I always get asked for recommendations of where to stay in the Langhe.
And I always give a similar response, so I decided to write a post on where to stay in the Langhe, to make it more efficient!
The truth is that there are many, many amazing places to stay. Piedmont hospitality is second to none, and the choice, quality and service levels are vast. The first thing you need to decide is WHERE to stay. And by this I mean location according to your needs.
Options are: Alba, as bigger town, it's central hub. If you don't have a car, this would be pretty much your only option (or nearby Asti). In general I suggest that visitors have a car as the area is not really set up for public transport, and guided tours, while improving, are limited and can be expensive. It's more convenient to have your own car and explore the area at your own pace.
In a little village: this is an attractive option, to indulge the Italian country life. Depending on your needs, if you select a little village, I would recommend one that has some amenities, like restaurants, bars, supermarket etc, so you have the option of forgetting the car and walking. Best villages in this respect would be: Monforte D'Alba, La Morra, Neive.
In the countryside: for the quintessential Langhe lifestyle experience, I would recommend staying in a family-run place nestled in the vineyards. While the vineyards can be busy and noisy places at times (think tractors during pruning and harvest), otherwise, it is about as beautiful and relaxing as you could imagine. If you stay in the country, I would recommend a place that has a good restaurant attached, because it is always nice to have the option to eat well, drink better (you are, after all, in the heart of red wine country), not worry about driving and quietly retreat to your lodgings after, also with the remains of the wine bottle in hand....
So, here are some suggestions within the three 'location' options for a range of budgets (although in general nothing is particularly cheap) and needs. Be warned, the Langhe is popular, particularly in the Summer months and truffle fair season (late Sep - mid Nov) and good places book early.
L'ortodellerose B&B ($$): beautiful B&B right in the heart of Alba, also on airbnb.
Vincafe ($$): in the heart of the action, modern, well-equipped rooms, also possibility of self-cater apartment, but can be noisy and difficult to park.
Hotel Calissano ($$$): just outside of historical centre, large well-appointed hotel with parking.
Piazza Duomo rooms ($$$): elegant, quality rooms attached to Piazza Duomo three-Michelin star restaurant.
Agriturismo Brandini ($$): modern but classic rooms in country side backed by Eataly and Joe Bastianich.
La Morra / Novello
Angolo di Rosina ($): fantastic, friendly, family-ran B&B with terraces, restaurant and great feel.
Casa Nicolini ($): pool, great restaurant with stunning view, modest lodgings.
La Torricella Agriturismo ($$): pool, great restaurant, winery, top class operation.
La Casa Gialla ($$): self-catered well-appointed apartments run by passionate couple.
Villa Carusera ($$$): Luxury private villa for hire, in historical centre, with pool.
Villa Beccaris ($$$): beautiful villa lodgings with cozy rooms, gardens and pool in centre of Monforte D'Alba, with car park.
Beyond Alba (nearby Asti)
La Villa Hotel (Casa Daina) ($$$$): beautiful estate, luxury rooms, if you want to splurge.
On the day before Ferragosto, the biggest holiday in Italy, our mission was to find a dairy farm in the mountains for our two little girls to see, and possibly milk, mountain cows. By chance, we stumbled across Agriturismo Agrifoglio, a cute agriturismo just 5 minutes out of Limone Piemonte, a picturesque mountain village in the French Maritime Alps. The food was simple but delicious, and we ate overlooking their cows (and a calf) grazing peacefully with a stunning mountain backdrop.
One of the cool things about the Langhe is its proximity to a number of mountain ranges, the French Maritime Alps and Ligurian Alps (about 1 hour) and the Swiss Alps (2 hours). There are so many charming little mountain villages to explore, so where to begin?
Limone Piemonte is immediately appealing - a gorgeous little village located in Col di Tende between the French Riviera and the Italian Riviera. At just over an hour and 15 min drive from the Langhe, it is a perfect day trip in the summer to get some fresh mountain air or in the winter for world class skiing. It is also a convenient mid way point on the back road between the Langhe and Nice (France). (I was interested in the role Its strategic location played in its history and found a good summary on the village's website.)
The village itself is very attractive, with stone-built chalets and a chic feel, boutique shops and a wide range of restaurants, including both French and Italian, with a focus on mountain cuisine (think raclette, polenta). We could easily have eaten at one the many restaurants in the town, but given it was the day before Ferragosto, to say it was busy is a gross understatement.... So we ventured out of the town to seek out a mountain retreat, and we found Agriturismo Agrifoglio.
The Agriturismo was a great find - picture-perfect location, nestled within two imposing mountain ranges. The building itself appeared to have been recently renovated. It was tastefully decorated, but homey, with exposed stone vaulted ceilings, I can imagine it being stunning also in winter. And there were cows! Right on the grass out front of the restaurant, and one little calf. We were also lucky to find a cute puppy that needed a new home, but somehow we managed to resist taking him with us....
The restaurant at the agriturismo was the quintessential experience. There were two or three simple menus using their own or local produce, all inclusive for EUR25 for a plate of antipasti, a main meal (various grilled meat options, or polenta and cheese) and either cheese plate or dessert, together with coffee, water and digestive included. They also had a kid's menu of hamburger or pasta, drink and dessert for EUR10. The antipasti platter was impressive, with a nice mix of vegetables (fried green tomatoes, stuffed zucchini, fried zucchini flowers) and meat ('vitello tonnato' (poached veal with tuna sauce), herb-stuffed roll of rabbit, and house-cured 'lardo' on crostini with cheese). For main, I had the veal grill and the meat was so tender and the char-grilled flavours were sublime. And for dessert, there was a platter of three, the highlight being the stuffed peaches (poached peaches filled with amaretti biscuits and chocolate).
A cut above, we will return, maybe in winter next time.
Eleanor Fletcher - living in the heart of the Langhe, Monforte D'Alba (Barolo). Searching for great eats, formidable drinks and fun times. Married to a Barolo and Barbaresco producer, plus a mother of two 'principesse'.