Piedmont, Italy: travel guide and places to visit
The Piedmont region of north-west Italy is best known for the rich city of Turin, various imposing palaces and religious monuments, and the picturesque mountain towns and scenic attractions such as Lake Orta and Lake Maggiore further to the north
Piedmont - a guide and places to visit
For a summary of the most popular sights in the region see also Piedmont places to visit.
The Piedmont region is in the north-west corner of Italy, reaching from the border with Liguria to the south and climbing up into the Alps in the north of the region.
The Valle d'Aosta is a separate Italian region that is in the north-west corner of Piedmont although it is often visited at the same time as Piedmont itself. See the Valle d'Aosta guide.
The landscape of Piedmont has two principal characteristics: the northern and eastern areas are quite mountainous while the central area around Turin and the south-west is generally quite low altitude (it includes Italy's main rice growing region). In the north you reach increasingly high Alpine mountains.
We consider the highlights of Piedmont below in three 'areas':
- the north, with the lakes and mountains;
- the central area including Turin which also has several well known monuments of interest;
- the south of Piedmont, close to the French and Italian rivieras.
Piedmont: the north
The most visited part of Piedmont outside Turin is the northern mountainous region, often referred to the Piedmont Lake District. The principal lake here is Lake Maggiore: although Maggiore is usually considered as one of the Lombardy lakes, its entire western half is actually in Piedmont.
Highlights on western Lake Maggiore include the very lovely Borromean Islands as well as the lakeside resorts of Stresa, Verbania and Arona. Garden lovers will also love visiting the lovely villas and lakeside gardens here.
Be sure to also allow time to visit the lovely Lake Orta. The lake is smaller and less well known than Lake Maggiore and the Lombardy lakes of northern Italy (the Italians are reputed for keeping this lake secret from overseas visitors!) but very picturesque.
As well as the scenic highlights, the mountainous north-east of the Piedmont region includes the pretty town of Domodossola among its main attractions.
At the town of Varallo, west of Lake Orta, you can visit the extensive 15th century chapels and biblical recreations at the Sacro Monte basilica. The Oropa Sanctuary, one of Italy's principal pilgrimage sites, is to the south-east of here, then continuing southwards you can visit the town of Ivrea.
Piedmont: Turin and the centre
The most famous - and most visited - city in the region is Turin, centrally located in the middle of Piedmont. Although many visitors to central Piedmont never travel outside the city there are actually several places of interest within easy reach...
You will of course start your visit in Turin itself. Turin is a rich town with a long history and has a great deal of interest to visitors: see Turin guide.
The centre of the region around Turin also has several other interesting highlights - all the places mentioned in this region can be visited from Turin without too much difficulty.
Susa and Avigliana (visited for the nearby abbey at Sacra di San Michele) are attractive towns to the west of Turin, while the town of Pinerolo, the renowned villa at Stupinigi and the basilica at Superga are other noteworthy attractions here.
Also close, the town of Asti is best known for its sparkling white wine called Asti Spumante, sold all around the world. Asti town and wine region is to the east of Turin, while the 'city of towers' of Alba is a little further south and also worth exploring.
Piedmont: the south
The south of the Piedmont region is generally less visited except for the part close to the southern border between Piedmont and Liguria (and the French Riviera to the south-west).
Notable attractions here include the remarkable caves at caves at Bossea and an interesting town in a lovely setting at Cuneo. You can also visit the historical town at Mondovi a little way east of Cuneo, and the small town of Saluzzo to the north of Cuneo.
Piedmont highlights - a photo gallery
Most Beautiful Villages - Piedmont
The following Italian towns and villages in Piedmont are listed among the 'most beautiful villages in Italy': Chianale / Garessio / Macugnaga / Mombaldone / Neive / Orta San Giulio (see Lake Orta) / Ostana / Ricetto di Candelo / Usseaux / Vogogna / Volpedo
Orange Flag Tourism towns in Piedmont
The following Italian towns and villages in Piedmont are listed among the 'Orange flag towns in Italy' (a national tourist award): Alagna Valsesia / Avigliana / Barolo / Bergolo / Candelo / Cannero Riviera / Cherasco / Cocconato / Fenestrelle / Grinzane Cavour / Macugnaga / Malesco / Mergozzo / Monforte d'Alba / Neive / Orta San Giulio / Santa Maria Maggiore / Varallo / Well Vagienna