Piemonte and Tuscany
I am sorry about posting on such short notice, and for being a new poster at that.
I am currently working harvest in the Franciacorta region, once I complete my obligation. I am going to be in Tuscany from September 26 through September 30 and in Piemonte from October 8 through October 16. In both cases I will have a car.
As my name suggests, I am all about the wine. I am currently working on wineries to visit, but what I realized I neglected in all of this was lodgings and food!
I have been able to glean several good to excellent places to eat in Piemonte.. I would love to hear any updated restaurants..
Of utmost importance is lodging... I have yet to make any reservations.. I know, I know.. Not good. I am hoping for any recommendations, I am not looking to break the bank. I much rather spend my money and food and wine then on lodging.. As long as the sheets are clean and the water warm!
“Osterie & Locande d’Italia” by the Slow Food Editore (it’s in English) has excellent recommendations for both food and lodging. I have never been disappointed in either. It includes extensive descriptions so you know what you’re getting. The tourist office in Alba (Piemonte) is outstanding; the girls know what is open and even will call to make your reservation. Unless October is unusually busy for some reason, you will have no trouble finding great food and good accommodations. For several years now, my wife and I have toured Northern Italy by car without any reservations. There seem to be nice, new hotels, which we might call motels, just outside the towns of any size on the major roads with good parking and very reasonable prices. Late one rainy night in early March, we landed in one a few miles east of Beilla (Piemonte) past a string of outlet stores. We ate in the hotel as it was late and we really didn’t know where we were. It was one of the best meals of the trip. We had bruschetta, amatriciana, thin-sliced veal on radicchio, osso buco, an apple/pear tart with gelato and an excellent bottle of 2005 Rocche Costamagna, Langhe Nebbiolo, “Roccardo”, all for €55. The next morning I picked up a brochure at the desk that led us to the regional Enoteca Gattinara. Our lovely hostess immediately opened 3 bottles for free tasting, gave us the full history of the area and I left with a bottle of 2001 Travaglini, Gattinara, Reserva. Bouncing around Northern Italy is so much fun with food, wine and people to meet, all wonderful.
Head directly to the Langhe region for some of the most spectacular food and certainly the best wine Italy has to offer. there are lots of places to stay in a variety of budgets, tons of fabulous place to eat (my favorite places are osteria dell'arco in alba and la stazione in santo stefano belbo). you will be up there at the perfect time-lots of sagre celebrating the harvesting of seasonal fruits and veggies, especially grapes! for more on the langhe, pick up the new "time out italy-places to sleep eat and explore". i wrote the langhe chapter and the info in there is all up to date. you should be able to find it in an english language bookshop in milan or any major city (not sure about the small towns in franciacorta). enjoy!