It’s been about a month since our summer road trip through Italy and I’m still dreaming of all the wine, the beautiful countryside and the amazing pasta. One thing I’m not dreaming about? The miserable heat!
Here’s what I realized about gallivanting in 95-99 degree weather – no matter what you wear, you will
drenched in sweat glistening within 5 seconds of walking outside. It’s unlikely you’ll find any relief while you’re out and about since there’s virtually no AC in any public places. This is why you must eat lots and lots of gelato!
On the first leg of our trip, we spent 3 days in the Piedmont region in northern Italy. The countryside was so gorgeous and I loved the relaxed vibe of the small villages.
Here’s a peek at what I wore to beat the heat and also some photos of our shenanigans.
Day 1: Wandering Around Alba and Dinner in the Piedmont Vineyards
What I Wore (daytime):
Long Tall Sally Floral Shirt Dress
Marc by Marc Jacobs Crossbody Bag
While waiting for our check-in time at our accommodations, we toodled around the charming town of Alba in the scorching 95+ degree heat, had a light lunch outside where I became a sweaty grumpy mess and thankfully found some amazing gelato to cheer me up.
This LTS shirt dress is quite comfortable. Similar to my new button-up maxi from LTS, I have to wear a slip dress underneath it to avoid inadvertent skin flashing at the buttons when I’m sitting. I’m trying to decide if this button-gaping comes with the territory of all button-up dresses, if I have the wrong size or if the LTS dresses are just cut like this. On the one hand, it does get a bit warm wearing a layer under the dress. On the other hand, the slip dress helps to absorb/wick sweat thus keeping the dress itself a bit more dry.
What I Wore (evening):
Long Tall Sally Button-Up Mixed Print Maxi
Paul Green sandals
Pearl drop earrings and bangle bracelets
In the evening, we set out for dinner amongst the vineyards at Locande del Pilone. Our Google Maps navigation gave us two routes and I accidentally chose the one that took us down a very narrow, bumpy dirt road that seemed to dead end (although I’m sure a local who knew the area would have kept driving on it).Needless to say, Hans (our car) is not used to off-roading so we turned around and took the other route which was thankfully paved.
Once we arrived, we were rewarded with lovely views from the hilltop. I felt comfortable yet chic in my LTS button-up maxi. Even though the restaurant we ate at is very nice (and has been awarded a Michelin star), it’s also out in the middle-of-nowhere countryside and I felt like my LTS dress was the perfect choice for this outing since it’s not too fussy-fancy. I paired it with some pearl drop earrings, bangle bracelets, and my favorite Paul Green sandals. Click here to see my full review of this dress.
The dinner was simply fabulous! I’m used to receiving a small bite from the chef at a nice-ish restaurant shortly after sitting down, but we’ve never received this many small bites before our first course. And there were two more surprises after this before we even received our official first course. Wow!
We chose the multi-course tasting menu and I’m surprised I didn’t pop a button on my LTS dress by the end of the meal because the chef just kept sending” surprises” to the table! Later in the meal came the best pasta we’ve ever had – egg tajarin with sausage ragout. Such a yummy meal!
Day 2 – Wine Tour of Piedmont with Anna of Italianna.com
What I Wore:
The next day, we embarked on a full day private tour of the Piedmont region with our fearless and fun guide Anna of Italianna.com. If you’re ever in the market for a Piedmont wine tour, I cannot recommend Anna enough. Since she only offers private tours, you can work with her to customize your day based on your interests. Anna has such a great vibe and of course, a vast knowledge of the area.
Remember when I brainstormed my hot summer vacation outfits? I ended up wearing the white linen skirt and pink printed cotton top on this outing. These breathable fabrics really did help me feel more comfortable in the heat.
Enough talk about the heat! Let’s talk about wine. If you are ever in the market to learn about Barbaresco and Barolo wines in Piedmont, book a tour with Anna!
After Anna picked us up, little did we realize that we’d drive up the hill to visit the Rizzi Estate – the reddish house on the hill that we could see from the balcony of our room.
Like many of the wineries in Piedmont, Rizzi Estate is family owned and operated which I absolutely love. We had a leisurely chat and tasting of mostly Barbaresco wines with Enrico, the son of the proprietor and the chief winemaker. It was quite the lovely way to start the tour.
After taking in the countryside scenery for a bit, we stopped in the little commune of Neive for lunch. Neive is not a magnet for tourists since it is a bit out of the way making it refreshingly uncrowded!
We ate lunch at a little local place called Degusto Enoteca Con Cucina, and the food was once again quite delicious. The food we had on our honeymoon 5 years ago while visiting Florence, Venice and Rome was not so stellar (probably because we always found ourselves eating near tourist attractions). It seems one of the tricks to getting good Italian food is to get out into the countryside away from all of the tourist traps!
I have yet to meet a blob of cheese I don’t like and this burrata was some serious creamy goodness. Add a drizzle of olive oil and some cruda di parma and I’m like a pig in mud.
The pasta was once again superb!
And of course I had to have the gelato to finish because it’s a law that you must have gelato at least once per day while in Italy.
After lunch, we popped over to the commune of Barbaresco. We were already drenched in sweat so we figured why not embark on an almost heat-stroke inducing hike up some stairs in the oppressively hot weather to the base of the medieval tower. We were rewarded with some rather lovely views of the top of the neighboring bell tower, the river and surrounding countryside so it was worth the almost heat stroke.
Behold the lavender! This is my favorite photo from our time in Piedmont.
Our next stop was Fratelli Alessandria near the town of Verduno where we would taste our first Barolo wines. As the sign at the entrance suggests, this winery has belonged to the Alessandria family since 1870. Currently, the 4th and 5th generations of the family (husband, wife, husband’s brother and the son of the couple) are handling all aspects of the wine making.
We walked into the charming 18th century house and then down to the heavenly coolness of the underground cellar where the Barolo and other wines hang out in oak barrels for part of the aging process. Next, we tasted a bunch of Barolo wines of course.
Our last stop was to visit the vineyards and workspace of Alberto Voerzio, an ambitious, first-generation winemaker who is a year younger than me! Alberto is a meticulous perfectionist and does EVERYTHING himself from tending his vines to harvest to guiding the wines through the fermentation and aging process to bottling and labelling. He only produces a very small amount of wine each year but is quite popular thanks to his reputation for making such high quality wine so he often sells out fast!
We met him on the side of the road near El Morro and hoofed it up a steep hill (more sweating) to check out his beautiful Nebiolo grapes. I wanted to eat a grape or two but I’m sure that would have cost me a lot of money and the tour probably would have ended right then and there so I behaved myself. After checking out the vineyard, we went to his facility and tasted some of his wines. Yum yum!
Day 3 – Independence Day in Turino
What I Wore:
J.Crew Linen Polka Dot Dress
Red Bracelet from Noonday Collection
Paul Green sandals
On July 4, I put on my red, white and blue to represent for ‘Murica’s bday, and we took the train from Alba to Turin. Taking regional trains in Italy is quite the experience, but I won’t bore you with the details. In hindsight, we realized that we probably should have just gone to one of the local villages for a couple of hours instead of all the way to Turin since it was a miserable 99 degrees and there were hoards of sweaty people everywhere. Oh well! At least I felt super cool and cute in my linen dress.
Bottom line: If you ever get the chance to travel to the beautiful Piedmont region, you won’t be disappointed! And now I shall leave you with a few more of my favorite photos.
Sunset view over the vineyards from our B&B
A couple more scenes from Barbaresco
Did you go on any hot summer vacations this year? Since I seem to be having this “button-gaping” issue with my button-up dresses, does the same happen to you when you wear this style?
This post also shared on: Fashion Should Be Fun’s Fashion Friday Link-Up