I am a man of the world: I did my military service in Cuneo (Totò, Italian comedian)
Cuneo is a splendid, elegant and Renaissance style city of Piedmont, where you can eat and drink well, and breathe the fresh mountain air. It is located on the road that connects Turin and Nice and represents the point where the five valleys of the Alpine arc converge.
The city can be visited quietly in one day and is most enjoyable while walking. In fact, the historic center is gathered all around the large Piazza Galimberti, which is considered the "living room" of Cuneo. On Tuesday morning this square transforms into a huge open-air market, with people arriving from across the border to shop.
The day can start right in Piazza Galimberti, at the corner of Corso Nizza, and specifically at the Arione Caffè, with a sweet breakfast. Delicious pastries are baked in repetition; the brioches with raisins are simply delicious. In this paradise of sweetness, it is recommended to try the famous "cuneesi al rhum," historical chocolates, "invented" in this pastry shop and whose recipe is still secret. In recent years, other traditional flavors have been added to their traditional recipe, which includes a filling of rum cream. Try those with chestnut, orange, hazelnut.
From Piazza Galimberti, you can enjoy an excellent view of Corso Nizza, with the Alps in the background. In winter the landscapes are just incredible, with snow-capped peaks that create a strong contrast with the blue sky. From the large square, you should head towards Via Roma, the most beautiful street in the city, with its characteristic arcades and beautiful old buildings. The arcades (in most cities of northern Italy), in addition to having a decorative function, protect from the sun in summer, and from wind, rain and snow in winter.
The first stop is the beautiful church of Santa Maria del Bosco, at the beginning of Via Roma, on the left. Here you can admire paintings and statues of remarkable beauty, as well as the dome decorated with rich ornamental designs.
Leaving the church, continue along Via Roma until you find the Torre Civica on the left, a tower which rises 52 meters in height, and from the top of which you can admire the whole city. From the belfry, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city opening onto the gentle hills of the Langhe till the summit of Monte Rosa. The tower can be visited.
From here you can continue to Piazza Torino, where the city ends, and where the older buildings and arcades can be found. Walking through the narrow streets of the area, which are rich in traditional and artisan shops, you arrive in Contrada Mondovì, the ancient Jewish Ghetto of Cuneo.
At lunchtime, you can stop in one of Cuneo's excellent restaurants or choose to have a quick snack in one of the old coffee shops in the city center.
After lunch, we recommend a digestive walk along the tree-lined avenue leading to the Sanctuary Madonna degli Angeli- from where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Alpine arc.
Then, while returning to the city center, you can visit the Museo Casa Galimberti, the most important figure of the Partisan Resistance in Piedmont.
In the late afternoon, when the visit to the city is ending, you can "finish your day in style". You can choose to visit the Civic Museum, which is open until 6.30 pm and located within the Monumental Complex of San Francesco. Alternatively, you can end the day by sitting down for an aperitif in one of the many bars in the city centre.
As for the food and wine traditions, Cuneo is famous for several products. First of all, the "Cuneesi al Rhum," the chocolates we have already mentioned above. You can't leave Cuneo without carrying a bag of these tasty desserts. The ham from Cuneo has obtained the DOP recognition of "protected designation of origin"- it is very delicate and has a sweeter taste than the Parma ham. Do not miss a taste of local cheese, such as toma, tomini, raschera, and castelmagno — finally, the queen of the Cuneo table, the chestnut.
If you decide to stop for the night, a historic hotel is Palazzo Lovera, in the main street- it has an excellent restaurant too!
Cover Picture © istock/Valerio Giraudo
Like this story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.