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Tour of medieval castles and abbeys

Step inside fairy-tale castles and abbeys in Piedmont and travel back in time as you explore less-visited yet charming towns of northwest Italy.

 

Our tour of medieval castles and abbeys takes you to the fortified hamlet of Candelo, one of the best preserved of Europe. Visit the city of Vercelli, where the basilica of St. Andrew was completed in 1227.

 

Travel across Piedmont all the way to the western Alps and step inside the evocative Castello della Manta, explore the town of Saluzzo, the pilgrim hospital of Ranverso and the iconic St. Michael abbey, which inspired writer Umberto Eco to set its novel “The Name of the Rose”.

 

Our tour of castles and abbeys in Piedmont arrives to Cortazzone, an offbeat village perched on the hills of the wine region, known for a beautiful example of Romanesque parish church.

 

Take a stroll in Chieri with its medieval baptistery and, lastly, visit the town of Asti, home of the oldest horse race of Italy, the majestic Gothic cathedral and slender towers, reminiscent of Guelfs and Ghibellines rivalry.

  • 4 nights / 5 days
  • Expert Medievalist tour guide for the entire tour
  • Refined food and wine selection
  • Offbeat itinerary to dig in Italy’s culture

4-star hotels, breakfast included. Rooms with all comforts.

 

Small groups (up to 16 guests) can upgrade to boutique and luxury accommodations.

  • A 30% down payment is required in order to confirm the reservation.
  • The remaining balance is due 30 days before the tour.

The Customer has the right to withdraw, without providing any reason, under the following conditions:

  • within 30 days before the performance of the Tourist Package, without penalty;
  • from 29 days*** before the performance of the Tourist Package, by paying a penalty equal to 100% of the price
  • ***COVID CLAUSE: From 29 days before the tour, any payment previously sent can be fully refunded only in case of new travel restrictions (quarantine requirements, lockdowns, border closure or else) imposed by local Governments (in Europe or in the Country of origin of Customers) as a consequence of the spread of the COVID19 pandemic. Alternatively, the Customer can ask, in writing, to hold that sum for future travel dates.

 

Read here the full terms and conditions.

Tour of castles

Roberta B. – May 2018 (translated from Italian)

Thank you to Meet Piemonte for setting up this tour. My clients were very satisfied.

 

Trip to Piedmont

Giacomo P. – April 2019 (translated from Italian)

Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and details oriented. The program was well designed with enough free time to enjoy places we visited.

 

Read all reviews on Tripadvisor and on Google

Meet your expert Medievalist tour guide in Vercelli, where the impressive  basilica of St. Andrew was completed in 1227.

 

The peculiar façade with the two side towers and three splayed doors is a unique combination of Romanesque style and Gothic elements.

 

Visit the interior of the basilica before exploring the ancient city center of Vercelli with its medieval palaces.

 

Lunch is served in a traditional trattoria known for risotto and other local recipes.

 

The tour of medieval castles and abbeys in Piedmont continues toward the northern part of the region, all the way to the fortified hamlet of Candelo. Built to stock grains and as a defense for the inhabitants, the perfectly preserved architectures of Candelo take visitors back in time.

 

Check-in at the selected hotel, located nearby and enjoy dinner with products and wine of northern Piedmont.

 

After dinner, optional stroll in the town of Biella.

Breakfast and check-out.

 

Arrive in Chieri (about 1 hour and a half). The tour of medieval Piedmont explores today this charming municipality set beyond the metropolitan sprawl of Turin. Often forgotten, Chieri boasts an elegant town center.

 

The tour of Chieri includes the medieval church of San Domenico with works of art by a local painter known as Moncalvo, considered to be “the Rafael of Piedmont”. Later, enter the Duomo with access to the ancient baptistery decorated with an important cycle of frescoes.

 

Stop at a bakery for a tasting of local bread-sticks before reaching the highest point in town, at the foot of the Civic tower.

 

Lunch on your own.

 

In the afternoon, transfer in the heart of the Monferrato wine region near the village of Cortazzone. Perched on a hill crest, stands the Romanesque parish church of San Secondo set in a bucolic environment.

 

Friezes and bas-reliefs adorn the exterior walls and the capitals of the three naves, charged with zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures related to astronomic references.

 

Later, visit a winery and enjoy a wine tasting of Barbera d’Asti and other local grape varietals.

 

Check-in at the selected hotel around Chieri and enjoy a traditional dinner with seasonal ingredients.

After breakfast depart  for Saluzzo. The town located at the foot of the western Alps, preserves architectures dating back to the time when Saluzzo was the capital of a powerful Marquisate.

 

On the highest part of town lies the Castiglia, the original medieval fortress, with views over the rooftops below.

 

Walking downhill we get to the Civic tower, the Palace of Liberal Arts. We step inside the medieval church of St John and admire a highly-decorated tomb in Gothic Flamboyant style. We continue on cobbled streets down to the medieval porticoes in Via Carrera, all the way to the Cathedral to admire a beautiful altarpiece by Flemish artist Hans Clemer.

 

After some free time for lunch, the tour of medieval castles and abbeys in Piedmont gets to Castello della Manta, a fairy-tale fortress located a few miles outside Saluzzo.

 

The tour of the castle focuses on the Baronial Hall decorated with a fresco that takes the full length of the room. Named “Nine Worthies and Heroines” the fresco cycle  is a masterpiece of chivalric tradition and it faces, on the opposite side of the same hall, “The fountain of Youth”. This subject was known in French literature since the XII century and it is here represented with an interesting dynamism.

 

Return to the hotel. Tonight’s menu include the angel-hair pasta called tajarin and the local beef slowly cooked in wine.

The tour of medieval Piedmont reaches today the iconic St. Michael abbey, perched on a cliff that dominates the alpine valley of Susa and the plains of Turin, with breathtaking views.

 

The strategic position resulted in a great deal of power, controlling merchants and conquerors traveling between Italy and France. It played an important role in the history of Piedmont and it preserves its mystic and evocative atmosphere that inspired writer Umberto Eco to set its novel “The name of the Rose” .

 

After the guided tour, relax on the shores of the lake of Avigliana and transfer to the nearby abbey and hospital of St Anthony in Ranverso.

 

This abbey was flanking the former pilgrim route connecting the Alps to Rome and it was conceived to provide assistance to wayfarers and people in need of care. The medieval hospital boasts the façade in Gothic style and it is next to the peaceful cloister.

 

With donations of nobles and aristocrats, the abbey increased its power and became known for the cure for shingles and skin infections.

 

Enter the Romanesque church enriched by works of art of the most prominent masters of the XV century: a cycle of frescoes by Jacquerio and the highly-ornate altar piece by Defendente Ferrari.

 

Return to the hotel. Dinner is focused on the wide array of starters for which Piedmont is known: sliced boiled veal topped with a tuna and caper sauce, vegetable soufflé served with alpine cheese fondue and more.

Breakfast and check out.

 

Depart for Asti, the most powerful town in southern Piedmont between the XI and the XIV century.

 

Families of bankers and fabric traders left marks of their wealth still visible in the modern city: slender medieval towers, private palaces with gates and windows in clay and sandstone,  streets of Roman origins named after their family names.

 

The Cathedral of Asti is considered to be the largest Gothic one in Piedmont and it contains works of art of local painter Gandolfino da Roreto, originally commissioned by prominent families. The walking tour ends in one of the central piazza of Asti and it brings up to life some of the stories related to the Palio – the oldest horse race of Italy.

 

We celebrate the end of our tour of medieval castles and abbeys in Piedmont, with a last selection of traditional dishes in a rustic farmhouse set in the countryside.

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  • 1 night in a 4-star hotel near Candelo, breakfast included
  • 3 nights in a 4-star hotel near Chieri, breakfast included
  • Tour guide for 5 days
  • 4 traditional dinners with wine included
  • 2 traditional lunches with wine included
  • 1 wine tasting
  • Entrance tickets to St Michael abbey, Castello della Manta, Ranverso abbey
  • 22% VAT
  • Tour Operator limited liability insurance
  • Hotel city tax
  • Transportation
  • Any other meal, tasting, entrance fee, transfer, personal expense, tips and anything else not mentioned above in the field “The rate includes”. The wine included is the one presented during the meal or wine tasting and it is never unlimited. Any extra is at your own discretion.

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