Piedmont and Aosta Valley  >>

The two regions in the Northwest of Italy are destina-tion of this tour: Piedmont and Aosta Valley. Passing the Engadin in Switzerland and Lake Como we arrive at Lake Maggiore, here we already in the Piedmont. The name means land at the foot of the mountains, and indeed this region is surrounded on three sides by high mountains. In between we can find so different land-scapes like the rice fields of Vercelli, the lakes in the north, the smooth hills of Roero or the vineyards of Langhe. Two nights we spend in Alba, capital of wine and truffles. During a day trip we even reach the Mediterranean Sea around Savona. And in the after-noon we learn more about the famous wines of the region such as Barbera, Barbaresco and Barolo in a wine tasting. Some of the regional delicacies Polenta Pasticciata, Anatra Farcita and Pasta with truffles complete the day.   Next morning  we continue to the the French Maritime Alps. On the passes there will be an up and down all day long on passes like Colle Ag-nello, Col d’Izoard and Col du Galibier. Passing the strongly fortified town of  Briancon we continue through the Susa to Turin. This city was the first capital of the Republic of Italy and is the centre of automobiles with headquarters of Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Lancia. On a stroll through the historical centre we see the most beautiful places and palaces. The ride goes on: passes like Moncenis, Col d’Iseran and Petit St Bernard are on our way to the north. In the evening we arrive at the Aosta Valley, the smallest of the 20 regions of Italy. Numerous old castles and fortresses show the strategic importance of the valley in the history. More than 40 smaller valleys belong to the region, one is Valtournenche. Here we spend the night far up at the end of the valley in Breuil-Cervina. Over us the mighty walls of the famous Matterhorn, in Italy called Monte Cervino. Next day we explore some more of the picturesque valleys, then in the afternoon a real highlight of the tour: from Courmayeur the cable car brings us up to the Punta Helbroner, on 3462 meter altitude we are really close to the glaciers and ice fields of the Montblanc. We leave the Aosta Valley and fol-low smaller roads to Lake Orta, one of the smaller Upper Italian Lakes. Time to say goodbye to Italy: up on the Simplon Pass we enter Switzerland and are in the middle of the huge valley of Rhone. Grimsel, Furka and St Gotthard Pass are full with hairpins surrounded by impressive landscape. We leave the passes and arrive at Altdorf, in the centre of the village we find the statue of the national heroe William Tell. And here on Lake Lucerne is the place were in 1291 the legendary oath between the cantons Schwyz, Unterwalden and Uri took place: Switzerland was born. Close to the deep-blue lake we can relax in our hotel and prepare for the next day. On windy roads over Klausen Pass and through Bregenzerwald and Allgäu we return to Munich.

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