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Golf in Italy’s new guide to discover Piedmont in 2020 – Part 1

Golf in Italy brand new guide to discover Piedmont in 2020

Golf in Italy’s new guide to discover Piedmont in 2020 – Part 1

Golf in Italy’s new guide to discover Piedmont in 2020 – Part 1 3648 2736 Golf in Italy

Piedmont is one of the regions that is most undervalued by international tourism, but also by the Italians themselves, who do not know the beauty of this beautiful region, which is very similar to Tuscany: rich, rich historical, artistic, culinary and landscape heritage. In short, compared to other popular Italian regions, Piedmont has nothing to envy. According to the annual guide “Best in Travel” compiled by the experts of Lonely Planet, the famous publishing house that distributes tourist guides around the world, Piedmont is the most beautiful region in the world to visit, outclassing Catskills (the U.S. region that hosted Woodstock), the North of Peru and the beautiful Scottish Highlands. Let’s discover together some of its beauties, some more known, some less.

1. Lake Maggiore – A Paradise of Islets and Gardens

This first suggestion is perhaps the most obvious, but certainly not to be underestimated! Often only the most popular destinations are promoted, but many do not know that there is much more.. Let’s take a virtual boat ride together!

Aerial view of a motorboat running on Lake Maggiore - Golf in Piedmont 2020

Michael Drexler Aerial view of a motorboat running on Lake Maggiore

L’Isola dei Pescatori, a tiny lost island

The silhouette of Isola dei Pescatori is unique: an oblong tiny plot of land  with a sharp bell tower surrounded by small lakeside houses and trees. The Borromean island, just 100 meters wide, hides winding alleys that still teem with life: just about fifty residents have chosen to live far from the chaos of the mainland. Although it has a millenary history (the first remains date back to the eleventh century), the Isola di Pescatori, as the name suggests (literally fishermen’s island) has hosted for over six centuries a fishing community. We warmly recommend visiting the Island of Fishermen for a convivial meal in the delicious restaurants on the island, preferably with lake view! For an authentic experience we recommend Ristorante Italia: fair prices and delicious and original recipes with lakefish!

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Isola dei Pescatori (boat view)

Isola dei Pescatori (boat view) / claudio del frate / CC Y-ND 2.0

Villa Taranto Botanical Garden: the most beautiful garden in the world!

According to Buzzfeed, the renowned news and media company based in New York City, Villa Taranto’s Botanical Garden is the most beautiful garden in the world, subclassing amazing locations such as Versailles (Paris), Mottisfont Abbey Rose Gardens (Humpshire) and the Gardens at the Cloisters (New York).

Villa Taranto is located in Pallanza, a hamlet of Verbania, on the north-eastern side of the Castagnola promontory on Lake Maggiore, an hour’s ferry ride from Stresa, and has 16 hectares of terraced gardens. In the gardens, a work of art commissioned by the Scottish captain Neil Boyd Watson McEacharn, there is a vast and well-kept rare variety of rare plants and trees (some believed to be extinct) including conifers, maples, rhododendrons, magnolias, a tropical greenhouse as well as the villa, small temples and fountains. A real panacea for lovers of tranquility!

If interested in events, prices and more informations, here the official website.

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Villa Taranto: garden with fountain

via Wikimedia Commons /> Villa Taranto: garden with fountain

“Isola Madre is the most voluptuous place I have ever seen in the world”

Thus the famous island was described by the famous French writer Gustave Flaubert in 1845.

The largest Borromean island has a special feature: it has a microclimate that is quite unusual for the latitude in which it is located, which allows it to thrive over 800 exotic plants and animals impossible to find in the rest of the peninsula.

It was thanks to the Borromeo family in the 16th century that the culture of botany was introduced to Isola Madre. In fact, they also established the figure of the “hortolano” (in English it can be translated with gardener), who always resided on the island to take care of their “floral” properties. Thus was born the dynasty of ortolans: the Della Torre family remained on the island until the nineteenth century.  In addition to the gardens, we recommend a visit to the Borromeo Palace and the Gentilizia Chapel.

 

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Unique flora and fauna species on Isola Madre

Unique flora and fauna species on Isola Madre / Photo by rente42 / P.D.M. 1.0

GOLF TIP: Des Îles Borromées G.C. – Località Motta Rossa, 1, 28833, Brovello-Carpugnino (VB)

The area around Lake Maggiore with its luxuriant vegetation and vivid colours, the endless variety of trees and flowers, is the ideal setting for golfing. Des Îles Borromées is on the hilly side of the lake, 500 metres above sea level, close to another golf course, the Alpino, one of the first to be constructed in Italy. The sports facilities are always in great demand and golf enthusiasts are constantly on the increase. The designer is Marco Croze and the course is routed over 72 hectares of natural ground, with full respect for the existing countryside, except for two peat-bog areas which have now been turned into lakes. Although very recent, the course is certainly ideally suited from a technical point of view for top level championships.

Golf Club Des Iles Borromées is situated in a beautiful alpine setting 600  metres above sea level. When playing the course, golfers can also enjoy spectacular views of the Sempione and Val Grande mountains. From the 18th hole tee, on a clear day, one can see the skyline of Milan, Lago Maggiore, Lago di Varese, Monate and Comabbio as well as the Ticino Alps. But the natural flora is the real highlight. Birches flank the entire course along with pine trees, ash and larch trees mixed with oak and holm  oak and chestnut trees. Golfers can even find Mikado thuies on hole 12.The course is open throughout the year except for January. Summer temperatures never go above 85° and there is almost always a slight breeze. In late winter the sun warms many of the south-facing holes.

The natural fairways were designed by the architect Marco Croze. Its slopes and hazards are not man-made, they have been there for hundreds of years and makes this course both demanding and fun. No hole is boring. Hole 5, the shortest, is a par 3, 150 metres long. It is all uphill and surrounded by 5 bunkers. The longest hole, 11, is a par 5 which  measures 525 metres. Even powerful players will find it difficult to reach the green in two strokes. Its green is also deceptive as it is surrounded by a small lake on the left side.

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Des Îles Borromeés

Des Îles Borromeés G.C.


2. Savoy Residences, a UNESCO wonderland

The cultural and artistic impact of the Savoys was considerable on Turin and Piedmont in general. They were the architects of the restoration of ancient castles (including Roman castles) and the construction of various residences, gardens and whims throughout Piedmont. Many of them have been included in the list of the protected sites by UNESCO, let’s see some together!

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Palazzo Madama (and Casaforte degli Acaja), a millenary archive

Literally located in the center of Turin, the origins of Palazzo Madama can be traced back to the first century AD in Roman times, of which you can still see the remains of the wall of the eastern gate. Used for various purposes over the centuries, the building was restored and brought to the splendor that we know from the Savoy family, of which it was a symbol until the sixteenth century, until it was preferred (to the current) Royal Palace. After having alternated for centuries between residence for guests and personal residence of the Savoy, today Palazzo Madama is considered one of the two thousand years old Italian treasures; it houses a beautiful civic museum of ancient art. A point of interest NOT to be missed for any reason in the world.

Events 2019:

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Palazzo Madama Museum

Palazzo Madama Museum. / Photo by Raffaele Sergi / CC BY 2.0

Palazzina di caccia di Stupinigi, the Savoy playground

The Stupinigi hunting lodge was the residence intended for the practice of hunting, an essential activity for the nobles of the time. Also of very ancient structural origins (medieval age), the design of the Savoy vacation residence was entrusted to the famous architect Filippo Juvarra. Sumptuous and sophisticated residence, it was the scene of many opulent events and weddings during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; as well as residence chosen by Napoleon Bonaparte. Inside today you can visit, in addition to the breathtaking architecture, the Museum of Furniture, the Abbey of Santa Maria Staffarda (founded in 1122) and the Precettoria di S. Antonio Ranverso (XII century).

Events 2019:

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Palazzina di caccia di Stupinigi

Palazzina di caccia di Stupinigi. / Photo by Matteo Alvares / CC BY 2.0

Castello reale di Racconigi, the Royal holydays

The castle is located in the province of Cuneo in Racconigi but is still not far from Turin (about 45 minutes by car) and was owned by the cadet branch of the Savoy-Carignano and elected the seat of the “Royal Holidays”. It too boasts a millenary history starting from the 11th century, passing through the usual Savoy re-qualification during the 14th century. Since 1994 the castle can be visited completely and it’s possible to admire its neoclassical rooms, rooms in taste decó dating back to the first half of ‘900. The Park is the evolution of the French garden, designed by André Le Nôtre in 1670 and later supplemented by an English garden at the end of the 18th century. Curiosity: inside the park there are cows grazing from which the exclusive cheeses “Margaria” and “Casino del Cacio” are produced, bees are bred for dandelion honey and ancient fruits are cultivated for jams!

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Castello Reale in Racconigi

Castello Reale in Racconigi (Cuneo). / Photo by E. Borda / CC BY-ND 2.0

Other Savoy residences in Piedmont belonging to the UNESCO World Heritage List

  • Palazzo Reale di Torino
  • Armeria Reale
  • Accademia Reale di Torino
  • Castello del Valentino
  • Castello di Moncalieri
  • Castello di Pollenzo
  • Castello di Rivoli
  • Reggia di Venaria Reale
  • Castello di Govone
  • Biblioteca Reale
  • Villa della Regina
  • Facciata del Teatro Regio
  • Palazzo Carignano

GOLF TIP: Royal Park I Roveri G.C. – Rotta Cerbiatta, 24, 10070, Fiano (TO)

The original course was built in 1971 by architect Robert Trent Jones Senior. Born June 20, 1906, Jones designed (or redesigned) about 500 golf courses worldwide. It was said jokingly: “The sun never sets on a Robert Trent Jones golf course”.

The courses designed by Jones are famous for landscape art, the innovative use of bunkers, the widespread use of water hazards and the skilful arrangement of greens and obstacles to encourage careful game strategy. In his view golf had to be without risks: a sport without rewards: his design encourages bold play.

In recent years the course has been extended by a further 18 holes whose design was entrusted to Michael Hurdzan.

Hurdzan is internationally recognized as an authority in the development of golf courses. He was the president of the American Association of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA), he studied turf management at the University of Ohio, obtained a master’s degree in landscape architecture and a doctorate in physiology of landscape plants.

In 1996 he was awarded the title of architect of the year by Golf World Magazine

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Royal Park I Roveri G.C.

Royal Park I Roveri G.C.


3. Torino, Italy’s Intellectual’s Home

As already mentioned, the Savoys are one of the oldest and most important dynasties in Europe, with a traceable legacy up to the tenth century. They have greatly influenced the history of the former Italian capital, but Turin is also much more, let’s see together some experiences and special points of interest, without ever falling into ordinary stuff!

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Turin city center

Manuel Reinhard /> Turin city center

The Balon, the flea market – Old, Vintage and Antiques

The Porta Palazzo Flea Market, more commonly known in Turin as Balon, is the most historic and famous flea market in the city, founded in 1857.

The market hosts more than 300 between exhibitors and stores, and the number increases a lot if you happen to be around in the second week of the month, during the Gran Balon! If you’re a fan of markets, antique furniture, clothes, vinyl and bits and bobs, this is definitely the place to be! In addition, the market is located in one of the most beautiful districts of Turin: Porta Palazzo. An area less known to tourists, you can find precious hidden corners and cheap trattorias, but that have nothing to envy to any other! Pro tip: in the heart of the Balon, you can also get on a hot air balloon and admire the city from 150 meters high!

 

Address:

Via Borgo Dora – Via Lanino – Via Mameli – Via Canale Molassi, 10152 Turin

Balon Timetables:

Saturday from 7.00AM to 7.00PM

Gran Balon Timetables:

Every second Sunday of the month, from 7.00AM to 7.00PM

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Moka stand at Balon.

Moka stand at Balon. / Photo by MaxDeVa / CC BY-ND 2.0

Monte dei Cappuccini and Basilica di Superga- A beautiful photo served on a silver platter

If you are passionate about photography, you cannot avoid looking for some shots from the Monte dei Cappuccini, a hill 283 meters above sea level that rises in the city of Turin. Already used in Roman times as garrison to defend the city, the name of the hill derives from the presence of a convent and the adjoining baroque church of Santa Maria al Monte, entrusted, indeed, to the Cappuccini (Capuchin) friars.

From here, you will have the opportunity to admire Turin from a raised position, and the walk (we suggest to equip yourself with suitable shoes), will make you feel less guilty of having eaten one of the specialty of the area: agnolotti with lard!

If you are not satisfied with the angle, you can try again from the wonderful Basilica of Superga by Filippo Juvarra, finished building in 1731. We encourage you to discover more about this unmissable stage for Italian and world art, the scene of many events, including tragic ones, such as the crash of the Turin football team plane in 1949, in which all the players who traveled on the plane lost their lives.

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Monte dei Cappuccini view from Murazzi neighbourhood.

Monte dei Cappuccini view from Murazzi neighborhood. / Photo by HieuMarco / CC BY-SA 4.0

Green Pea – A brand new project by Oscar Farinetti

Oscar Farinetti is nothing less than the founder of the famous chain Eataly, a brand known throughout the world as synonymous with Italian culinary excellence. After leaving his creation to his children, the entrepreneur launches his new project based in Turin: Green Pea, a shop dedicated to eco-friendly clothing and furnishings. This superstore of sustainability is closely related to the concept behind Eataly: eco-compatibility and respect for the environment. Soon, you will find organic cosmetics, furniture produced without the use of synthetic glues, ecological means of transport, eco-friendly fabrics and much, much more. The work on the 4-storey building, which of course has total energy sustainability and an ultra-modern concept, will be completed in 2020. We are looking forward to finding out what it will be!

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Green Pea building rendering

In attesa di conferma d’utilizzo / Photo by J. John / CC BY 2.0

GOLF TIP: Torino La Mandria G.C. – Via Agnelli, 40, 10070, Fiano (TO)

Comment read on the Peugeot Golf Guide

This is the elderly neighbour to “I Roveri”, a 36 hole resort the most challenging section of which is the “Percorso Blu”. With very respectable yardage, it was designed by John Morrison and underwent a number of more recent changes under the supervision of Graham Cooke. Age-old trees are almost everywhere but the fairways are wide enough to avoid any risk of claustrophobia. The greens are well defended by bunkers on a course that has classic British characters. A few stretches of water have been cleverly brought into play, but here again it is always possible to make up for your mistakes. In all, this gives an easily walk-able, very pleasant and well-landscaped course that is demanding enough for low-handicap golfers and not too tough for high-handicappers. The other course, the “Percorso giallo” is more or less the same sort of layout only with more water in play and presents an excellent additional layout on this very well maintained site.

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Torino La Mandria G.C.

Torino La Mandria G.C.


4. The Langhe, a smoothing landscape

The fact that Piedmont has nothing to envy to Tuscany, and indeed resembles it, is witnessed by the Langhe, Piedmont’s historic region between the provinces of Cuneo and Asti. It is a hilly area engraved by the course of the rivers Tanaro and Bormida. Like many other points of interest in Piedmont, this territory has been assigned to the UNESCO list in 2014.

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Langhe aerial view.

Langhe aerial view. / Photo by L. Terzaroli / CC BY 2.0

Ancient villages, an Italian classic

Italy makes ancient towns one of its strongest points. They are present throughout Italy and in all its regions. Of course, Piedmont is no exception: in the Langhe you can find villages of medieval origin, survived the time thanks to their beauty, which attracts thousands of Italian tourists and not to explore their squares, restaurants and streets.

The villages of the Langhe can boast the Orange Flag TCI, the recognition that the Italian Touring Club assigns to small villages in the hinterland that stand out for their quality tourist-environment. The most beautiful villages are: Barolo, Grinzane Cavour, La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, Cherasco, Neive, Bergolo and Bene Vagienna.

Each village has its own typical culinary specialty: the Basin di Madama Racchia from Bene Vagienna (sweet pastry), the chocolate candies of Cherasco, the hazelnuts (and cake!) of Bergolo, the Barbaresco Docg wine of Neive and of course you can not help but taste the Barolo Docg in Barolo!

Every other village has its own specialties, but to list them all would not be enough an article! Do not hesitate to ask us if you have any curiosity!

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Grinzane Cavour village and castle, with Barolo vineyards and Alps

Grinzane Cavour village and castle, with Barolo vineyards and Alps. / Photo by Doyouwine / CC BY-SA 2.0

Ready, Stretch, Go! Lose yourself in nature

We strongly suggest you to organize walks or bike rides in the Langhe: The hilly areas offer wonderful 360° panoramic views and you will also have the opportunity to visit small medieval villages typical of Piedmont. The Langhe are mainly divided into 4 areas: Alta Langa (pre-mountain environments rich in flora and fauna), Bassa Langa (the “classic” version of the Langhe, with vineyards, hazelnut groves, villages and villages perched on the hills), Roero (characterized by the Rocche, wild rocky formations) and Monferrato (A vast territory, rustic and less crowded, with large forests and vineyards).

The thematic itineraries are many and with different points of interest, let us know which inspire you most and we will integrate them into your golf package!

The Langhe Alba Truffle, another kind of tour!

One of the most appreciated qualities of Italian truffles is certainly the one coming from the hills surrounding Alba on the Langhe. Alba boasts the oldest truffle market and the highest quality of the product, which still determines the high price. Already at the beginning of the 18th century, Alba’s truffle was renowned in all European courts and even used as a diplomatic gift. In the middle of the twentieth century Giacomo Morra, hotelier and restaurateur from Alba, coined the name “Alba Truffle” and started the tradition of sending the biggest truffle of the season to people of world-wide importance (he was the first to give it to the actress Rita Haywort). Also thanks to this “word of mouth”, the Alba truffle is renowned throughout the world. If you are interested in taking a tour or even becoming a trifolao (the one who collects the truffles) yourself, we will be more than happy to help you organize the challenge!

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - A white truffle from Alba

A white truffle from Alba. / Photo by Blue Moon / CC BY 2.0

GOLF TIP: Feudo d’Asti G.C. – Località Mombarone, 160, 14100, Asti (AT)

In the heart of the Monferrato hills in the area that houses the most famous vineyards in the world is the golf course “Feudo di Asti”, located just few minutes from Asti downtown and placed in a wonderful unique landscape. A pleasant sense of solemnity cloaked these places and introduces the new eighteen-holes that embrace the Valdeperno estate with the eighteenth-century patrician villa, valued by one of the most choreographic  garden of the Asti area.

Side elevation overlooking the splendid eighteenth-century villa and looking over his old village, lies the heart of the club: the club house.

Furnished with elegant simplicity, the club house comes with a new essential building and practice centering on a single plan.

A spacious and functional open space that houses a large hall with the secretariat and the proshop at the entrance, changing rooms and offices, bar, restaurant and a relaxation area with satellite TV projection of world sports results.

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Feudo d'Asti G.C.

Feudo d’Asti G.C.

5. Piedmontese Cuisine – Wine and much more

Like every Italian region, Piedmont offers unique delicacies! Piedmont is one of the regions that offers an enormous quantity and quality of raw materials, as we have already read for the Alba truffle. Let’s explore together what are the wines and recipes that make this region excellent.

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Fruits and colours of the garden.

Fruits and colours of the garden. / Photo by F. Zanone / CC BY-SA 2.0

Barolo Piemontese – A worthy adversary of Tuscan wines!

Piedmont has always been at the forefront of wine production along with many other Italian regions such as Tuscany in the first place, Veneto, Umbria, Puglia and Sicily. In fact, in Italy there are 405 wines between DOC and DOCG!

However, Piedmontese products have undergone an exponential growth compared to their “competitors”, resulting to be among the most appreciated this year: Coldiretti (the Italian National Confederation of Direct Farmers), which is the largest association of representation and assistance of Italian agriculture, recently announced that the protagonist of this year is the Piedmontese Barolo, with a value that exceeds 2.5 million euros per hectare, more than the value of a Caribbean island! (source)

We recommend that you try this fantastic product in one of the oldest wineries in Piedmont, a few minutes drive from the Cherasco Golf Club: Le Antiche Cantine dei Marchesi di Barolo, located in Barolo!

We would be more than happy to help you plan this unmissable trip!

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Grinzane Cavour village and castle, with Barolo vineyards and Alps.

Grinzane Cavour village and castle, with Barolo vineyards and Alps. / Photo by Doyouwine / CC BY-SA 2.0

Bagna Càuda – A dish of humble origins

It is perhaps the most famous Piedmontese speciality in Italy, typical of the provinces of Astesana, Langhe, Roero and Monferrato: south of Turin. Like many famous Italian dishes, at the beginning it was despised for centuries by the aristocratic ranks, now it represents a convivial rite and is the symbol of Piedmont.

Literally “hot sauce”, the dish is a preparation based on chopped garlic and desalted anchovies and their subsequent cooking over low heat in extra virgin olive oil, reducing everything to sauce. It is eaten by dipping various types of seasonal vegetables usually divided between raw and cooked. Being a typical dish of the harvest period, so during the autumn and winter, we recommend to consume it with good full-bodied red wine, such as Barbera, Nebbiolo or Barbaresco.

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Bagna Càuda with grilled bread.

Bagna Càuda with grilled bread. / Photo by L.A. Foodie / CC BY 2.0

Agnolòt dël Plin – A Masterpiece in miniature

The plin, or agnolotti piemontesi, are a tradition, an UNAVOIDABLE dish on the table of every Piedmontese during the holidays. The history of Piedmont is strongly intertwined with that of France, in fact the history of agnolotti del plin date back to a recipe of a French chef and Turin by adoption: Francesco Chapusot, chef of the ambassador of England at the court of Savoy in Turin between 1841 and 1851. The Piedmont variant of this very small ravioli originated in the Langhe, and the name comes from the Italian word “pizzicotto”, which means pinch. The secret of this dish is a very complicated process: a thin sheet of pasta, combined with a filling of roast veal, roast pork, Grana Padano cheese, red wine, egg, vegetable broth, onion, spinach, extra virgin olive oil, rosemary, nutmeg, salt, pepper. A dish that warms your heart.

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Fresh Agnolotti.

Fresh Agnolotti. / Photo by Popo le Chien / CC0 1.0

GOLF TIP: Cherasco G.C. – Via Fraschetta, 8, 12062, Asti (CN)

This 18-hole course, designed by Marco Croze, runs on two floors elevation that give the dual aspect of hills and plains.

Numerous lakes and streams make the holes more scenic and challenging. There are more than 5,000 trees: pines, maples, hornbeams and oaks. The course is very challenging with some par 3s and 4s that are decidedly long and well-defended

Suggestive, but not impossible, this course is suitable for all types of players.

Golf in Piedmont 2020 - Cherasco G.C.

Cherasco G.C.

 


As in the guide to Tuscany, this article is only the first part of a series of guides to what we believe to be the points of interest not to be missed when you visit Piedmont, I hope to have captured your attention and aroused your curiosity!

See you soon for the second part!

Have a good game!

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