|Subject: Piedemont hotel & restaurant|
> In Florence I would highly recommend the Helvetia-Bristol. The sevice
> is outstanding and it has a wonderful location. Yes, I agree completely. This is a lovely place to stay. I believe it is a Relais listed hotel.
> >I'm having considerably more difficulty researching the Tuscany/Piedemont areas of Italy, most notably ...accomodations. Having stayed at the Hotel Il Castelli http://www.hotel-icastelli.co in Alba (Piemonte), I can recommend it highly. This is in the lovely town of Alba. Alba is known as the white truffle capital. From this town it is easy to explore by car the beautiful surrounding hill towns with their castles, towers, marvelous restaurants and the beautiful vineyards which produce outstanding wines.
It is an easy drive to Torino which makes for a really good day trip. Asti is a very short drive so this makes for a good day trip too. Just to enjoy the wonderful caffes alone on Via Roma in Torino is worth the drive.
There is no end to the terrific restaurants to be found in Alba and the surrounding area. I enjoyed La Libera, San Cassiano, Il Vicoletto and Osteria dell'Arco in Alba; Belvedere in La Morra; Dei Cacciatori in Albaretto della Torre; Locanda nel Borgo Antico in Barolo and Da Guido in Castiglione d'Asti.
Torino does not get the tourist crowds that the other cities in Italy do but with the winter olympics coming there in the next few years, it will surely get to be a favorite on the tourist trail to Italy. See the articles about Torino and Piemonte--and the beautiful hills around Alba--in the Feb 2000 issue of La Cucina Italiana. Also, go to http://www.theatlantic.com and search for Turin for an excellent article on that city to be found there. Also read Faith Willinger's Eating in Italy to get an idea about Piemonte's and Toscana's restaurants and hotels.
The Eyewitness guide books and good maps are better for trip planning than sites on the web IMHO. But, you can try http://www.google.com and searching for Italy etc. Peter