The place we stayed in was actually an apartment within a villa nestled in the vineyards. The couple from Los Angeles who own it have done an absolutely stunning job on the renovations and restoration (and as someone who has done this more than a few times, I have infinite respect for the work and thought that goes in to such a project). The apartment was wonderfully comfortable and functional, and made perfect by such details as its vaulted brick ceiling.
The region was fascinating, and the town we loved most of all was the little town of Costligliole d’Asti which was only one kilometre away. We didn’t see another tourist in our whole week there, and the people in the shops were obviously not the jaded sort that you can come across in Florence, Rome, and other more popular areas.
Each time we went to buy our daily prosciutto and mortadello from the local “charcuterie” the girls were each given a Chupa Chups lollipop and a balloon! Imagine the joy! They were very proud that they knew how to say “Buonjourno“, “Grazie“, and “Ciao” to the lovely lady who served us our daily cappuccinos and hot chocolates in the town’s coffee shop. We also learned the Italian names for all the different flavours of gelato, as we had at least two each a day.
We did a day trip to the “Cinqueterre” area of the Italian Rivieria. The panoramas were indeed stunning, but I felt as though, besides the lovely little Italian towns perched on the cliff faces and of course the ubiquitous gelato shops, I had been jettisoned back to North America. Everyone who we met or passed us on the streets was North American, and spoke with the same accent as me. It was a bit unnerving, and made us rejoice in the authentic “Italian-ness” of our spot in Piedmont all the more.
It reinforced what we strive for back at home in Burgundy – to create places where our guests can truly live like locals.
“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” –- Miriam Beard