Wednesday, 25 June 2014

We have fallen in love...

This love story begins online.  It started when I read a blogpost about the Piedmont region CLICK HERE.    "Ancient hilltop town...amazing views in all directions...its own wine...soak up the sun while drinking a cool glass of their white wine" (Noble, R.)  
You get the picture.   
Even before we'd left Milan, I'd fallen a little bit in love with Novello.
Only one and a half hour's easy drive from Milan, Novello sounded like the perfect place for a spring weekend and a great excuse to hire another Fiat 500.  
After a speedy trip across the flat plains which surround Milan, we left the traffic and drove into the gentle hills of the Piedmont.  I think it was as we went up the hill past Barolo, where the wine has become even more famous than the town, that Stefano began to fall in love too.
And then just outside Novello we turned down a small lane, winding through the chequered slopes of vineyards, to arrive at The Stra, a small winery which is also an agriturismo.
What is an agriturismo?
It's a particularly Italian concept. In 1985 the government wanted to encourage small scale farmers to stay on the land, so they developed laws to allow them to supplement their incomes by providing holiday accommodation, or to operate small restaurants on their properties. (CLICK HERE)  In the past when we've visited an argriturismo, whether it's been for a meal or an overnight stay, the food and wine has been fantastic as the owners try to serve their own produce.

At The Stra the highlight of our stay was the wine tasting offered by our host, Maresa.  She explained that their vineyard, and winery, has been operated by her husband Roberto's family for over four generations. Although they produce several outstanding red wines, including the famous Barolo, Barbera and Dolcetto, they are proudest of their white wine, Nas-cetta, as these grapes are only grown in this small area around Novello.
To read more about the history of this rare white wine CLICK HERE.
Maresa and Roberto are wonderful hosts.  Not only did we stock the boot of our little Fiat 500 with several boxes of their wine, but we vowed to keep this love story going. 
So in August, we will return to The Stra to spend a week lazing by the pool, strolling through the vines and sampling more of the food and wine from this little corner of the Piedmont.  

That's what happens when you fall in love. You can't stop dreaming of the next time you'll meet. 

Questo è solo l'inizio di questa storia d'amore. Salute!


  1. Jenny- this is beautiful! All of it! I love hearing about the lovely places you find- this one will definitely be saved for us to explore as well. XOXO- Heather

  2. Thanks Heather. It's great that we can get the best tips from others. Ciao

  3. Wonderful Jenny. Was just recommending this to a friend.

    1. Thanks for commenting Meaghan. It is an area we would recommend, although I'm loath to encourage too many visitors to Novello. It's such an quiet, pretty little village now.

  4. Amazing, I'm so glad you had a good time (and you clearly did if you're going back for more)! And great photos too... I can almost see our house in one of them! :-)

    1. Thank YOU for the inspiration. Perhaps we'll meet one day in the streets of Novello.

  5. We recently stayed at Stra! Probably the most wonderful place we stayed on our month long trip in Italy! (even met Richard and his family!!!) Happy to say all of our Stra wine made it back to the states! Maresa was FANTASTIC.....and the Langhe, MINDBLOWING. I find myself looking online for property for sale!!!! Milan was fun, too.....stayed in Porta Romana.

    1. Dana, I don't know how I missed your comment. Thank you for reading our blog. I hope you are still enjoying your taste of The Stra and planning your next trip.