The Langhe is like Disney World for grown-ups. We have some of the best food and wine in the world, wonderful cycling and walking, ancient villages, beautiful views… if you’re an adult, we’ve got you covered. But what about children? They’re not usually quite so into wine tastings and michelin-starred dinners. That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty for the little ones to do though. But don’t just take my word for it, here’s what our daughter, Bee, 7, recommends….
“Massimo’s bikes are the best!” says Bee. Other electric bikes are available too, but wherever you get them from, kids absolutely love them. If your little ones are too little to ride their own bike, then BikeSquare in Novello (Massimo’s bikes) hires out child seats and trailers too. “We had a race and then went for lunch, and daddy was really sweaty and smelly,” explains Bee, lovingly. In my defence, even with a the motor pushing me along, some of the climbs are tough when you’re towing a 6-year old behind you! Anyway, Bee adores a day on the electric bikes and is constantly asking to do it again. And the best thing is, it’s great fun for adults too!
This one could be useful for when you get back home too… why not get a chef to teach your kids how to make pasta or pizza? Kids really enjoy getting their hands into the dough, spreading the flour everywhere and, of course, they love the final results. If you stay in a Villa, the chef can come to you, but otherwise many local restaurants offer classes for adults and children alike. “My pizza was definitely the best,” explains Bee, humbly. “I think I might be a pizza chef when I grow up. Or maybe a babysitter. Or the president.”
Le Colline di Giuca
There are a number of ‘Fattorie Didattiche’ (Eduacational Farms) around, where children can learn about animals, climb on tractors, see how cheese is made… but Bee’s favourite is Le Colline di Giuca in Baldissero d’Alba. It’s a huge park filled with wooden toys where children can roam free, learning about the Langhe and Roero as they play. There is a mud kitchen, a theatre, an area where they can plant vegetables… kids absolutely love it.
Walk in the Mountains
Some of Bee’s favourite summer days in recent years have been spent in the nearby mountains. At Pontechianale (1.5 hours from the Langhe) you can take a chairlift up to Rifugio Helios, spotting marmots as you go. At the top you can have lunch or go for an easy walk which takes you to a staggering view of Monviso.
Alternatively, head to Limone Piemonte (just over an hour). You can drive right up to Chalet le Marmotte, from where you can walk on the Alta Via del Sale, an old military road lined with forts for the kids to explore. “We walked all the way to France!” exclaims Bee, remarkably proud of herself considering the Via del Sale is right on the border…
Another option is Rifugio Mondovi, which has the “the best polenta ever” according to Bee. And she has tried a lot. The rifugio is in the beautiful Valle Ellero (an hour from the Langhe), and is easily walkable with kids.
Go for a swim
If you’re staying at Villa Ribota, this one is easy as you will have your own pool. Otherwise, there are several outdoor pools to choose from, and kids love them all. The largest is in Alba. They have several pools, slides and a large grassy area to play on. Alternatively, there are smaller pools in Diano d’Alba, Narzole and Dogliani, all of which also just happen to have good restaurants attached. “I like my own pool the most,” explains Bee. “But the one is Alba is fun as it has a slide and the one in Dogliani has really good pizza. The one in Diano is nice but it’s sooooooo cold!”
There is absolutely loads for kids to do in Turin. Bee’s current favourites include The Automobile Museum, The Museum of Cinema and Zoom (a really nice zoo/safari park with some amazing swimming pools). For slightly older children, the Egyptian Museum is totally unmissable. “Zoom is my favourite,” says Bee. “Even though you wouldn’t let me go in the pool. I liked the car place too as I got to see cars from when you were young. What’s it like to be sooooo old?”
Whatever you end up doing, rest assured that there is plenty to keep the little ones entertained in the Langhe. You could even try to get them into wine, but I never told you to do that…