Meandering Through The Langhe
La Morra, Barolo and Grinzane Cavour
by Claire Gale
Hidden away in the hills of Northern Italy is a region relatively untouched by tourists, but frequented by wine buffs. Before coming to Piedmont I knew nothing of the region, but what I discovered was a side to Italy I didn’t know existed, and that will linger with me like a good wine in my cellar.
Discover The Langhe in Piedmont Italy
The Langhe is famous for its wine, cheese and truffles and in June 2014 was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, along with the vineyards of the area and the stunning Grinzane Cavour castle. Just 50 km from Turin, the Langhe is perfect for a leisurely day trip in the countryside (or definitely longer depending how much time you have and how much Barolo you drink!).
Places To Visit In The Langhe
Strategically positioned high in the Langhe hills, La Morra is the perfect place to start any tour of the region. Hire a car or Vespa and pick your way through the rapture of the city to the scenic country roads and vineyards perfectly positioned to absorb the best of the Italian sunshine.
As you wind into La Morra, find a shady spot to park before taking the short walk through the delicate streets passing shaded courtyards and iconic Vespas, to the stunning view that awaits at the Piazza Castello – a panorama of the Langhe below.
The castle of Piazza Castello is long gone – a victim of war – but a bell tower now stands in its place neighboured by restaurants and bars for brunch with a panoramic view. Once you’ve drunk in the view it’s time to devour the local produce, including sublime cheeses and of course truffles, washed down with a cooling Arneis or a rich Barolo. Be sure to save room for Moscato flavoured gelato as you head back down the hill!
A short but steep drive from La Morra leads you on to the wine enthusiast haven of Barolo, where a patch of land capable of cultivating the famous Nebbiolo grapes would set you back millions. A bottle of wine starts from around £20/€28 and goes up from there.
The tiny village is a picture postcard of gorgeously dressed balconies and terracotta buildings which make the streets glow with a rosy hue. Take time to sip a red whilst you absorb the atmosphere, then take in the sights of the eccentric WiMu Barolo museum, which is (in its own words) “Not a place where you learn how wine is made, but a place for talking about the relationship between “us” and “it”.”
And it’s a very strong relationship. Barolo wines are called “The King of Wines” and the grapes are so precious that, at the slightest hint of a hail storm, thunderous bangs can be heard across the hilltops as hail cannons attempt to “blast” the hail away. If you can’t stretch to a full bottle of this world famous wine, make a point of visiting the museum shop, where you can taste a range of wines by the sip.
Round off the day with some much needed history at Grinzane Cavour. Perched on a hill surrounded by vineyards, this 13th Century castle is the historic home of reformist and first Prime Minister of a united Italy, Camillo Benso, the Count of Cavour.
The imposing castle stands tall and square above the village below, the shape and turrets reminiscent of the Tower of London without the ravens. Instead of ravens, swifts dart across the early evening skies, a tractor rumbles in the distance and the church bell chimes.
After walking the castle grounds for the 360 degree views, delve inside for a history of Cavour’s restoration of the UNESCO site and vineyards of Barolo, a room dedicated to wine, and a fantastically stocked enoteca with plenty of local produce for the ride home.
The Langhe is a stunning part of Italy with so much to offer in terms of history, culture and the wonderful food and wine produced here. It will show you a new side of the country capable of making you fall in love with Italy all over again. There are so many things to see and do in the Langhe and the rest of the Piedmont region. Use this free Piedmont trip planner for further inspiration and to plan your trip.
About Claire, the author of Meandering Through the Langhe:
Claire is a travel lover and enthusiast of all things Italian currently living in the south of England. She writes about her trips and adventures at
Featured photo by Frukko; all other photos by Claire Gale
[…] the capital of the Langhe and at the heart of the wine country, is also home to the pricey and pungent delicacy, the white […]