How to become authentically Piemontese in five easy steps

I’ve joined a blogging group, #Blogging Piemonte. They gave me no choice. A group of women can be really very persuasive. Every month we’ll all write something on the same topic, be it food, wine, travel or life here in Piemonte. Our first topic is ‘authenticity’. Check out all the other blogs, the links are at the bottom of the page.

Don’t fancy looking like a tourist on your next trip to Piemonte? Here are five tips to help you become authentically Piemontese!

1. Learn some dialect.

Everybody in Piemonte speaks at least a few words of Piemontese, even our Albanian builders. Head to some of the smaller villages though and it’s not uncommon to hear entire conversations in what sounds like a mix of Dutch, Welsh and Geordie with a hint of Italian thrown in. Here are a few key words to get you started:

Mersi – grazie, thanks

Bin – bene, good

Bon dí – bongiorno, hello

Dman – domani, tomorrow

Ca – casa, house

Monsu – signore, Mr

Ista – estate, summer

2.Park it like you stole it

Parking spaces were almost certainly an English invention, much like queues and politeness. In Piemonte, they should be seen as a loose guide at best, perhaps a handy suggestion as to where you could park if you wanted to. On the other hand, you could also just ignore them, parking straight across four spaces and half on a pavement. Slotting your car neatly between the lines will immediately identify you as a tourist and should therefore be avoided at all costs.

Sometimes 6 spaces doesn't quite cut it...
Sometimes 6 spaces doesn’t quite cut it…

3. Learn about food

The Piemontese appreciate their food. They can, and regularly do, talk about it for hours. If you want to fit in, make sure you eat ‘local’, ideally knowing someone who grows or makes the ingredients, and be sure to emphasise that even though the food you’re eating is among the best you’ve ever tasted, your mother’s cooking is still miles better.

When not working, eating or drinking, the Piemontese can mostly be found racing donkeys
When not  eating, drinking or working, the Piemontese can mostly be found racing donkeys

4. Work hard

This will be a tough one to accomplish while on holiday, but bear with me… the Piemontese are like machines. There are 90-year old women here who work in the vineyards every day, and you can often hear tractors chugging through the hazelnut trees at midnight. Even the builders here work hard. They turn up at 8am and leave when it gets dark. Of course they always take an hour or so for a proper lunch (see point 3) but when you’re working that hard you need a bit of sustenance!

5. Wine wine wine wine wine

Taste it, love it, appreciate, but don’t take it too seriously. The Piemontese understand when to drink a simple Dolcetto and when to push the boat out with a nice Nebbiolo, but most of all they know that wine should be enjoyed rather than worshipped. Sure, wine is a big deal here, but it’s also just a drink. In fact, as one local Barolo producer recently told us: “Today’s top Barolo is tomorrow’s urine.” Not quite the stuff of motivational posters, but a good point nonetheless!

Feeling motivated yet?
Feeling motivated yet?

Read what the others have to say about authenticity and follow along with the hashtag #BlogPiemonte

Eptrad: “That’s an Authentic Start!”

Turin Epicurean Capital: “Living Turin style”

Turin Mamma: “Why I Draw the Line at Using the Word “Authentic””

The Entire Pizza: “Forced to Live Authentically in Piemonte”

Wine & Truffles: “Authentic Living in the Alta Langa”

Living in the Langhe: “How to Become Authentically Piemontese in 5 Easy Steps”

Texas Mom in Torino: “Authenticity: The evolution of this Texas mom to an Italian mamma”

Simply Italiana: “Finding Authenticity as a Foreigner in Italy”

ItaliAnna: “Piemonte = Authenticity”

Bailey Alexander: “Save Yourself by Saving the Planet: the real benefits of growing a garden”

24 thoughts on “How to become authentically Piemontese in five easy steps

  1. I love this! You know more Piemontese than me. And the Barolo quote is great. I’m sure the producer didn’t want his/her name to be quoted too!

  2. Love hearing the Piemontese dialects, I actually got to understand more of the dialects every time we stayed in Murazzano, more so than Italian! Ah well as they say “Buna Nuch a tuci”

  3. Richard, it’s a pleasure to find your site, thanks to Lucia’s post on the Piemonte bloggers. My husband and I are hoping to get there later this summer, so I shall look to your site for inspiration.

  4. May I also suggest “Piutost’ che nient’ l’è mej piutost” (‘rather’, i.e. something, is better than nothing)? Use it and you’ll be a pro.

  5. Having been born a Piemontese I can still be there thanks to your blog and I love this post especially. Ciau !! Vera

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