Subject: Re: Italy
Hi John and fellow Ziners! My only visit to the Piedmont was in 2002 for about four days, andI'm am in no way a wine connoisseur. However, I AM a wine ENTHUSIAST. You will be in wine nirvana in the Piedmont! (My wife and I still talk about a bottle of 1997 Gaja barbaresco we had at a restaurant in Alba.) Here, in no particular order, are my recommendations and thoughts about visiting the Piedmont: - You will definitely want a car while in the Piedmont to travel among the wineries, vineyards, and small towns. We had a very good experience with AutoEurope. Picked the car up in Genoa and then drove to Alba. - I very highly recommend Villa La Favorita, an agrotourismo/inn just outside of Alba. Roberta, the owner, is the ultimate hostess. The rooms are large, beautiful, and the hospitality is first-rate. - We loved Alba. Picturesque, a great market on Saturday morning, great food shops, wonderful restaurants, and off course, great wine. - Go to the town of Barolo. Absolute must. The castel in Barolo is now a Barolo wine shrine-market, displaying hundreds of bottles of Barolo, etc. Nice scenery too. - There are several fine restaurants in Alba, but we only had the opportunity to eat at Enoclub, in the lower level of a club/bar off the central square in town. It's a beautiful setting; basically an old, all-brick room with barrel-vaulted ceilings, linen covered tables, etc. I suggest you go early (about 8pm), as the place fills to capacity and gets very noisy with all those hard surfaces.

(That's where we had the 1997 Gaja.) - Visit Bra, the hometown of the Slow Food movement. The town isn't that much to look at, but the food and wine!!!!! We ate at Boccondivino (sp?), the hangout of the Slow Food staffers. Wonderful staff, food, and wine. Worth going out of your way to dine there. - The region is filled with little towns with great wine and food. Had lunch in Nieve at a totally nondesript little bar. Great salami and cheese sandwich with, of course, a good glass of Barolo. - I've not been to Como, but I think the weather in mid-April would be more enjoyable in Tuscany. - Definitely ditch the car and use the trains between major towns and cities. You do not want a car in Florence! It's very walkable, and cabs are reasonable if you get tired. Feel free to contact me for more info. Have a wonderful time! Mark Freezing my @%& *! off! Mitchell Boyds, Maryland