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May 28, 2012 10:00 AM

Month in Northern Italy

My husband and I are flying into and out of Milan 12/25 - 1/20 and are looking for wine and restaurant and cool things to do suggestions. Places to stay, as well. I'm the President of a Winery and live in Napa; Hubby is a trained chef but, an engineer by trade. Want to stay in the North since we have visited Tuscany and the Middle and South several times before. We love Amarone, Barolo and Barbaressca wines..

Any words of wisdom?


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  1. Wrong time to be going to Piemonte. A lot of places close for the month of January. Plus, it is often very raw and cold; not Napa weather

    NB it is barbaresco

    3 Replies
    1. re: allende

      No choice on the time to go -- nothing is open during Jan?? Ouch

      1. re: karendfw

        I think you can have a wonderful time in the cities of Northern Italy during your time frame if you are willing to dress for it -- and that means long underwear and long coats plus boots. Were it me, I would go to Torino, Milano and Verona for sure.

        Quite a few countryside places and certainly all ski destinations (some of which have highly-regarded food around the Dolomiti) will be open during the Christmas season (which lasts until Jan 6), so if you have a feeling for going to the countryside, put it at the front of your trip, and put the cities after the Christmas holidays.

        Last year saw significant freezing and record snow throughout Italy, and certainly northern Italy was quite hard hit. I suggest you not plan any kind of driving tour (you can get to ski areas with dedicated public transportation that runs in ski season). Trains plus taxis can get you to many interesting smaller towns and places just outside them in the country.

        It is true all over Italy that many restauranteurs close up for a rest in January. You might as well be in Northern Italy as any place else in Italy. Get some excellent food and wine guides and start planning.

        1. re: barberinibee

          With your love of Amarone, a visit to the Valpolicella (near Verona) region would be wonderful. If my memory serves me this might be about the time of production as the grapes might be done drying by then. We stayed at a lovely azienda agricola called Corteforte, which is also a winery, and they have a restaurant on site which we were very impressed with called Enoteca della Valpolicella. The entire area is stunning, and easily accessible by car. Wine tasting through the area was fairly straightforward in some cases, in others a phone call booking was needed. We tasted some amazing Amarone, Ripasso, Recioto and Valpolicella.

    2. I would go to the upper right-hand corner of this page and do searches for Piemonte, Alba, Asti, Turin, Torino, etc. You will find many helpful suggestions of places to visit. I would also consider a visit to Venice, which is remarkably uncrowded in the winter months.

      1. Last year we stayed in Asolo for 3 days and at a winery outside of Cormons for 3 days and had a wonderful time. One of the days in Asolo we drove to Amarone area and tasted at Masi and another winery (name escapes me right now). We loved our rooms at Russiz Superiore near Cormons (new building and separate from the winery). And the food and wine in that region were fantastic (best spek I have had to date). If you are there for nearly a month, it would be easy to fit in with some time in Piemonte. Let me know if you would like more specific info - I am still working on my trip report.