PWk: Prod, Tlk: GS2, Datacash: Live
Pollenzo – AKA Pollentia – is a rural village that’s found its calling: viticulture. A sprinkling of hotels, cellars, schools and vineyards dedicate themselves to the science of wine-making, and best of all, visitors get to taste the spoils.
Back in the 19th century, King Carlo Alberto gave Pollenzo’s medieval churches, towers and piazza a dramatic Neo-Gothic makeover – and then threw in a farm and vineyards for good measure. Carlo might’ve been the King of Sardinia-Piedmont, but his real passion was agriculture and wine-making.
The huge buildings around Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II are now home to the sprawling University of Gastronomic Sciences and the Wine Bank. They’ve both won a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Fancy some food to go with that wine? Pollenzo sits just south-east of Bra. It’s the birthplace of Slow Food – a foodie movement that preaches the case for cooking with local ingredients and traditional recipes.
Turin is the closest airport to Pollenzo, coming in at just over an hour’s drive away. Alternatively, fly into Genoa (1 hour 40 minutes away) or Milan (just over 2 hours away).
Tour the Wine Bank
The Wine Bank (La Banca del Vino) does exactly what it says in the tin. The star of the show is the colossal House of Savoy cellar, which comes stocked with the very best Italian vintages. Wander the underground store yourself or jump on a guided tour.
It gets better – book in advance, and you can sign up to a themed wine-tasting session showcasing Piedmont salami, cheese and chocolate. If you’d rather get hands-on, there’s always the cooking school. World-class chefs and sommeliers will soon get you knowing your abbocato from your secco.