Finding new and charming incentive destinations in Italy is easy: every region and province has endless gems to offer, both popular and hidden. We have been exploring the many wonders of Piedmont recently, planning incentive gifts for our clients, and we discovered beautiful attractions that will please the casual, first-time visitor as well as the seasoned traveller. Piedmont is as rich natural wonders as it is in art, history and culture. Majestic mountains with shimmering lakes, magnificent castles and fortresses, local legends and folklore that make Piedmont one of the most mysterious and fascinating regions in Europe. While most tourists choose to visit Turin, we try to plan travel incentives for our clients looking at a wider range of options. Piedmont offers a variety of unique sights and experiences that will leave you looking at art, history and nature with new eyes.
3 reasons to visit Piedmont this year
1. Visit the most haunted castle in Italy
Piedmont is a favourite destination of those who are fascinated by all things occult and mysterious. The Moncalieri Castle in particular is famous for being one of the most haunted places in the world. The original building dates back to the Longobard domination of the region, in the IV Century, but it was later taken over by the Knights of Malta and then, in the XVI Century, by the Savoy family. This castle saw hundreds of battles and some gruesome family feuds, including the imprisoning of the king of Sardinia, Victor Amadeus II, by his son. By the early XX Century, the castle had fallen into disrepair. It was bought in the 70s by the current owner and restored. Over the years the Moncalieri Castle has risen to a new fame due to the number of alleged ghost sightings in or around it. One of the most colourful legends that have developed around these purported paranormal events involves the ghost of a knight, roaming the castle on horseback. According to one version of the legend, the knight joined the crusades when his beloved, who was the daughter of the local marquis, was thrown off the tower for refusing to marry the man that her father had picked for her. A recent archaeological expedition has unearthed a burial ground, probably containing the remains of the casualties of several battles. Among them was a knight, buried with his horse and wearing an iron cross around his neck. The local folklore thrives on the alleged sightings of many other ghosts: friars, nuns, soldiers, noblemen, maidens, priests, children and knights. In the night between the 12th and 13th of June, the ghosts are said to roam the village in a grim procession. Every year, hundreds of visitors flock to the town from all over the world, hoping to catch a glimpse of one of the castle ghosts.
Relax in the Langhe
There are many reasons to visit this hilly subregion of Piedmont. In winter, this is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders, while the Maritime Alps Nature Park draws hikers and nature lovers all year round. The Langhe are also famous for their superb wine production: names such as Alba, Barolo and Barbaresco are part of the vocabulary of every wine-lover. The name of Alba will also be known to the most refined gourmands for its famed white truffle. Thousands of visitors search the local woodland for its treasures every year. The local scenery is a symphony of pleasant hills, covered in vineyards and dotted with ancient villages, each with its own feudal castle – or remains thereof. Autumn is probably the best time to visit it, as most of this area’s culinary tradition revolves around products that are at their best during this season. When we plan travel incentives in this region, we always make sure to schedule a few stops at some of the local restaurants and wineries, particularly those who uphold the traditional values of the local cuisine. If you visit the Langhe, we warmly recommend you book at least one wine-tasting experience: there is no better way of getting to know this region’s culture and history than through the gorgeous variety of its food and wine.
Join the Battle of the Oranges in Ivrea
Carnival is an important and often deeply felt celebration in Italy and many cities have their own tradition – the Venetian one being the most famous internationally. One of the most peculiar is to be found in the city of Ivrea, near Turin. The local carnival celebration reaches its apex in an unusual sporting match, whose origins are unclear. Eight local teams, each connected to a city neighbourhood, throw oranges at each other for the whole feast. The best “orange snipers” stand on roofs and balconies or roam the city on horse-drawn carriages, wearing masks, while others join the fight on foot and showing their faces. Some trace this tradition back to a medieval custom. Once a year, on a religious feast, the feudal lords would give the peasants free use of their ovens to bake bread and gave each family a pot of beans. Those on the receiving end of such handouts, however, found them insulting, as they were supposed to compensate for a whole year of oppression and poverty. Discontent mounted, until one year the peasants threw the beans out in the streets as a protest. The oranges of the modern tradition are said to represent the beans, while the two factions of throwers (those standing on balconies and chariots versus those roaming the streets on foot), are said to represent respectively the feudal lords and the protesting peasants.