From the Alps to the Riviera.
The Aosta Valley has stately and imposing mountains to its fame, the Piedmont region is a heaven for gourmands, and Liguria is popular for its exclusive bathing resorts. The “calf” of Italy’s boot begins just south of the Alps and those who cannot approach from the sea will have to come over the mountains. The Alpine passes stem from Roman times, with Alpis Poenia and Alpis Graia now called the Little and Great St. Bernard Passes, respectively, and connect Italy with France and Switzerland. All three regions in the Northwest of Italy are mountainous: the Aosta Valley and the 100km Dora Baltea River Valley are ringed by some of the most fantastic massifs the Alps have to offer. The eastern flank of the Mont Blanc (4810m), the Monte Rosa (4634m) and the Matterhorn (4478m, Italian Cervino) are in the North, while the South is home to the Gran Paradiso (4601m), verily a paradise for skiing and hiking. Turin, the capital of the adjoining Piedmont region, is surrounded by the snow-capped Piedmont Alps to the North and West and the hills of the Apennine Mountains (Monferrato, Roero, Langhe) to the South, well known to foodies for the mushrooms, truffles, and excellent red wines that come from here. Due to the Maritime Alps in the Northwest and the Apennine Mountains in the Southeast, the climate in the Riviera is mild and temperate. The mountains provide a charming backdrop to the popular Ligurian seaside resorts and have forced the large harbour city of Genoa to closely stick to the coastline for 35 km.