passport & Money

Citizens of the U.S. must possess a valid passport to travel to Italy. There is no visa required. If you do not have a passport, apply now! You should always carry two extra photos, just in case of emergency (i.e., if your passport is stolen).

Credit cards are widely accepted in Italy and ATM machines are accessible in many towns. It is easiest to bring a few hundred dollars in cash, which you can exchange into Euros, for your spending money.

 

Weather

Autumn is magical in the famous wine growing regions of Italy. At this time of year, a rainbow of color reflects off every hill and valley. Visits during the wine harvest, in September and October, is an ideal time to experience wine tastings. 

Days are starting to get cooler in October, so it’s perfect hiking weather. There are some warm days of course, and perhaps a few rain showers. Temperatures can range from 60-70 F during the day time, occasionally warmer, and down to around 50 or a bit less at night.

Liability Form & Final Payment

Part of what AdventureWomen, Inc. hopes to foster is the taking of more self-responsibility for our own lives, health, and safety. Please read the Liability Form carefully, sign it, and return it with the remainder of your balance due by July 3, 2013.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

What's Included

What's Included in the Cost of your Hiking & Walking Tour in Italy

  • 7 nights lodging in beautiful Italian country inns and hotels in twin-bedded, double-occupancy rooms with private baths.
  • Meals specified in the daily itinerary, including 7 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 5 dinners – delicious Italian cuisine!
  • Transportation and all transfers in Italy, from our meeting point and our return to Turin (Torino), Italy.
  • Fully-guided walks each day led by Gillian Arthur, our European-based guide.
  • All luggage transfers.
  • All gratuities on meals covered in the itinerary.

Not Included In the Cost of your Hiking & Walking Tour in Italy

  • Round-trip airfare to Turin (Torino) Italy.
  • Drinks including all alcoholic beverages, wine, and beer.
  • A tip to your:
    • Main guide ($100/person)
    • Assistant guide ($50/person).

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Accommodations

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

What to Bring

What to Pack on your Walking Tour in Northern Italy

As in all outdoor activities that include mountain travel, you must be well prepared for weather changes.

  • Waterproof parka and rain pants. The TravelSmith, LLBean, and Campmor catalogs have excellent, breathable rain gear. See the “Resources” sheet in your registration packet.
  • Medium-weight hiking boots. It is best NOT to wear shoes, even if they are walking shoes, because ANKLE support is absolutely essential, as is a good Vibram sole. You do not need to buy heavy, leather boots as there are numerous, medium-weight, quality hiking boots on the market. Asolo, Garmont, Merrill, Vasque, and other makes are widely available and designed especially for women. Since they are waterproof, Gore-tex boots, although a bit more expensive, are our first choice. Other boots should be waterproofed with one of the excellent waterproofing products available such as Nikwax. MAKE SURE your boots are well broken-in and that they fit properly. Please do not come on this trip with a pair of boots you have never worn before!
  • Comfortable hiking socks (Thorlo’s or similar). It is best to wear two pairs of socks while walking, a thin liner sock and a thicker wool or hiking sock.
  • Regarding Foot Care: To prevent blisters, many hikers use moleskin. However, we recommend bringing a small roll of ordinary duct tape as an alternative. Applied before the hike, it reduces friction much better than moleskin. If you develop a blister, Spenco “2nd Skin” is a very comforting necessity. Your foot care kit should also include: cloth Band-Aids (not plastic), individually wrapped alcohol pads, a small tube of Neosporin or other antibiotic cream, and foot powder.
  • Comfortable shoes for the evening in hotels and mountain lodges.
  • Medium-weight jacket, fleece jacket, or sweater for cool evenings.
  • Small day pack: this should be large enough to carry a spare sweater, rain gear, camera, and a drink (or water bottle).
  • Money belt, waist pouch, or a way to carry your money, passport, and airline tickets. You can leave these valuables at the hotels while day hiking.
  • One-quart water bottle. We recommend the 24 oz. Nalgene Everyday OTG Tritan Bottle. Made of Eastman Tritan™ copolyester, the bottle is completely BPA-free. Tritan™ copolyester provides excellent impact resistance and is suitable for both warm and cold beverages.
  • Pants (loose and comfortable for walking) and two pairs of walking shorts (if you like to wear shorts). Zip off pants are often the most versatile.
  • Shirts (long- and short-sleeved) and a few T-shirts.
  • Underwear, sleepwear.
  • Hat for sun and rain protection.
  • Swimsuit.
  • Three bandanas (100% cotton) for uses too numerous to mention.
  • Swiss Army knife or equivalent (for picnics, opening wine bottles, cutting cheese, etc.). Be sure to pack this in your checked luggage.
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm with sunscreen.
  • Small flashlight with spare batteries and bulb to use if you need to get up at night and don’t want to wake your roommate by turning on the lights.
  • Earplugs. We recommend Mack's Pillow Soft Whitle Moldable Silicone Snore Proof Earplugs, which you can buy at most drug stores. Good to 22 decibles!
  • Small travel alarm clock.
  • Toiletries, prescription medications, and a washcloth (sometimes not provided in Europe). To cover all your bases, you might also include an Ace bandage, Pepto Bismol, Immodium, and Correctol.
  • Ziploc bags in various sizes for dirty boots and dirty clothes, film, etc.
  • Camera and plenty of extra memory cards, batteries, adaptor (if applicable), and battery charger.
  • A collapsible walking stick (to fit into your suitcase) if you prefer to hike with one.
  • Book, notebook, pen, lightweight binoculars (optional).
  • Electricity: France's electric current is 220 volts, 2 prong European outlets, so if you are traveling with electrical appliances you will need an international converter. Cameras only need the 2 prong European adaptor.

Outlet Adapter - French

Some Extra Items to Add to your "What to Pack" List

We are updating and adding the following items for all international trips. With 30 years of experience flying around the world, we think these items help make your long airline flights much more comfortable and even more bearable:

  • Neck pillow - Inflatable neck pillow for blissful support and deep sleep. For packing, it folds into itself. Self-sealing valve means nothing to close. Soft microfleece cover removes for washing. Eagle Creek Large Inflatable Travel Neck Pillow.
  • Sleep mask /Comfort eye shade - Ultra lightweight and comfortable, the Comfort Eye Shade screens out light and distractions for a cozier flight. Ultra-soft micro fleece for comfort. Adjustable elastic strap for a perfect fit. Made of Molded Polyester Micro Fleece. Eagle Creek® Comfort Eye Shade.
  • Travel compression socks - Reduce ankle and leg swelling and reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis. These doctor-designed socks stimulate circulation through gradual compression that stops swelling and guards against (DVT). Made of coolmax®-lycra®-nylon. The TravelSox® cushion Walk Socks have extra-padded soles and are made of moisture wicking SoftPrim®. TravelSox® Cushion Walk Sock™.
  • Noise canceling headphones - Block out unwanted sounds of children crying and airplane engine drone, and/or enjoy great audio sound. Reduce distortion and increase perceived loudness so you can enjoy sound at a lower volume. Get the around the ear design, which is very comfortable.
    • Bose Quiet Comfort 2 - List Price: $199.99. Oval shaped around-the-ear design, an iPod fits nicely in the center of the case between the headphones. You can get the next generation of Bose Quiet Comfort 3, but the cost is $349.00.
    • Audio Technica ATH-ANC7 - List Price: $219.95 Excellent sound quality and above average noise cancellation. Comfortable leather cushioning around the ear and can be worn for long periods of time with no discomfort. Excellent headphones with a reasonable price tag. Comparable

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686