Starting in the former Italian capital of Turin, home of Nutella and Ferrero Rocher FYI, this chocolate loving city with its tree-lined boulevards makes for the perfect start to an Italian road-trip adventure. With a cutting edge SUV Ford Kuga from their luxury Vignale range as a side-kick, cruising through the Piedmonte region couldn't have been any more spacious, or comfortable for that matter.
The Piedmonte region with snow-capped Alps in the background
Fringed by the snow-capped silhouettes of the Alps, Turin has no shortage of spectacular scenery as well being a foodie playground – it boasts the highest concentration of Michelin star restaurants in Italy. We took our Kuga for a spin to the Ceretto winery, where we tasted (just a little, we were driving after all) their Barolo and Barbaresco wines that spearhead this family-owned and run vineyard.
Driving through the vineyard in cars from Ford's Vignale range
Ceretto is just over an hour's drive from Turin, although seemingly less in the comfort of our car with its luxe-leather temperature controlled seats and excellent sound-system (who doesn't love a car sing-song?), Ceretto is worth the trip for the views alone and the grand-design worthy outposts. Guests can enjoy a hearty glass of red, or two, from what can only be described as a glass pod that's seemingly landed from outer space and perched itself over the 160 hectares of rolling vineyards.
The Ceretto vineyard and its amazing wine tasting pod
Or soak in the region, and the vino, within their other impressive glass fixture, 'The Cube' which connects to an extension of an existing cellar. This glass box, sans frame so as to not obstruct the view, enhances the surrounding landscape – it's safe to say Ceretto is a wine and architecture aficionado's dream.
Watching the sun set over the Ceretto vineyard at their Cube
It's also home to one of the regions, and Italy's most famed restaurants, Piazza Duomo, voted one of the top 20 in Italy and boasting a casual three Michelin stars. Notorious for its 21, 31, 41, 51 salad – that's a salad made with over 100 ingredients to you and I, all of which are lovingly grown in the nearby greenhouse and served up with tweezers to savour each delicate mouthful. It's far from your average bag of mixed leaves and the utensils, Murano glass bowl, and dashi broth in the saucer below all add to the drama of this famed salad. It is without a doubt the most OTT salad you'll ever eat.
The famed 21, 31, 41, 51 salad
From here we took our Ford Kuga to Lake Como to really experience the car and the scenery Italy has to offer. From the narrow cobbled roads of Bergamo, to the hustle and bustle of Milan, we then slowed the pace as we hit our final destination, the Grand Hotel Tremezzo on the 'Lago di Como'. As we came off the motorway and the views unfolded before us, it was clear to see why George Clooney has chosen this pocket of Italy as his home from home.
Views over Lake Como from the first floor balcony of The Grand Hotel Tremezzo
Dating back to the early 20th century this family owned hotel with its Art Nouveau style and lavishly decorated interior is a place of marvel. Before you even step foot in the hotel, you feel like you’ve arrived, thanks to their Instagram worthy floating pool in the lake and the impressive entrance, complete with gilt-framed roadside lift. The reception, with its plush red velvet sofas, displays of deep scarlet roses and, the best bit, a pick and mix display including all the favourites (flumps included) was the welcome that we needed, and verification that we were really going to like this place.
The water on water floating pool on the lake
We then took a tour of the hotel, and from the restaurants overlooking the lake with their candy-striped awnings, to the bar with every colour imaginable armchairs, to the all red billiard room, each was as ornate as the next.
The colourful T Bar
We saved the best until last, as it was our room, or more specifically the balcony complete with Jacuzzi overlooking the lake and nearby Villa Balbianello (James Bond fans will recognize it from Casino Royale) that really stole the limelight – views don't come much better than this!
The balcony from one of the Rooftop suites
While the Tremezzo really lives up to its name in appearance, it certainly is grand, the food is also worth a major shout out. For dinner we experienced the tasting menu in the hotels main restaurant La Terrazza, with dishes devised by Gualtiero Marchesi – the first Italian chef to gain a Michelin star (and refuse it!). With the most perfect of wine pairing for each course and from the gold leaf saffron risotto, to the perfectly pink veal, it was a meal, and hotel for the memory bank.
The balcony at T Bar
So if you're planning a last minute long weekend getaway for this bank holiday, and one that comes with an award winning spa…. a road trip through northern Italy ending at The Grand Hotel Tremezzo couldn't come highly recommended enough.
The T Spa infinity pool
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