The North West of Italy: The region and places of interest





Due to its close proximity to the French border, the North West of Italy has a long and rich history of superb wine production from the famed reds of Piemonte, made from the Nebbiolo grape that makes the widely championed Barolo, to the varied and emerging white wines in Lombardia and Liguria. Italian viticulture is strongly defined by the country’s heterogeneous altitude and this is particularly prevalent in the Alps embraced north.
 
 
Stretching from Milan to Genoa and largely sharing its border with France, the north west of Italy has managed to forge and retain its own identity in regards to their rich winemaking traditions, but the region is evidently not exclusively reserved for visitors only interested in viticulture.
 
Image by Megan Mallen
 
Lombardia, Piedmont and the Ligurian coast are the region's and perhaps the country’s most prosperous areas, with Milan and Turin, near to France and Germany, and the maritime influenced Genoa, all at the epicentre of Italy’s commerce. The area is recognised as one of the fashion capitals of the world, as well as the centre for European art, particularly the Renaissance period which was central to the country’s consistent economic and cultural expansion.

The Italian Riviera which grips Genoa offers a plethora of breath-taking views of Italy’s rugged coastline, while the widely championed lakes of Garda, Maggiore and the most famous Como, to the north and east of Milan, offer romantic drives and equally enchanting views of the country’s iconic tarns.
 
 
 
 
Milan is a must for tourists and the imposing Gothic cathedral, The Duomo, is the ideal starting point. The third largest church in Europe boasts some of the most stunning views in the whole of Italy and on a clear day you can see as far as the Alps. Built in 1386 but not finished until 1813, the recently restored Cathedral is beautiful inside and out but can get very busy during peak season.
 
While too saturated with places of note to mention all of them here, the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, southwest of Castello, is home to Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic Last Supper (1495-97) and is subsequently on the well-beaten tourist trail.
 
Image by Megan Evans 
 
The capital of Piedmont, Turin, is Italy’s centre of industry and of course home to some of the country’s finest wines. In modern times it has emerged as a forward-thinking, cutting-edge centre of design and in recognition of this it was named World Design Capital in 2008. The Duomo di San Giovanni Battista houses the Turin Shroud, the garment allegedly wrapped around Jesus after the Crucifixion, and the area is subsequently hugely popular.

The Port at Genoa, formerly a medieval trading empire, offers a rainbow selection of the Mediterranean’s finest cuisines and the area is best explored by foot. Situated beautifully between the mountains and the sea, the Liguria and its array of picturesque resorts are increasingly well-travelled and the Italian Riviera and its lofty reputation can perhaps be credited to the stunningly exquisite little fishing village of Portofino. 
 
 Image by IK's World Trip
 
Bergamo to the east of Milan and situated on a steep hill of the Po Valley, is as pretty as the aforementioned Portofino and home to one of north west Italy’s most important art galleries. Galleria dell'Accademia Carrara boasts works by Raphael, Titian, Bellini and Lotto amongst a host of others. 
 
 Image by hozinja

While the above is only a fleeting glimpse of the wealth of opportunity on offer in the north west of Italy, hopefully it gives you a flavour of the rich heritage and cultural significance outside of the region’s well-documented wine making traditions.  
 
To view our wines from Italy click here.  
 
Main Image by Artur Staszewski 

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