The Best Routes Through Piedmont’s UNESCO Heritage Hills with Tips for Renting a Car
Are you planning to visit the UNESCO hills of Piedmont? Then discover our 2 itineraries between Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato to explore by car (also available for rent)!
When asked for advice on places to visit between Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato, we often assume the use of a vehicle: a car. While public transport like trains and buses can get you to larger cities, exploring the villages requires a car for freedom and time management. These villages are less accessible by public transport, especially on weekends, and you might miss out on attractions farther from the city centers.
So why limit yourself to seeing a few places, waiting hours for a bus or train? Why miss out on visiting wineries, the many Giant Benches, or small countryside churches reachable only by long walks?
Especially for those coming to Piedmont from afar and not wanting long, exhausting journeys with their own means, renting a car locally is advisable. Before delving into our 2 itineraries between Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato, we’ll give you some advice on finding the best car rental company and deals.
Things You Should Know Before Renting a Car
If you’ve never rented a car, there are some essential rules to avoid unpleasant surprises when picking up the keys.
The main ones are:
- Have a valid and original identification document. For Italians, a valid driver’s license is sufficient, while EU citizens generally need a national identity card. However, some companies may require a passport, especially for non-EU tourists. So, we advise carefully reading the rental company’s conditions.
- The driver’s license must have been held for at least one year. Rental companies usually require a minimum of one year’s driving experience before the start of the rental, with some even requiring more.
- Be at least 18 years old. While this might seem obvious, it’s not always the case for those coming from abroad. In Italy, driving is allowed only from the age of 18, even if you’ve obtained your license at a younger age in your country (e.g., 16 years old in the USA). Additionally, some companies charge a supplement for certain age groups. So always check the offer’s conditions!
Choosing the Best Car Rental
Now that you understand the need for a car to explore Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato, perhaps you’re considering renting one locally. Here are some tips to make the right choice!
Search for the Best Deal
With hundreds of rental companies, it’s challenging to navigate and find the best offer for your needs. If you don’t already have a positive experience with a particular company, we recommend using an offer comparison website like DiscoverCars. This useful and up-to-date site helps even the most inexperienced find the perfect rental car for their needs.
Simply visit www.discovercars.com/it and fill in the required information. First, enter the pick-up and drop-off locations. For the Langhe Roero and Monferrato area, if you’re arriving by plane, we recommend entering Torino or Torino Caselle. If you’re arriving by train, you can decide whether to enter Torino in general or Torino Porta Nuova. Turin is the most well-connected city, and also the starting and ending point of our 2 Itineraries between Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato that we hope you’ll follow. Then enter the pick-up and drop-off dates and times, and click search. You’ll see the results, allowing you to compare car types, rates, and conditions offered by various companies.
DiscoverCars negotiates rates directly with over 500 rental companies, often providing the best deals available.
Book Early, Pay Less
In the rental field, the rate increases as the rental start date approaches. So the earlier you decide to plan your visit, the less you’ll pay for your car rental. Plus, you’ll have more options available and won’t have to settle for the last remaining car that doesn’t meet your needs.
An interesting aspect we discovered about DiscoverCars is the ability to modify or cancel your booking free of charge up to 48 hours before pick-up. This allows you to book well in advance without worrying about penalties in case of unexpected events or changes in plans before departure.
Choose the Right Car for Your Needs
As mentioned earlier, booking in advance gives you more options. This is crucial not only for personal needs (traveling alone, as a couple, with children, etc.) but also for the route you’ll take. For example, if you’re a couple, a small, agile car that can navigate narrow village streets will suffice. If you have a large family, a compact car might be inconvenient, although you’ll still have to deal with narrow, winding roads. So always evaluate everything carefully to avoid unpleasant surprises during your vacation.
Always Pay Attention to Terms and Conditions Before Booking
This is often the issue many face when renting a car: hidden costs. Sometimes, there are supplements not explicitly mentioned when you see the offer price in the conditions.
But here’s some good news! If you decide to book through DiscoverCars, you’ll find prices that already include all supplements, taxes, and mandatory extras. Quite helpful, isn’t it?
However, we want to bring something to your attention. If you book through DiscoverCars, you’ll need to leave a deposit when picking up the car, the amount of which is stated in the rental conditions.
Another important thing is that almost always, a credit card is required for payments for financial protection. Some companies also accept debit cards, but often you’ll need to purchase their full insurance.
Check the Mileage and Fuel Conditions
Many companies require the car to be returned with a full tank as it was at pick-up. Others allow you to return it with an empty tank. This distinction can be crucial for saving a few tens of euros on fuel! So make sure to check the fuel and mileage policy when choosing a rental company.
If you’re used to online purchases and bookings, this advice might seem trivial, but it’s always good to remember. So the last piece of advice we want to give you is to read reviews from other users before trusting a rental company.
DiscoverCars recommends choosing companies on its portal that have an overall score of at least 8!
Now that you’re ready to choose the right car for you, let us tell you where to go!
Continue reading and discover the 2 itineraries between Langhe Roero and Monferrato that we’ve designed for you!
2 Itineraries Between Langhe, Monferrato, and Roero: Torino-Asti-Govone-Bra
The first of the itineraries between Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato starts from Turin and requires at least a weekend to be fully experienced. However, we always recommend taking a few extra days to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the various places. In our opinion, this is the real wealth that this splendid territory can offer you.
First Day of Itinerary between Langhe, Roero and Monferrato
Driving south towards Asti, the first stop is the Abbey of Vezzolano. This ancient abbey is considered a masterpiece of Romanesque art and is home to numerous works of art. In particular, its beautiful and unique cloister features frescoes of various styles and epochs.
For the second stop, we head to Cocconato, one of Italy’s most beautiful villages, known as the Riviera of Monferrato due to its favorable climate. Cocconato is characterized by narrow, steep streets leading to the top of the hill where it is situated. Here, you’ll find the Town Hall with its Gothic terracotta decorations and the Church of Santa Maria della Consolazione.
The third stop is Asti, a city known as the city of a hundred towers for its many medieval towers still standing today. We recommend visiting Palazzo Mazzetti with its art gallery, the Cathedral, and the Collegiate Church of San Secondo. Additionally, in Piazza San Secondo, you can enjoy an aperitif while tasting a Dry Asti Docg!
For the fourth stop, we move to the Langhe region, specifically to Castagnole delle Lanze, another one of Italy’s most beautiful villages in the province of Asti. Here, you’ll discover a small town that has embraced contemporary art as a path to the future. Until a few years ago, the attraction was the beautiful baroque church of San Pietro in Vincoli. Today, it is adorned with numerous street art works, including those of the Portici di via Ener Bettica and the Portico di Tristano e Isotta.
Leaving Castagnole, we enter the province of Cuneo and visit the Barbaresco area. The fifth stop takes us to Neive, also one of Italy’s most beautiful villages, surrounded by vineyards. Among its cobbled streets, you’ll find the Clock Tower and many noble palaces. A few kilometers away, you can visit the village of Barbaresco, where you can taste the wine named after it in the regional wine shop. We also recommend climbing the medieval tower to admire the panorama of the Tanaro Valley and the sixth stop: Govone.
Govone, located on the left bank of the Tanaro in Roero, is primarily known for the Govone Castle, one of the Savoy royal residences and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The castle is surrounded by two gardens, one English and one Italian, and dominates the entire village.
Within the castle, in addition to the royal apartments and the Hall of Honor frescoed with mythological scenes, the Chinese Rooms steal the show. These rooms, used to host visiting princes and princesses, are truly spectacular. The walls are adorned with original Chinese wallpapers depicting typical Eastern country scenes: silk, tea, porcelain, and rice.
Third Day of the second Itinerary of two itineraries between Langhe, Roero and Monferrato
The third day of our first itinerary between Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato continues in the Roero territory. This area of Piedmont is less known than the neighboring Langhe, but in our opinion, it has nothing to envy. The seventh stop, Monticello d’Alba, is a beautiful medieval village with one of the best-preserved castles in Piedmont. A good part of the fortress has been made available for visits by the Roero family, allowing visitors to admire the beauty of the castle. Particularly interesting are the Armory Hall, the Hall of Paintings, and the Gallery of Diana. In the cemetery, another excellence of the village is the Chapel of San Ponzio, which houses frescoes from the 10th-11th centuries, the oldest in the area.
Still in Roero, we find the eighth stop, Santa Vittoria d’Alba. The village retains traces of its medieval past, especially in the upper part where the Castle Tower and the Bell Tower stand out. However, the real jewel of the village, where we recommend you to stop, is the Church of the Confraternity of San Francesco. Inside, there is a beautiful cycle of frescoes from the 15th century depicting the stories of the passion of Christ.
As the final stop, we suggest taking a nice stroll in Bra, the capital of Roero. Among its streets, you can admire many examples of Baroque architecture in both churches and noble palaces lining the streets. We mainly recommend visiting the Church of Sant’Andrea and Palazzo Traverso, also home to the Archaeological Museum. In Bra, you should also try two typical products of the town: Bra sausage and Bra cheese accompanied by local bread! You won’t regret it!
2 Itineraries Between Langhe, Monferrato, and Roero: Torino-Canelli-Acqui Terme-Casale Monferrato-Moncalvo
The second itinerary we recommend also starts from Turin and winds mainly through the provinces of Asti and Alessandria. With this route, we want to introduce you to less-known and therefore more authentic areas that we bet you’ll enjoy. In particular, you’ll discover the Asti Langa, a part of the Langhe very different from the common imaginary with high, steep hills much more similar to the nearby Ligurian Apennines.
First Day of Itinerary between Langhe Roero and Monferrato
Once you arrive in Turin and (if necessary) rent your car, head south towards Asti. If you decide to take the highway, it will be the best exit toll to reach Canelli, the first stop of our itinerary. This town is known for being the first Italian capital of sparkling wine in the mid-19th century. Still bearing witness to this are the ancient cellars of many wineries: the Underground Cathedrals. These are the subject of guided tours, always accompanied by a wine tasting from the wineries that organize them. Additionally, we recommend reaching the Contini Tower on the hills, from which you can admire a spectacular panorama.
For the second stop, let’s go to Roccaverano, which you may have already heard of for its Robiola cheese. In addition to this delicious cheese, which you absolutely must try if you don’t know it, the town offers uncommon architectural and artistic beauties. First of all, you should climb the Circular Tower, which offers an exceptional 360° panorama. Then you should carefully admire the Church of Santa Maria dell’Annunziata designed by Bramante. Finally, before leaving Roccaverano, you should stop by the small Church of San Giovanni Battista. Inside, it houses the most imposing and complete cycle of frescoes in the Asti area. A real gem! If you have time, we recommend a visit to Mombaldone, a small medieval village that is part of the club of Italy’s most beautiful villages.
Traveling through part of the Bormida Valley, we reach the last destination of the day: Acqui Terme. The town in the Province of Alessandria has been famous for centuries for its thermal waters and numerous archaeological sites from the Roman era. Perhaps you could take advantage of the visit for some relaxing treatments!
Second Day of Itinerary
The second day of our itinerary will begin by crossing the hills of Brachetto d’Acqui to reach the fourth stop: Fontanile. This small village develops in the shadow of the huge neo-Gothic dome of the Church of San Giovanni Battista and has a peculiarity: it tells its story through murals. In recent years, numerous murals have been painted in every corner of the village, recounting its history and some particular episodes that have occurred. The beautiful thing is that they increase every year!
After this stop, we will move to the Lower Monferrato Casalese, partly along the ancient Strada Franca del Monferrato, a road that connected the Upper and Lower Monferrato and has recently been rediscovered in the tourist field. After about an hour, we reach Cella Monte and Rosignano Monferrato, which, although two separate villages, due to their proximity, can both be included in the fifth stop. In these two villages, you will find houses built with canton stone, a fossil limestone very scenic. Moreover, this area of Monferrato is famous for its Infernot, the cellars dug under the buildings directly into the rock with very particular shapes and structures.
Visits to the infernot, especially private ones, are often accompanied by wine and local product tastings.
The sixth and final stop of the day is Casale Monferrato, the ancient capital of the March of Monferrato. The city has preserved many buildings from the marcher era, including the most important ones: the Paleologi-Gonzaga Castle, now home to the Regional Wine Shop, the Cathedral of Sant’Evasio, and the beautiful Synagogue.
Third Day of Itinerary between Langhe, Roero and Monferrato
The third day begins with a short journey, even though the province changes. We stop at Montemagno, a small village in the Lower Asti Monferrato. The village, in the oldest part, develops at the foot of the castle in a strangely triangular shape. Moreover, there are 12 alleys branching off from the main street, still marked today by Roman numeral numbers. In addition to this, Montemagno is worth visiting for the presence of a scenic Baroque staircase leading to the church of Saints Martino and Stefano. Some have compared it to the Spanish Steps in Rome.
Moving a few kilometers, we reach Grazzano Badoglio, the eighth stop of the itinerary. The village is known in the area mainly for the presence of the Aleramica Abbey founded in 961 by Aleramo, the legendary founder of the March of Monferrato. Its very well-kept cloister offers an exceptional view of the surrounding hills. In the complex, there is also the Church of Saints Vittore and Corona, where the remains of Aleramo are kept. His tomb is embellished with a portrait painted by Guglielmo Caccia and a mosaic from the Roman era.
The last stop of the itinerary is Moncalvo, known as the first capital of Monferrato and also as the smallest city in Italy. Both nicknames date back to the Middle Ages when, as the capital of the March, it was granted the status of civitas. From its medieval past, remains of the Castle with its belvedere and the neighborhood that develops around the Fracia, the commercial street of that era, remain. Here, there are many noble palaces built in Baroque style and some churches that preserve important works by Guglielmo Caccia, also known as il Moncalvo.
Now that you know the secrets of renting a car and our 2 itineraries between Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato, you have all the elements to fully enjoy a vacation among the UNESCO hills of Piedmont.
This article was created in collaboration with DiscoverCars.