E-BIKES, FLEA MARKETS and
WHERE TO FIND THEM
Over the past years we have had the chance to explore the region for ourself. While staying in Casa Bansella we would definitely suggest you to do the same! Off course you should and can do this on your own but maybe to get started we wrote down some nice things to do and places to visit!
Next to Agliano Terme there are some really nice villages nearby which provide you with wide range of bars, restaurants and markets. It is even possible to spend a day at the coast. Or visit major cities like Turin, Milano and Genova.
Moreover, have have written down some, some other highlights of the area. Like the best flea markets, best winemakers and a lovely route for your morning run.
Within WALKING DISTANCE
of CASA BANSELLA
On top of the adjacent hill, within walking distance of the house lies the small village of Agliano Terme.
AGLIANO houses around 1,500 inhabitants and over 20 wineries. It’s a lively village with a bakery, a biological butcher, and different grocery shops where you can find all kinds of locally sourced products. The whole region is known for its slow food production.
The village also has some small bars and restaurants. Make sure you go to La Dolce Vigna at the end of the afternoon, they have all the wines from the region, make a killer negroni and snacks known as aperativi will be served along with the drinks.
All throughout the summer the village organizes different events. Especially “dinner in the vineyards” was incredibly fun to do. You can find everything you want to know on their website.
Go on a WINE TASTING
The big thing of the region, which you can’t miss from all the grape fields, is wine. While staying in casa Bansella, we strongly recommend to do some tasting yourself. Within our village borders there are over 241 registered wine makers, almost all are small-scale and locally sourced, using traditional techniques.
Two doors down from the house there is Fratelli Castino the family winery run by Angelo and his son Samuel. Along with Angelo’s wife Anna (an amazing chef) they have been incredibly inviting neighbors ever since we arrived and provide us on a regular basis with their amazing distinctive wines and their delicious home made biscuits.
Within walking distance there is also Lionello of Poderi Rosso Giovanni, who is widely known for his excellent red Barbera wines, and Mateo of Filippa who produces a wide range of wines using grape varieties unique to this region. Both wine makers are also very involved with the village, so to go on tasting with them is also a perfect opportunity to get to know what else is going on.
Moreover, at the foot of the hill there is the excellent biodynamic winery run by Dr. Paolo Alliata named Villa Terlina. Paolo owns fields with grapevines of over 110 years old, and is by other local natural and biodynamic winemakers widely appreciated for his knowledge and expertise.
Rent an E-BIKE
If you are interested in exploring the region with something else than a car, we can really recommend renting an e-bike. Due to the hilly landscape, the e-bike has been the prefect tool for us to to discover the local surrounding. The renting facility will provide you with an app which sends you along the most beautiful routes. The bike rental is located just outside of the village of Agliano and is only a 10 minutes walk. The people operating the e-bike rental live above the renting facility and are very nice. Feel free to ask us to arrange it.
Go for a morning RUN
If you are into running, we have found the perfect track for your morning run. It is about 6 km long and will take you down the hill, across a busy street, up the hill to Agliano and back down again to the house. We prefer to run the track counterclockwise. It is quite challenging due to steep rise towards the village but from there it is mostly downhill. We also really recommend to bring some change so you can drink a cappuccino in one of the bars in the village on your way back.
What’s more to do in THE REGION
Some larger villages, close by and worth a visit are Nizza Monferato, Canelli and Aqui Therme.
In NIZZA, the nearest village, you will find many bars and great restaurants. There is a lovely shopping street with some great stores to buy local piemontese products. All throughout the summer events are organized on the town square.
CANELLI, nicknamed capitella di spumante, is known for the production of spumante wines. Visits (including a tasting) to one of the UNESCO world heritage wineries, known as Cattedrali sotterranee (underground cathedral’s), like Contratto or Coppo is a must. Also in Canelli you will find the world famous and impressive Bocchino distillery where the Bocchino family have been producing Grappa’s for over a century. Grappa is something particular you have to appreciate, but the award winning gin they make, Macaja Gin, is also truly amazing.
AQUI TERME is known for its thermal baths, very enjoyable during every season. The city is also famous for its award-winning restaurants. Moreover, there is a small contemporary art museum that often holds interesting exhibitions.
Larger cities like Asti, Alba and Bra, are only 15 – 30 minutes by car and certainly worth a visit.
In ASTI, weekly food and vintage markets are held on its triangular town square. There are museums, cathedrals and a beautiful covered market place where you can find all kinds of fresh products every morning.
As for BRA, regarded as the city of cheese, the nickname itself should be reason enough for a visit. Here you will find the headquarters of the slow food movement, and the city organizes multiple festivities around the subject.
Flea / food markets
During the weekends, all over the region, there are flea/antique and (biological) food markets are held. If you are interested to visit them, it is crucial to know when and where to find them. When you get the chance, we certainly suggest doing grocery shopping at local food markets and shops, as it is cheaper and you support local producers.
Here is our selection:
Flea / Antique markets
- MONCALVO: 1st Sunday of the month.
- TURIN: 2nd Sunday of the month (Gran Balon flea market, if you are a fan of antique markets certainly worth a visit).
- NIZZA MONFERRATO: 3rd Sunday of the month.
- ASTI: 4th Sunday of the month.
- In Alba there is a weekly Mercati della Terra. A Slow Food endorsed ecological market hosted every Saturday morning.
- Both Nizza Monferrato as Asti organize on the 2nd Saturday of the month a biological food market.
Regular food markets
- ASTI: each Wednesday and Friday
- NIZZA MONFERRATO: each Friday
- MONCALVO: each Thursday
Unfortunately, bargaining is an important aspect of buying on flea markets in Italy. If you need some advice: offer around 70% of the asking price. Usually you both work your way towards each other and end up at around 80 / 85 % of the asking price. It becomes cheaper when you buy more things.
For more information on more markets, like the yearly TRUFFLE FESTIVAL in Alba, click here.
NATURAL Wine Makers
Even though the ASTI and ALBA regions are often very traditional regarding the production of wine, there are some producers who experiment with new and environmental friendly ways to minimize their ecological footprint and produce pure wines from a non intervened processes.
As mentioned earlier Villa Terlina is just down the hill and widely known for their expertise regarding biodynamic land cultivation and their high quality wines.
Not far from Casa Bansella is the winery Trinchero by Ezio Giacomo. They make natural wines of all kind of local grapes and especially their Grinoligno vintage is truly amazing.
A few hills in the other direction, behind the village of San Marzano Oliveto, is the winery Carussin. A family run winery and simply a lovely place to visit. During the summer, in the weekends, it is possible to have a simple dinner of cold cuts and salads along with the great wines you can taste, you can always contact them to see what else is going on. The brothers Mateo and Luca are both warm hosts and it reflects in the relaxed atmosphere where their friends, the nonna’s and the grand children all mingle.
TORINO, MILANO, GENOVA
Cities like Turin, Milano and Genova are all relatively close by. This makes the house perfectly located to visit cultural highlights in the region, to go for a day of shopping, or just to enjoy the beach.
TURIN, capital of the Piedmont, is only an hour by car. With the Alp’s as decor, Turin is an amazing city to visit. Culturally, Turin had always stood in the shadow of Milan but over the past decades, the former industrial city has been catching up, yet without being discovered by the mass tourists. You won’t find the busses filled with tourist like you do in the center of Milano. This makes the city easy going to stroll through without at some point feeling like a sardine in a can. Along with plenty of bars, great restaurants, musea and food and flea markets, There are some cool places on the edge of the city to go to. There are some really cool industrial sites turned into parks and cultural spaces like the Parco Dora and the former Vanchiglia railway yard. The former Fiat factory with a test circuit on top of the roof. And the contemporary art museum Castello di Rivoli.
MILANO…. , where to start…. Milano is by far the biggest city in the region and the cultural capital (arguably) of Italy. Trying to discover it by foot is nearly impossible. To stay, we recommend the neighborhood of Isola. A lively district in the north of the city with lots of bars, perfect for late at night or at aperitivo. The museums, if I HAVE to choose. The Pirelli Hangar, a 200.000 m2 tire factory turned into a modern art gallery and much more. And the contemporary art museum of the Prada Foundation, Along with the amazing architecture and expositions it has a bar interiorly designed by Wes Anderson. A visit to the museum can perfectly be combined with a lunch or dinner at Cascina Cuccagna, a slow food restaurant and a serene place within a stressful city, it is also possible to stay there in the guest house. An other great restaurant for seafood enthusiasts is the restaurant Langastoria Bistrot. Before being seated you might first want to check out their cocktail bar. Be aware that it is very expensive but with regard to the quality of the food and the Milanese niveau riche atmosphere I’d say it is definitely worth a visit.
GENOVA has recently gained popularity through the books of Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer. It is an incredibly dense, vibrant and romantic city, that feels less ‘clean’ and refurbished as Milan or Turin. The center consists mainly of small alleys and squares, where you can easily disappear into. But also along the coast there are really nice places to visit. The neighborhood of Boccadassa is stunning and we can really recommend to enjoy your Sunday lunch between the Italian families in one of the fish restaurants like Ristorante 5 Maggio.
A day at the BEACH
Spending a day at the beach is also perfectly possible. Depending on where you want to go, the coast is about 1 hour / 1.5 hours driving from the house. You can always go to Genova but relatively close and remote from the mass tourist is the small coastal town of Noli. NOLI is a lovely little roman fishing village with a wide beach and is considered to be a hidden gem along the Italien reviera. Along with a great beach there are plenty of small restaurants to enjoy.
If you are into hiking, there are also some really nice coastal trails you can find there. They lead past all kinds of historical sites, such as abandoned roman church and provide beautiful views of the coast. The municipality has a very accessible website with more information about the trails and its history.