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Luxury Getaway from Milan: Wine, Shopping, & Culture

Luxury Getaway from Milan: Wine, Shopping, & Culture

After you have explored Milan’s city center and familiarize yourself with its immediate surroundings, it’s time for a weekend getaway to the tranquil countryside. One of our favorite destinations for a luxurious weekend retreat is Alto Monferrato, a hidden gem in Northern Italy’s Piedmont region. In less than ninety minutes you are amid rolling hills, vineyards, and picturesque towns. Alto Monferrato offers captivating landscapes and a rich cultural heritage. 

48 Hours in Alto Monferrato

Here is our guide to discovering the charm of Alto Monferrato, from savoring local delicacies at a local vineyard, to exploring ancient Roman ruins and indulging in a shopping spree at the prestigious Serravalle Designer Outlet.

For this itinerary, we’ve planned a blend of relaxation, exploration, and a touch of indulgence in the heart of Italy’s enchanting countryside. 

DAY 1: Discovering the Charm of Alto Monferrato

Gavi

Gavi /Photo Wikimedia

Arrive early to watch the sun rise over the picturesque town of Gavi, known for its rich history and stunning landscapes. Take time to explore the medieval historical center, visit the impressive fortress, and savor the renowned Cortese di Gavi white wine, which has been produced in the region since the 17th century. 

Source: Gavi Tourism  Bureau 

What to See

Meander the cobblestoned lanes of Gavi and purposely get lost in the back streets. Be sure to peek inside the Romanesque San Giacomo church, where you will be awed by the peacock-blue vaulted ceiling and 700-year-old frescoes. The Gavi Tourism Bureau promotes “slow tourism” and offers a free map with a walking itinerary. Explore the Anello, the ring road that traces the ancient city walls and leads to the medieval Fortress, or follow the Via dei Palazzi to see the city center, churches, and architecture. 

Getting there: Gavi is about 100 km from Milan. By car, take the A7 from Milan to SP 161 and exit at Serravalle Scrivia, following signs for Gavi. To get there by train, go from Milano Centrale (the fast train is 1 hour 6 minutes) to Arquata Scrivia and then take local bus 36 to Gavi (26 minutes).

Where to Stay

The Villa Sparina Resort, located in the heart of the Alto Monferrato countryside, is the perfect getaway. Get comfy in one of the 33 charming rooms, complete with boutique hotel pampering amenities and views of its on-site vineyard. Certain to soothe your soul and revitalize your spirit.

Check in early and book a tour of their vineyard and cellar to choose your wine for your evening dinner. 

Getting there: By car, Villa Sparina is only 7 minutes away from Gavi. There are no public transportation options, but you can get a taxi or ask the resort to send one.  

Where to Dine

The La Gallina restaurant in Villa Sparina is where seasonal Italian dishes meet exceptional wines amidst vineyard views. Let the flavors of Piedmont tantalize your taste buds in a cozy and rustic setting.

 What to Eat

Agnolotti / Photo C. Abernethy

Apart from the local wines, the culinary scene in the region is a true delight for foodies. Piedmont’s gastronomy is a rich tapestry of flavors and traditions, from the iconic grissini, crispy breadsticks originating in Turin, to the exquisite Agnolotti stuffed pasta. Indulge in Brasato al Barolo, tender beef marinated in the region’s famous Barolo wine, or savor the delicate flavors of Vitello Tonnato, a dish of veal marinated in white wine and served with a creamy sauce. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste Piedmont’s artisanal cheeses, such as the flavorful Castelmagno and the creamy Tomino, adding a touch of sophistication to your culinary journey.

DAY 2:  A Dose of Culture and a Touch of Luxury

Libarna/ Photo MiC

Libarna, UNESCO World Heritage Site 

Discover the ancient Roman city of Libarna, a community that thrived from the 2nd century BC to the 5th century AD. Accidently discovered in 1820 while the railway was being built, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Libarna is a portal to the past, a glimpse into ancient Roman urban life. Wander through well-preserved ruins, from residential areas to the amphitheater, and enjoy quiet contemplation in the region’s most ancient cultural heritage sites.

Getting there: By car; Libarna is only 11 minutes away from Villa Sparina. There aren’t any public transportation options, but you can get a taxi or ask the resort to order one.  

Shopping at Serravalle Designer Outlet 

Shopping at Serravalle Designer Outlet /Photo courtesy McArthur Glen

The next stop is a shopping spree at Serravalle Designer Outlet, Europe’s largest luxury shopping destination with over 230 luxury brands offering discounts of up to 70%, this open-air village-style outlet promises a paradise for fashion enthusiasts. 

The outlet is like a small town, with charming Italian architecture and cobbled streets, with all the top Italian and international fashion brands, so take your time and pace yourself. Even if you are not in the mood for shopping, the atmosphere is pleasant and relaxing, with plenty of shady areas or sidewalk cafes. Stop to savor a delicious lunch at one of the outlet’s dining options, from casual eateries to gourmet restaurants. If you are traveling with kids, there’s a fun park and play area too. 

Cheese and meat board at Le Dolci Terre (Serravalle Outlet) / Photo C.Abernethy

Getting there: By car, the Serravalle Designer Outlet is only 9 minutes from Libarna. Using public transportation, take local bus 36 from Libarna to Serravalle Designer Outlet (about 19 minutes).

Returning to Milan by car from Serravalle is a one-hour drive on the A7. Without a car, you can get the Serravalle Designer Outlet shuttle bus, which goes directly to Central Station.

Add An Extra Day

Torino / Photo Wikimedia

If you want to extend your trip an extra day, venture to the small city of Alessandria and explore the elegant Galleria Guerci, a shopping haven reminiscent of Milan’s iconic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Discover a variety of shops, cafes, and boutiques, offering a blend of luxury and relaxation in the heart of the city.

If big cities are more your style, journey to Torino, where you will be captivated by the grandeur of the Palazzo Reale, a magnificent architectural gem exuding sophistication and timeless elegance. Or visit the Egyptian Museum, the second-largest collection of Egyptian artifacts outside Cairo. 

Hopefully, this itinerary to Monferrato, with stops at Villa Sparina, Libarna, and Serravalle Designer Outlet, promises a weekend of luxury, culture, and indulgence. 

Featured image: The terrace of La Gallina/ Photo courtesy #ThinkSerravalle

Article by Celia Abernethy, EasyMilano.com


Easy Milano

Easy Milano is the online publication for the international community of Milan. We offer practical tips, key information and essential insights about living and working in Italy. Easy Milano has been assisting English speaking expats in Milan since 1999.
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