Piedmont Region Italy: Map, Culture, and Cities to Visit

The Piedmont region, also known as Piemonte in Italian, is located 45° 4′ 0″ N, 7° 42′ 0″ E in the northwest corner of Italy. With an area of 25,402 square km, Piedmont borders Switzerland and France on the north and west, the Italian regions of Lombardy on the east, Emilia-Romagna on the southeast, and Liguria on the south. The region is surrounded on three sides by the Alps mountains. The capital and largest city of Piedmont is Turin. As of 2023, the president of Piedmont is Alberto Cirio.

Piedmont has an estimated population of over 4 million people according to citypopulation.de, and is known for its food, wine, nature, and history. The region’s location between the Alps and the Po Valley leads to diverse landscapes, from high mountains to rolling hills dotted with vineyards and castles. Piedmont also has a strong cultural identity, seen in its architecture, art, and way of life. Key elements of Piedmont culture include food, wine, sports such as football and basketball, and automotive engineering.

Where is the Piemonte region located in Italy?

Piedmont is located in the northwest corner of Italy, with borders to France and Switzerland. It is considered part of northern Italy and is surrounded on three sides by the Alps mountains.

To the north and west, Piedmont shares borders with the French region of Rhône-Alpes and the Swiss canton of Valais along the dramatic peaks and passes of the Alps. The Colle delle Finestre mountain pass connects Piedmont to areas of France like Maurienne. To the northeast, Piedmont borders the Swiss canton of Ticino.

To the east, Piedmont borders the Italian regions of Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna in the Po River valley, Italy’s longest river running east to west. To the southeast along the Po, Piedmont abuts the Emilia-Romagna cities of Piacenza and Parma.

To the south, along the densely forested maritime Alps, Piedmont borders with the region of Liguria and the Italian Riviera coastline along the Ligurian Sea. The Colle di Cadibona and Colle di Nava mountain pass connect Piedmont to Liguria and towns like Savona and Imperia.

Due to its strategic position between northern Europe and the rest of Italy, Piedmont has been influenced by French and Swiss culture and cuisine. The region is easily accessible for European visitors arriving via Turin Airport, Milan Airports, or Genova Airport. The region also attracts visitors from elsewhere in Italy, arriving by car, train, or air.

What is the population of Piemonte? 

As of 2023, the population of Piedmont stands at around 4,240,736 million inhabitants, making it the 4th most populous region in Italy after Lombardy, Campania, and Lazio. Piedmont has a relatively low population density at about 167 inhabitants per square kilometer, compared to the national average of 200.

The population is concentrated mostly around the metropolitan area of Turin, which has nearly 1.8 million inhabitants. This accounts for over half of Piedmont’s total population in one urban area.

Other major cities include Novara, Alessandria, Asti, and Cuneo. Smaller but significant cities include Rivoli, Pinerolo, Moncalieri, Nichelino, Settimo Torinese, Verbania, Vercelli, Biella.

Piedmont has a negative natural population growth, with more deaths than births annually. However, the population has remained relatively stable due to immigration, mainly from elsewhere in Italy and countries such as Romania, Morocco, and Albania.

Tourism in Piedmont, according to a popular italian website Ansa.it, attracts over 4.7 million visitors per year. Recent statistics, report a boost to the services and hospitality sectors. Piedmont relies on immigration to maintain population levels and fill jobs.

Map of Italy Piedmont 

Map of Piedmont Region Italy

What are the Geographical features of Piedmont? 

Piedmont is a geographically diverse region, marked by contrasts between mountainous and flat areas. The Alps dominate the geography in the northern and western areas of Piedmont. The tallest peak is Rocciamelone at 3,538 m. Other major mountains include Monviso, Monte Rosa, and Cervino. These mountains contain many ski resorts and are popular for climbing, hiking, and other sports.

The Po River flows through the eastern part of Piedmont, creating a flat, fertile valley ideal for agriculture. The iconic countryside here features rows of vineyards producing the region’s famous wines. The Po Valley is densely populated and contains over 50% of Piedmont’s inhabitants.

Between the Alps and Po Valley, the Piedmont landscape transitions into gently rolling hills marked by castles and vineyards. This area includes the Langhe and Monferrato zones, famous for wine and truffles.

Other major rivers in the region include the Tanaro, Dora Riparia, and Stura di Lanzo, flowing down from the Alps. The large lakes of Maggiore, Orta, and Viverone can also be found in Piedmont.


The Alps dominate the geography of north and west Piedmont along the borders with France and Switzerland. There are 38 major ski resorts located across different alpine valleys and towns, such as Sestriere, Claviere, San Sicario, Limone Piemonte, and Alagna. The Via Lattea ski area contains over 400 km of slopes and pistes.

The Alpine peaks provide stunning views and are popular for hiking, climbing, and mountaineering in summertime. The Po, Dora Riparia, and Stura di Lanzo rivers have their headwaters in the glaciers of the Alps. Passes like the Colle delle Finestre and Colle della Maddalena allow passage through the mountains.


The Po River is the most important river as it cuts east to west through Piedmont, creating a major valley and plains region. The Po is fed by dozens of tributaries descending from the Alps, such as the Dora Baltea.

Other key rivers include the Tanaro, which flows from the Ligurian Alps past cities like Alba and Asti. The Dora Riparia flows from the western Alps past Turin, while the Stura di Lanzo flows from the high Alpine valleys down to Turin.

These rivers and their valleys have been important trade and transportation routes since Roman times. Canals and irrigation diversions provide essential fresh water for agriculture in the valleys.


In addition to its mountains and rivers, Piedmont has some scenic lakes. Lake Maggiore is the most popular, set on the border with Switzerland. The resort towns of Stresa, Verbania, and Cannobio draw tourists to Maggiore.

Lake Orta near Omegna is a quieter alternative, surrounded by forested mountains. Lake Viverone, south of Turin, offers beaches, windsurfing, and rows of vineyards along its shores. Smaller lakes include Sirio, Mergozzo, and Candia.

What to Visit in Piedmont?

Turin: The capital of Piedmont has many popular tourist attractions and activities. Top sights include the Royal Palace, Egyptian Museum, National Automobile Museum, and Basilica di Superga. The famous Shroud of Turin, believed to be the burial cloth of Jesus, is located in the Turin Cathedral.

Langhe Region: The Langhe region is famous for its rolling hills, vineyards, charming villages and medieval castle towns like Barolo, La Morra and Serralunga d’Alba. Key places to visit include Alba, Barbaresco and Pollenzo. The scenery makes an ideal setting for wine tours and truffle hunting.

Northern Piedmont: In northern Piedmont, Lake Maggiore offers beautiful lakeside scenery and resort towns like Stresa which has islands and villas. The medieval village of Orta San Giulio on Lake Orta is another charming destination. Visitors can also explore the Alpine valleys with mountaineering areas like Monte Rosa and Cervino.

Southern Piedmont: The regional capital of Cuneo provides a gateway to exploring southern Piedmont and valleys like Valle Gesso dotted with ski resorts. The area offers hiking trails, traditional cuisine and charming mountain villages.

Central Piedmont: The central region contains important cities like Asti, Alessandria, and Casale Monferrato, each with historic architecture and cultural sights. This area is home to many of Piedmont’s vineyards and wineries open for tours and tastings.

How to Arrive in Piedmont: Transportation and Airport

Piedmont is easily accessible by air, train, car, and bus. Turin Airport is the main international airport for the region, with connections across Europe and to some intercontinental destinations. Major airlines provide service from Turin to Rome, London, Paris, Barcelona, and Frankfurt, among other hubs.

Milan’s airports, Malpensa and Linate, are around 90 minutes from Turin by direct high-speed train. These airports have many more global connections. Genoa Airport to the south is another option.

High-speed Frecciarossa and Italo trains connect Turin and other major cities in Piedmont to Rome, Naples, Venice, Milan, Genoa, and other Italian destinations in 3 hours or less. The extensive regional train network efficiently connects points within Piedmont.

Driving to Piedmont is straightforward via Italy’s well-developed highway system. Key autoroutes include the A4 from Milan, A21 from Brescia, A5 from Aosta, and A6 from the French border. Scenic mountain passes like the Colle della Maddalena allow arrival from France and Switzerland.

Intercity buses operated by Flixbus provide an affordable option for getting to Piedmont from cities across Italy and Europe. Local buses run by GTT serve the Turin metropolitan area.

What are the most Famous Cities in Piedmont? 

Piedmont contains thousands of towns and villages, but below are ten of the most popular and famous destinations based on visitor numbers, attractions, and amenities:

Turin (Torino)

Turin is the largest city and capital of Piedmont, with a metropolitan population of over 1.8 million. It is located on the Po River and is surrounded by the Western Alps. Turin is famous as the home of FIAT automobiles and contains museums like the Egyptian Museum, the National Cinema Museum, and the iconic Mole Antonelliana Tower. Turin hosted the Winter Olympics in 2006.


Novara has a population of around 103,469 people and is located west of Milan, near the border with Lombardy. Historic sights include the Broletto town hall and towering basilica. Novara is an agricultural center and hosts an important fair each year. It sits near beautiful countryside and rice paddies.


Alessandria is found in southeast Piedmont along the Tanaro River. With a population of around 92,971, the city has a medieval quarter and citadel fortress. It is an important railway junction between Turin, Milan, and the Ligurian coast.


Asti population, estimated at  75,030, gave its name to the famous sparkling white wine produced in the region. The Palio horse race takes place here each year. Asti contains medieval towers, such as the Torre Troyana, along with historic palaces and churches.


Vercelli (population 44,967) lies between Turin and Milan and is renowned for rice cultivation in the flooded paddies of the Vercellese. Historical sights include the impressive Romanesque Gothic cathedral, the 13th-century Basilica of Sant’Andrea, and ancient Roman ruins.


Cuneo (population estimated  56,567) sits at the foot of the Maritime Alps and is surrounded by vineyards. It provides a gateway to exploring the Valle Gesso and hiking in the nearby mountains. The area is famous for fonduta cheese and anchovy sauce.


Biella (population estimated 46,000) is found northwest of Turin near the foothills of the Alps. Wool and textile production are important local industries. The city contains medieval and Renaissance architecture, such as the Baptistery of San Giovanni.


Ivrea (population estimated 24,409) was the historical center of the Duchy of Ivrea and today contains a well-preserved medieval old town. It is home to the famous Battle of the Oranges carnival. Ivrea also has ancestral ties to the Olivetti typewriter company.


Verbania (population estimated 31,072) is located on Lake Maggiore and is a popular tourist destination. It includes the lakeside villages of Intra, Pallanza, and Suna. The area offers villas, gardens, walking trails, and ferry rides.


Alba (population estimated  33,059) is located southeast of Turin and is surrounded by vineyards. It is famous for its white truffles, wine, chocolate, and medieval towers and palaces. The city hosts an annual truffle fair that is popular with food lovers.

What are the safest cities in Piedmont? 

According to crime statistics,taken from numbeo.com -Piedmont has relatively safe cities compared to other parts of Italy. Some of the safest cities based on low crime rates include:

  • Rivoli: This town near Turin has only Moderate rates of crime, such as petty theft. Violent crime is rare, helped by having a small population under 50,000.
  • Cuneo: The provincial capital of Cuneo is considered very safe, helped by the small historic city center. Violent and property crime rates are minimal.
  • Asti: This small city has few violent crimes annually. Petty crimes like purse snatching or pickpocketing do occur but are not common.
  • Verbania: Located on Lake Maggiore, Verbania sees nearly no violent crime, with only minor property crime. It is perceived as very safe.
  • Alba: Crime rates, in general, are low in Alba, which helps attract tourists. The small, community-oriented city sees few incidents of any type of crime.

Other cities like Alessandria, Biella, Vercelli, and Novara are also regarded as quite safe overall, helped by their smaller size. Caution should still be used in any city as petty theft exists. But violent crime is rare.

What are the most dangerous cities in Piedmont?

Though Piedmont is generally quite safe, some cities see higher crime rates than others:

  • Turin – As a major metropolitan area, Turin sees higher rates of petty theft and violent crimes than the regional average. Certain areas should be avoided at night.
  • Saluzzo – This small town has issues with drug usage and related crimes. Burglary and assaults are not uncommon relative to the population.
  • Novara Petty crimes often occur in the city center. There is organized criminal activity related to agriculture and forced labor in the countryside.
  • Alessandria Alessandria has seen an influx of immigrants, leading to increased petty crimes. Gang violence occasionally flares up.
  • Biella  – Robberies and assaults occur more frequently here than in other small Piedmont towns.

However, these cities still maintain reasonable safety precautions and low crime rates compared to major metropolises. Simple awareness of surroundings helps prevent most issues when visiting.

What is the Best Time to Visit the Piedmont Region in Italy? 

Piedmont can be visited year-round, but spring and autumn are considered the best times due to pleasant weather.

Spring (March-May) sees temperatures rising into the 15-25C range with a mix of rain and sunshine. The winter snows melt in the Alps, reopening hiking trails. Spring is ideal for cycling, trekking, and exploring cities like Turin without summer crowds. Flowers like tulips and daffodils bloom across Piedmont.

Summer (June-August) is the peak tourist season with higher prices and crowds. Temperatures frequently surpass 30C. Activities include boating on lakes, river rafting, and hiking in the Alps, though rain is possible—many Italians vacation in Piedmont’s lakes and mountains during summer.

Autumn (September-November) has warm days around 20-25C and cooler nights, ideal for sightseeing and wine tasting. Fall foliage transforms the hilly countryside with orange, red, and yellow leaves. Alba’s truffle fair takes place in October. Some tourist sites have reduced hours by November.

Winters are cold, though major cities have Christmas markets. Ski resorts open from December through March with excellent snow conditions in the Alps. January and February have freezing temperatures and the most snow accumulation. Roads may be impacted.

  • Wine tasting: September-November
  • Truffle hunting: October-December
  • Hiking and biking: April-October
  • Swimming: June-August
  • Skiing and snowboarding: December-March
  • Museum visits: April-June and September-October
  • Festivals and events: Throughout the year

What is the traditional food of Piedmont? 

Piedmont is renowned for its distinctive cuisine using high-quality local ingredients. Famous dishes and products of Piemonte include:

  • White truffles – Rare and expensive fungi from Alba used to top pasta, risotto, beef, and eggs. Truffle hunting season is October-November.
  • Bagna cauda – A warm garlic, anchovy, and olive oil sauce for dipping vegetables. Originally from Asti.
  • Agnolotti – Small stuffed pasta pouches commonly filled with meat. Typical of the Cuneo region.
  • Brasato al Barolo – Pot roast braised in the renowned Barolo red wine.
  • Vitello tonnato – Veal covered in a creamy tuna sauce, invented in Turin.
  • Carne cruda – Raw beef from Piedmont’s Fassona cows, seasoned with olive oil, lemon, and parmesan.
  • Castelmagno and Robiola cheeses from the mountains.
  • Hazelnuts from the Langhe region used in desserts like torta meringata.
  • Gianduja chocolate, made with hazelnuts, invented in Turin.
  • Panettone – Sweet yeast bread studded with raisins originally from Milan but now iconic across Piedmont.
  • Cardinale – Vermouth and bitter aperitif wine from the Alpine hills.

What are the most famous Piedmont wines? 

Piedmont produces some of Italy’s most prized DOCG wines from grape varieties like Nebbiolo and Barbera. Famous wines include:

  • Barolo – Prestigious bold red made from Nebbiolo grapes in the villages around Alba. Requires extensive aging.
  • Barbaresco – Elegant red from Nebbiolo grapes grown near Alba, aged for years in oak barrels.
  • Barbera d’Asti – Fruity, lower tannin red from Barbera grapes near Asti. Easy drinking and affordable.
  • Gavi – Popular dry whites made near Gavi from the Cortese grape with citrus and almond notes.
  • Asti – Sweet, sparkling white made from Moscato Bianco grapes around Asti. Low alcohol content.
  • Gattinara – Fuller-bodied red from Nebbiolo grapes produced in the hills near Vercelli.
  • Ghemme – Blended reds from Nebbiolo and other grapes aged around Novara.
  • Roero – White made from Arneis grapes and reds from Nebbiolo in the Roero zone near Alba.
  • Erbaluce di Caluso – Crisp, lean white from Erbaluce grapes around Caluso.
  • Dogliani – Reds from the Dolcetto grape near Cuneo with plum and spice flavors.

The Langhe region between Alba and Barolo produces many of Piedmont’s most acclaimed wines. The Monferrato zone around Asti and Alessandria is another top wine area. Lesser known vines are grown in Canavese near Turin and parts of the Alps.