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A Romantic Weekend in the Langhe: What to See and Where to Eat in the Hills

You’re thinking about spending a weekend outside the city, but don’t want to venture too far from Milan? An hour and a half away from the city are the Langhe hills, a beautiful and green area that is still rather unknown but well worth a visit. I spent a magical long weekend in the area between wine, visits to cellars, great cuisine and lush green hills.

Here are my favourite places!

WHAT TO VISIT AND WHERE TO EAT IN THE LANGHE

* NEIVE. One of the villages I enjoyed the most is without a doubt Neive, a lovely little village with cobbled streets and stunning sights. Here I had lunch at a rather characteristic restaurant, L’Aromatorio, where traditional cuisine is given an innovative twist (average price, 25 euros). If you’re in this area, don’t miss a visit to the Cantina del Glicine, the oldest still operating in Italy. Here, in addition to enjoying a tour of the underground barrels, you’ll be able to enjoy a free wine tasting after which, should you find wines to your liking, you can purchase a few good bottles.

Langhe What to See

Neive | © Caterina Zanzi

Langhe What to See

Raw Fassone beef at L’Aromatorio | © Caterina Zanzi

* BARBARESCO. After Neive, you can hop over to Barbaresco, one of the most well curated and rich villages in the area. Here, aside from walking through the little streets, you can climb up to the Torre di Barbaresco from which you can enjoy a stunning panorama of lush green hills and the Tanaro river. One of the nicest cellars you can visit is Gaja, a real institution of Italy. In this area I dined at La Ciau del Tornavento: humble ambiance, not so impeccable service, decent food, a super cellar (average price, 100 euros): I preferred the trattorias!

Langhe What to see

The view from the Torre di Barbaresco | © Caterina Zanzi

* BAROLO. Also very characteristic (although, in my opinion, less so than the others), Barolo is a nice village which houses the Museo del Cavatappi and different wine cellars. I visited the Marchesi di Barolo one, which is on a whole other dimension that the Glicine one but just as characteristic. Here too you can enjoy some special wine after your visit. For lunch we stopped at La Cantinetta along via Roma, which was alright (average price, 30 euros). In the area, you can stop by the Cappella del Barolo, a very colourful construction reinterpreted by artists Sol LeWitt and David Tremlett and one of the many gigantic benches that will make you feel tiny!

Langhe What to see

A glimpse of the Marchesi di Barolo cellar | © Caterina Zanzi

Langhe What to see

Cappella del Barolo | © Caterina Zanzi

Langhe What to see

One of the giant benches “Panchine Giganti” | © Caterina Zanzi

* LA MORRA. Perched on a hill overlooking the valley, La Morra offers a splendid view from its Belvedere and my advice is to reach the top of the Torre Campanaria to enjoy an even greater experience!

Langhe What to see

The view from the Belvedere di La Morra | © Caterina Zanzi

* GRINZANE-CAVOUR CASTLE. Even though I have a degree in History, I had completely forgotten that before uniting Italy, Camillo Benso di Cavour was the mayor of Grinzane for 17 long years. This castle, asides from being a great place to review your history, offers a regenerating break with its walls and rooms. A visit here is a must: inside you’ll find a wine shop where you can purchase local products and a very renowned restaurant, which I didn’t have a chance to try.

Langhe What to see

The Grinzane-Cavour Castle | © Caterina Zanzi

* SERRALUNGA D’ALBA CASTLE. Although it isn’t as well known as the Grinzane-Cavour castle, the fortress alone is definitely worth the visit: from its roof, the view is beautiful and you can even enjoy a guided tour.

Langhe What to see

The entrance of the Serralunga d’Alba Castle | © Caterina Zanzi

* ALBA. If you’re in the Langhe, a short visit to Alba is a must, foremost to admire the marvellous interiors of its Cathedral and for a gourmet stop. There is no shortage of good restaurants in this little town. Aside from the renowned, three-starred Piazza Duomo by Enrico Crippa (which I’ve already told you about here), I also tried the simple yet delicious Osteria dei Sognatori: strongly suggested (average price, 25 euros)!

* BRA. Another little city you can visit, located a little more towards the north is Bra, with its alleys and atmosphere from the past. Here, a stop at the Osteria del Boccondivino is necessary: Slow Food was born at this restaurant and the cuisine is truly noteworthy.

For lodging during our stay, I chose a design apartment with breathtaking views, the Qb Apartments in Montelupo Albese. These rooms are as big as they are beautiful and have large windows that give you the impression of sleeping directly on the hilltop. A splendid arrangement, although I do suggest bringing an eye mask in case you aren’t used to (or in the mood for) early morning sunlight!

Langhe What to see

Qb Apartments | © Caterina Zanzi

Langhe What to see

Qb Apartments | © Caterina Zanzi

In the area, I dined twice and with much satisfaction at Trattoria in Piazza, a real little gem managed by a nice lady (average price, 30 euros), and at Trattoria nelle Vigne of Diano d’Alba, where the à la carte menu is abolished in favour of a tasting menu (average price, 30 euros) which is truly excellent and represents a good quality-price ratio that is almost unconceivable for those of us from Milan.

Langhe What to see

The ravioli at Trattoria in Piazza | © Caterina Zanzi

As I was unfortunately unable to try all the places you suggested and those I found online, here is a list of places I didn’t try directly, but that were strongly recommended by others:

RESTAURANTS:
– Agriturismo Brusalino (Mango)
– Trattoria del Peso (Belvedere Langhe)
– Osteria Battaglino (Dogliani)
– Il Verso del Ghiottone (Dogliani)
– Agriturismo La Torricella (Monforte d’Alba)
– Le Case della Saracca (Monforte d’Alba)
– Osteria da Gemma (Roddino)
– Il Grecale (Novello)
– Locanda in Cannubi (Barolo)
– Massimo Camia (La Morra)
– Bovio (La Morra)
– L’Osteria del Vignaiolo (La Morra)
– Casa Scaparone (Alba)

WINE CELLARS:
– Pecchenino
– Chionetti
– Einaudi
– Ceretto

Do you have any favourite places in the Langhe area? Comment on social media using the hashtag #APlaceinMilan!

Read the original article on Conosco un Posto. This English version was translated by Kelsey Rivett.

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