Vinum 2014 in Alba

Springtime in Alba starts with Vinum – the event dedicated to new vintages of Langhe and Roero wines like Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera d’Alba, Dolcetto, Langhe Nebbiolo, Alta Langa, Moscato d’Asti that takes place every year at the end of April and at the beginning of May (this time April 25th – May 4th). It’s time when narrow streets of old town fill with tourists and townspeople walking with a glass of wine and main squares transform into islands of wine and local food specialties tastings.

Vinum 2014, Alba, Piedmont, Italy
Palazzo Mostre e Congressi – it’s where most of wine tastings took place

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Sweet Torino

Turin – a city of art, sport and business, but also a real kingdom of sweets. Whenever I walk through the main squares and streets I can’t keep my eyes off beautifully decorated windows of confectionary shops and while drinking cappuccino in one of 19th century traditionally furnished coffee shops I can smell the atmosphere of old Torino.

Pasticceria Stratta, Turin, Piedmont, Italy
sweet beauties

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Golden vehicle

Dripping with gold a royal boat, richly decorated ceremonial carriages looking more like Faberge’ eggs, than vehicles, all these masterpieces are exposed in the scenery of the Reggia of Venaria Reale near Turin. On the occasion of visiting the Baroque residence I watched two interesting exhibitions: Carrozze Regali (Royal Carriages) and La Barca Sublime (The Sublime Boat) which perfectly demonstrate rich and splendor life of the Royal House of Savoy.

The Sublime Boat exhibition, Reggia of Venaria Reale, Turin, Piedmont, Italy
Peota Reale – the Sublime Boat (foto from Consorzio La Venaria Reale)
Royal Carriages exhibition, Reggia of Venaria Reale, Turin, Piedmont, Italy
Carrozze Regali (Royal Carriages) – one of masterpieces

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Piedmont’s Versailles

The Reggia of Venaria Reale. In the past one of many summer residence of the Royal House of Savoy, a place dedicated to pleasure, hunting and a court life. Today it’s a huge complex consisting of a monumental palace, well maintained French formal  gardens and the La Mandria park that covers 6 000 hectares of land and with 30 km of wall it is the biggest Europe fenced park. The Reggia dazzles with splendor and glamour. It’s a perfect example of Baroque style, rich of decorations like frescoes, stuccos  and extraordinary details. The complex attracts with opened spaces and with numerous exhibitions. You can spend your time walking around garden beds or relaxing in one of cafes and bars. The residence  is situated on the border of the borgo Venaria Reale, only 10 km from Turin city centre and 15 km from Turin airport (Torino Caselle).

The Reggia of Venaria Reale, Turin, Piedmont, Italy
the palace from the garden perspective

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CioccolaTo’ – chocolate feast in Turin

Have you ever thought how many shapes and colors can take chocolate? Actually you would be surprised that so many. I saw it for me own eyes during chocolate CioccolaTo’ festival in Turin. From November 22nd to December 1st the capital of Piedmont transformed into a real kingdom of sweets inciting appetite of children and adults. The hart of the event was located in San Carlo square – a spacious arcaded piazza, with beautiful palaces around. In 17th century it hosted artisans shops and today it attracts with old cafe’s and bars, nicely decorated confectionary windows and different events.

Piazza San Carlo, Turin, Piedmont, Italy
piazza San Carlo during CioccolaTo’

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The truffle time

In the last weekend of Alba International White Truffle Fair (Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba) weekly market in the center of Alba was immersed in sun. I filled my eyes with vivid colors of flowers, seasonal fruits and vegetables, enormous boletus (poricini) and definitely smaller white truffles. This time the autumn didn’t spoil wine producers, but truffle hunters had a lot of work, which was reflected in gray diamond price. A year ago you needed to spend 4-4,5 € per 1 g and the current price is around 2,5-3,5 €/ 1 g, not to mention about special promotions during the last day of the festival – “only” 2 €/1 g. Well, still it’s not a cheap product, but truffles like jewels must cost dearly.

White Truffles, Alba, Piedmont, Italy
white truffles

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The straw men

Novello. A tiny town near Barolo in Piedmont with well preserved old buildings and picturesque eighteen-century castle adapted for a hotel. Townspeople’s life is concentrated around wine and grapevine cultivation. Knowing that I wasn’t surprised to see a kind of interesting and quite original exhibition of the straw men that appear out of the blue in the last expected nooks of the town showing everyday life of winegrowers in the past. Well, probably in the light of the moon they can be even scary but in the middle of the day they look so homely and friendly…

Novello, Piedmont, Italy
a sweet country life

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