DAY 1 - The Barolo Langhe
After the two-hour drive across the plains from Milano, meet your bikes among the lush vineyards and perched Medieval towns of the Barolo zone, aka "the king of wines and the wine of kings". A few clicks open your lungs to the sweet air, your eyes to rolling hills, and your appetites to Piemonte's famously fresh and savoury dishes. Enjoy a quick lunch at locals-only Trattoria dai Bercau, then pedal the sublime regional roads, which wind like ribbons through dramatic nebbiolo vineyards. Pedal the distance, or stop and explore the eponymous village and its unique experiental WiMu wine museum, or head to the hotel for quality poolside. Reconvene in the evening for cocktails with Silvia Altare, a fun and dynamic young winemaker following in the formidable footsteps of her father Elio, a top-notch Barolo producer and excellent company. Dinner is at La Posta, a longtime our favourite for its delicious takes on classic Piemontese dishes.
Activity: rolling bike ride 20-26 km (12-16 mi.)
DAY 2 - More Barolo Langhe
The morning's route meanders a little between ridges crowned with brick castles, skirting the other edge of the Barolo zone en route to the regional hub of Alba. Join local guide Laura for an informal glimpse at Alba's Roman and Resistance past, or get her tips for hidden shops and treasures, and have plenty of time to stroll Via Maestra and indulge the senses: handmade leather shoes, a Prada top, a case of 1998 Barolo, truffle oil, or whatever catches your eye. Stop in for lunch at our (and the locals') favorite wine bar, with flavorful salads, light pastas and memorable cheese plates. In the afternoon, transfer back down to Monforte d'Alba, in time for some massage at the hotel spa. As the sun sets over the Alps, stroll down to dinner at Da Felicin for handmade pastas and deliciously creative dishes rivaled only by the wine list.
Activity: 7-9 km (4-5 mi.) morning walk
DAY 3 - Barbaresco
This morning's ride rises gradually along sweeping ridges, with a few downhills to catch your breath, and up to the wilder Alta Langa. Dismount for an event off the beaten path - literally: a truffle hunt with our friend Beppe and his trusty (and adorable) truffle dog Diana. According to the season with luck Diana will be able to find white truffles of their black cousins, rather delicious in their own right. Sweep gently d-o-w-n, past the Barbaresco-producing town of Treiso and into the tower-dotted town itself for lunch at the Agriturismo Rio Sordo, home of our friends Sergio & Luisa - incidentally the source of some of Barbaresco's finest cru. Part-picnic, part-chance to chat with a grape grower, kick back in the shade and soak it all in. This afternoon, hop a taxi to the hotel (with spa, salt baths and two pools sweetening the deal); for extra mileage continue along the rolling route through the towns of Neive and Castagnole Lanze, with the final climb to Relais San Maurizio, home for the next three nights. Tonight, head to an informal spot nearby for great pasta and their own Moscato d'Asti.
Activity: 40 km (25 mi.)
DAY 4 - The Alta Langa
Following breakfast, a short transfer takes you to start your walk in Neive, officially one of Italy's most beautiful towns, in time for a great cappuccino before tackling the climb up to Mango. The morning's walk isn't long, but it is challenging. Luckily, lunch is a worthy reward: your trifulao Beppe and his wife Carla have invited us to their home for a family-style lunch and to try your hand at pasta making. This afternoon, consider a peaceful horseback trail ride or a short walk downhill towards the hotel for some downtime. Early evening, pop down to the La Spinetta cellar to see how Barbaresco and Barbera wines are made, and sample some of this splendid producer's best. Following the tasting, head to the agriturismo La Bella Estate, where Gian Paolo and Gabriela take you in like family and give you a real taste of mamma's cooking.
Activity: 6 km (4 mi.) walk to lunch
DAY 5 - The Monferrato
After a restful sleep, the morning dawns with a quick transfer to the next ridge of vineyards above the Belbo valley (keen riders can begin with an impressive 5-km climb). Set off on our bikes for a silent, gently rolling ride between undiscovered hill towns. You've seen many gorgeous views this week, but today's are absolutely spectacular! After winding down into the verdant Belbo valley, stop for lunch at a charming local restaurant, La Violetta (save room for the feathery-light Moscato mousse). After lunch riders cruise through the bustling little centres of Canelli and Santo Stefano Belbo, with plenty of time to warm back up before ascending to the perched hotel. For dinner, stay on property at the hotel's famous restaurant Da Guido, gracefully nestled in the brick-arched former wine cellar. With contemporary art on the walls and another fantastic wine list, it's a dining experience to remember - and their agnolotti is something to write home about. Salute!
Activity: a 44 km (27 mi.) gently rolling ride with gorgeous winding descents and quiet valleys. Rides are on quiet country roads with splendid vistas. Further extensions are available.
DAY 6 - Farewell
Following breakfast your guides will deliver you to the Milano airport for your flight!