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Milano, Barolo, Truffles and the Italian Lakes

Temptations of the Piedmont Region


Our time in Piemonte (from “piede” (foot) + “monte” (mountain)) is a study in contrasts. We’ll live for 3 days on Lake Orta, a shining jewel at the base of the Alps. Then we descend through dreamy rolling hills to the mysteriously-named “Langhe and Roero” in southern Piedmont. Here our focus will be the rich wine and food traditions, with autumn being the ideal time to visit. Highlights include:

  • Excursions with our private guide to Lake Maggiore’s most beautiful isles and gardens, plus free time to discover tiny Lake Orta
  • Choices: “The Kitchen Experience” with the team of a double Michelin-starred chef, followed by lunch;
  • Alba, famous for its prized white truffle (we’ll be there with the Italians at the 85th Alba International White Truffle Festival)
  • Chances to taste and discern the differences among Barolo, Barberesco, and Barbera wines, which all originated in this part of Piemonte; we will visit producers known for their superb expressions of the native grapes
  • Two boutique Relais & Chateau hotels!

“Traveling with Adagio is like being part of a moving house party … fun people, fantastic insider places, spontaneity, and great food and wine from dawn to dusk. It’s the quintessential ‘untour’ – all the beauty and excitement of visiting Italy with none of the logistical hassles.  You don’t want to miss this!”


Day 1 (Tuesday): The Last Supper; Revel in Luxury by the Lake

After breakfast, enjoy a private walking tour of Milan’s highlights this morning, including a visit to Leonardo’s masterpiece, The Last Supper. Time to grab a quick bite before hopping into our van for the one-hour ride north to picture perfect Lake Orta. Here our Relais & Chateaux villa awaits us. Appreciate the beautiful villa surroundings, explore the little local town just a 20-minute stroll downhill, and prepare for a 2-star Michelin dinner at Chef Antonino’s restaurant in our villa. D with wine

Lodging for the next 3 nights: Relais & Chateaux Villa Crespi

Day 2 (Wednesday): Adagio’s Favorite Italian Lake; the Michelin Kitchen Experience

This morning half of our group (Chef takes a maximum of 6 per lesson) will spend two enchanting hours with the talented team of our Villa’s 2-star Michelin chef Antonino. His charming and handsome sous-chef shares curious facts and anecdotes from his years of experience and creates an exquisite lunch just for us. Those who want to just relax, try the Tibetan Bell experience, or have a massage (additional services to be booked separately) can join us for lunch without having to cook a thing.

The other half of the group will departafter the rich breakfast buffet for the town of Stresa. A jewel on Lake Maggiore, Stresa is also the main point of departure for Isola Bella (where our local guide will show us the beautiful Palazzo Borromeo and its gardens). After that we hop over to Isola dei Pescatori (Fisherman’s Isle), where we have time to stroll through the mesmerizing alleys and enjoy a lakeside lunch on our own. Back to Villa Crespi in time to rest up for dinner in town at charming Locanda d’Orta. B, L (for Cooking Experience participants), D with wine

Day 3 (Thursday): Switchback

Today we’ll switch places – half of us will enjoy the Cooking Experience, while the rest of the group will sojourn to Lake Maggiore and the Borromeo Isles. Dinner tonight on your own at one of the lakeside village’s charming restaurants. B, L (for Cooking Experience participants)

Day 4 (Friday): Heading South to Truffle-land

After breakfast we’ll stop to shop at the wonderful  Loro Piana Cashmere Outlet), just ½ hour from Villa Crespi, before continuing on a scenic 2-hour drive south through the region. Stop along the way for a light lunch, introducing us to some of the southern Piedmont’s gastronomic specialties. Evening finds us lodging in a 5-star spa resort, nestled in vine-covered hills. We have free access to their beautiful spa, or you may book from their plethora of amazing spa treatments (not included). We’ll hop over to the fun streets of Alba around 6pm, in time to take in the main boutiques and enjoy a nice dinner on our own. B, L with a glass of wine

Lodging for the next 3 nights: Relais San Maurizio (a Relais & Chateaux property)

Day 5 (Saturday): Truffles (hunting and festival), WiMu, Hanging With a Vintner

Early departure for those who want to accompany a real truffle hunter and his dogs on this very typical adventure. Back for a late breakfast, then a little more time to enjoy the superb Relais San Maurizio (book spa treatments in advance please). We will transfer to a cute local town in early afternoon, with time for lunch on your own before moving on to the town of Barolo and a wine museum that’s like nothing you can imagine. Descend five floors of the imposing 15th century Castello Faletti, on a sensory journey that spans wine-making from its beginnings through present-day debates about “old” versus “new” -world methods. Designed by the Swiss-born Francois Confino, and located in the picturesque town of Barolo, WiMu provides an unforgettable multisensory take on the culture of wine.

Late afternoon  transfer to the “studio” of Natale, a passionate wine-maker who has spent much time in France, and who bucks some of the local traditions with wonderful results. Natale will share with us the variety of very interesting wines he produces (deeply connected with the territory, yet daringly creative), then he’ll host us for an intimate dinner right in his studio. B, D with wine and truffles

Day 6 (Sunday): Squisito specialties in the kitchen; Barbera? Barbaresco? Barolo? And, THREE Michelin stars!

Take your time with breakfast and get most of your packing done this morning because we have a full day! We’ll leave around 10am for a scenic local venue, where we’ll learn the secrets behind one of the region’s typical pasta recipes, like ravioli del plin or tajarin. After lunch, we’ll return to the hotel for a final riposo (siesta) and to finish packing. We’ll take aperitifs at the Monsordo-Bernardina Ceretto estate. Located in a 19th-century farmstead on the outskirts of Alba, this location fully reflects the Ceretto family’s technique, always hovering between tradition and innovation. Guests will taste Ceretto wines and view the picturesque, hillside vineyards of the Langhe – simultaneously savoring wine and scenery.

Finally, Sommelier Andrea will escort us through the 85th Alba International Truffle Festival this evening before dinner! Filled with Italian gastronomes, the festival is a truly unique experience. Our final dinner is another stunning 3-star Michelin experience right in the heart of Alba. Il Duomo is the area’s most famous restaurant and is owned by the Ceretto family, whose winery we visited today. Our tasting menu, with wines paired to each course, is the perfect end to a perfect trip! ! B, L with wine, D with wine and truffles

Day 7 (Monday): Transfer after breakfast to Milan’s Malpensa airport. Note that flight departures should be arranged at noon or later on Day 7.  B

Where shall we go next year….?! B

*B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner provided