Turin Ski RegionCopyright: Luigi Bertello/Shutterstock.com
Turin Ski Region“El diau, el diau!” “The devil! The devil!” It was in 1897 when mountain people from Sauze d’Oulx witnessed a red-faced man with a long white beard descending from the slopes, with long wooden skis attached to his feet. He was a Swiss engineer, Adolf Kind, and wooden skis were then first seen in Italy. Today there are more than a hundred ski-lifts and 1,500 km of slopes for all levels – as well as alpine skiing, sledges and huskies, telemark skiing and snowboarding.
The RegionIn medieval times the "Franchi" went through the valley – the main route to Gaul; thus many abbeys were constructed on the Via Francigena which rises to Moncenisio. The first one, founded just outside Turin at Rivoli, is Sant’Antonio di Ranverso. The preceptory and adjacent hospital were founded in 1186 by Umberto III and then entrusted to the Antoniani di Vienne priests. These structures were built for protection as well as to provide food and lodging for travellers. Other castles in the valley were aimed at defending the peninsula from invaders – of whom there have been many, from Carlo Magno onwards. The most striking one is undoubtedly the Forte di Exiles: an extraordinary example of military architecture. Food is important here – you’ll find many of the best products of Piemontese traditional mountain cuisine, many of which have been given the mark of quality: salami, cheese (Murianengo, Toma del Piemonte, Raschera, Reblochon del Moncenisio), mushrooms, apples, the potatoes of Cesana, wine (Cimont), liqueurs made with herbs (Genepy, from the mountains of Cesana). Furthermore, you cannot leave without sampling the delicious chocolate, like the famous Gianduiotto!
The ResortsIn the picturesque Piedmont region there are several ski resorts, such as Sauze d’Oulx, Courmayeur and Sestriere. The area, known for its long wide open surroundings and sunny skies, is often called The Milky Way and it's just perfect for a snow holiday!
Do & See
Visitors to this corner of the country will find that the Valle d’Aosta and Piedmont are quite distinct in character from the rest of Italy. The long history of geo-political power struggles with their French neighbours and the mountainous alpine environment have created a unique identity amongst the inhabitants. French was the official language in Piedmont only a century ago, whilst in Aosta, it still remains the administrative and legal language to this day, despite the majority of people speaking Italian. Add to this Aosta’s autonomy from central government and it becomes clear why this area is seen as the most un-Italian part of Italy. This is perhaps most obvious in the gothic style castles that dot the landscape of these two regions. Dating back to the reign of the Royal House of Savoy, the imposing fortifications set amongst the majesty of the mountains, help lend a fairytale air to the surroundings which is far from the suave sophistication of the Italian Riviera and the grandiosity of Rome.
The region’s gastronomic standards more than hit the heights expected of Italian cuisine. Throughout the two regions there is a pride in the traditional dishes that have been passed down through the ages and this manifests itself in an abundance of excellent restaurants. The region also produces some excellent wines that will ensure that the connoisseurs amongst you will be well catered for!
What's better than a hot drink straight after a long day on the snow? A hot drink and something sweet to eat! Check one of the popular spots listed below (you will notice both cafés and proper bakeries) and spoil yourself with a hot chocolate and a slice of delicious cake, perfectly baked according to the Italian tradition!
Bars & Nightlife
A beer never tastes as good as after a long and fun day in the slopes. After a refreshing shower and a strengthening meal, head down to meet and greet your fellow skiers. The good mood is always infectious and you're in for a different kind of ride!