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Mar 18, 2013 03:11 AM

Best time to visit Asti for a day, weekend or weekday?

Seeking guidance on best time to visit Asti for a day, weekend or weekday? Also, any good baby friendly restaurant for lunch? Any recommendation on what not to miss in Asti? Thank you.

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  1. Just as a general response to your several queries, you might want to spend some time with a book like Fred Plotkin's Italy for the Gourmet Traveler to get an overall of sense of Italian restaurant eating customs and regional specialties.

    Most Italian towns close up fairly tight during the day for a long lunch break (roughly 12.30-4.00) and become extremely quiet on Sundays, with most everything except high end restaurants closed. From Mon thru Sat, shops re-open after 4pm and stay open until 7.30pm -- although almost every Italian town has one weekday afternoon where all shops close. (Don't know which day that might be for Asti.)

    Most restaurants in Italy, even modest ones, serve a multi-course lunch that is an unhurried experience, and almost no restaurant will serve you dinner before 8pm -- and it is again an unhurried, multi-course affair.

    I see that you are traveling with a very small child, and if these hours and the elaborate nature of the meals are going to pose problems for you, then it helps to develop some strategies for locating eateries that serve simpler meals (enoteche, pizzerie, etc) if you are not staying where there is a kitchen or restaurant on site. You might also want to familiarize yourself with the regional menus and names of dishes, since you cannot count of finding English menus and English speakers everywhere.

    Generally speaking, Italians are happy to have small children dining with them in restaurants, even slightly fancy ones, but traveling parents often report a dearth of high chairs.

    1. My recollection is Asti has a pretty good outdoor market on Saturday mornings. If you like markets, it certainly makes visiting on a Saturday worthwhile.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DavidT

        According to the WikiTravel page for Asti, the general market there is on Wednesdays & Saturdays.

      2. It would be nice for you to find some accomodations (like an agriturismo or country hotel) where you could put your baby down for the night and have a relaxed dinner.

        Italians like babies and fuss over them, but there is not a "baby-friendly" restaurant culture like say in my neighborhood (Park Slope Brooklyn) where people take their little kids out to restaurants - in Italy, the only restaurants where I have seen babies, pretty much, is simple quick pizzerie, tavola calda or very casual neighborhood places with outdoor space or a lot of space to spread out. Like BB says, the restaurant meals are paced in a leisurely way - you will not be able to get in and out quickly to faciliatate a short attention span

        1 Reply
        1. re: jen kalb

          I've been travelling to Italy with my kids since the eldest was a toddler, and I definitely agree with Jen. You said "baby" without mentioning age, so you may actually have more leeway if you have an infant rather than a toddler, keeping in mind of course that sleep schedules will be disrupted by overseas travel. We always rented apartments, as we found the dining hours too late for our kids, so we had lunch out and dinner at "home." I usually cooked, but take-out opportunites generally abound, which I think is a holdover from the not-too-distant days when most people did not have an oven at home. I can't speak to Asti specifically, as I haven't been there yet, but Piemonte is of course known for its lengthy proliferation of appetizers before the real eating begins.

        2. Thank you everybody. I have 10 month old boy. We will be renting an apartment in Turin and take the train to Asti for one day. Looks like its going to be a pizzeria for lunch which I do not have aproblem with. Any recommendation for places to eat for lunch in Asti?