Piedmont: An Unforgettable Vacation
An elegant breakfast was held to promote the beauty of the region of Piedmont. The audience included journalists in the culture, food, tourism, and sports sectors, along with people who are passionate about Italian culture.
The event, organized in collaboration with ENIT’s (Italian Government Tourist Board) New York office, was presented by Consul General Francesco Genuardi. He greeted the delegation and spoke with great enthusiasm: “Piedmont is a unique region with a very important past. In fact, it is the region that unified the rest of Italy. In the beginning of January 2017, the New York Times included Turin on its list of cities not to be missed. Piedmont has not only a great past but also a great future, as the delegation here will soon explain to you. Piedmont’s story is characterized by an incredible combination of different factors that make it particularly attractive.”
Maria Elena Rossi, general manger of Sviluppo Piemonte Turismo Srl, was the moderator of the panel composed of Mauro Carbone, general manager of Ente Turismo Alba Bra Langhe Roero and supervisor of The National Centre For the Study of Truffles Marco Albano, curator of the Juventus Museum, a multimedia and bilingual historical sports museum dedicated to the Juventus Football Club; Stefano Mosca, director of ATL Biella (Local Tourist Agency); and Gianni Miradoli from the tour operator Central Holidays, which organizes tourist packages for Americans who want to visit Italy.
An illustrious guest of the event was Marco Leona–Scientist in Charge of the Department of Scientific Research at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. The art scientist is the head of a team whose job is to discover hidden secrets in the museum’s works. Born in Ivrea, a town just outside the city of Turin, Leona is a point of pride for the region of Turin. He has been living in New York for the past thirteen years.
Exciting Experiences in the Region of Piedmont
Maria Elena Rossi began the conversation with an important statistic: more than 270,000 American tourists have visited Piedmont in 2015. This is a striking statistic, and it highlights the growing interest in the vast and constantly changing tourist offerings of the region.
“To allow the tourism market to expand, we need to present new innovative experiences,” Rossi affirms. “The thread that connects all of the testimonies that we are able to hear today is that they are all exclusive experiences that can be had in Piedmont based on our traditions and our culture in the various parts of the region. Today in the field of tourism we know that it’s important to live certain emotions and certain experiences. Therefore, we were thinking of presenting you with some of Piedmont’s offerings from the quality of Alba’s white truffles and fabulous wines to the textile industry and sports. For example, Juventus, the historic soccer team known worldwide, is becoming a tourist attraction thanks to the opening of a museum dedicated to the team’s history. Luxury car design is also very important to us, for example, FIAT.”
Any tourist who wants to visit Piedmont will find himself or herself in front of diverse, unique, and exciting offerings.
The Clothing Industry
The clothing industry, for example, is a great cultural tradition of the region. 80% of the best fabrics used in the luxury clothing found on New York’s 5th Avenue come from Piedmont, from Biella in particular. Textile businesses are now opening their doors to tourists to offer exclusive interactive experiences.
Stefano Mosca from ATL Biella offers his thoughts: “We are here to tell a story. We know that Milan is one of the most important Italian cities in the fashion world. Without Piedmont and without Biella, no fashion brands would exist. We produce we 80% of the best textile products. All of the great fashion designers come to Biella to supply themselves with the best fabrics. We want to open the doors of all the factories to allow you to experience how the best fabrics in the world are created. Quality has to do with sustainability. When we bring tourists in these factories, they will be surrounded by beautiful natural backdrops that show exactly how these fabrics were born. When you visit a textile factory, you will understand how complicated it is to produce quality fabrics, which have their foundations in raw materials. You can follow the whole assembly process from raw materials to the finished fabric, and there will also be the chance to do some shopping. Not only touching the fabric but also having that human interaction will make all the difference–meeting the workers, for example, the family members of the famous Ermenegildo Zegna Wool Mill.”
Manufacturers are certainly not the only ones who made a name for Piedmont in the world. It’s a land of great culture and longstanding artistic traditions.
Who better than Marco Leona, an art scientist at New York’s MET, to tell us about the artistic excellence of the region: “Piedmont is truly a special and unique place. Suffice to say that the dome of the Mole Antonelliana in the center of Turin is one of the largest non-reinforced stonework monuments in the world, and it’s the symbol of the city. The Mole Antonelliana, a former synagogue, defines the Italian skyline for those coming to Italy, not the Vatican as you may imagine. Many ancient civilizations crossed the Alps from France into Switzerland, and they arrived in Piedmont. It was a forced passage. They left important artistic and cultural testimonies here.”
Piedmont is an increasingly attractive destination, and today it draws visitors from all over the world. The region guarantees extremely high standards in terms of accommodations as stated by Gianni Miradoli, tour operator of Central Holidays, which organizes tourism packages to some of the most popular and important Italian destinations. "The services and accomodation in Piedmont are incredible. We send tourists to Tuscany and to Rome, but Piedmont is second to none. Our clients' enthusiastic feedback confirms this.”
The Charm of White Truffles
As if it were not enough, the region is also renowned for its gastronomic traditions. In particular, the production of white truffles from Alba is a delicacy and a unique rarity in the world.
Marco Carbone from the The National Centre For The Study of Trufles tells us, “White truffles from Alba are the most precious white truffles, which on their own are already the most prized because they can’t be cultivated. We have an annual production process that is linked to a natural cycle, the changing of the seasons. The white truffle is fascinating because truffle hunting is absolutely free. There’s no private property; therefore, anyone can go to look for truffles where he wants. If someone knows about some plants that produce the truffles, he must keep the secret. We developed our world around this. Visiting us means going with the truffle hunter and his dog, discovering that “backstage,” the environment behind the truffle, which its most important part, aside from its scent."
Juventus: More than Just a Soccer Team
Another of the region’s great attractions is the historic soccer team Juventus. Italian soccer has always been an important part of cultural identification. No longer just a simple team, the soccer association is opening up new business possibilities, starting from the foundation of a themed museum. We had the chance to chat with Marco Albano, curator of the museum, who spoke with us about the new initiatives connected with the team:
“When we talk about Juventus in this way, we’re not only talking about sports but also about entertainment. The Americans are our teachers in this because they’ve been able to create that stadium atmosphere that transcends sporting events. They go to the stadium with their kids and families. They go hours before the start of the game, and they even stay after just for fun. In Italy there still is no event like the Super Bowl. There’s the final of the Champions’ League, but it’s more of a media event. We, as Juventus, were able to create the atmosphere of a media event because the audience of Juventus matches is the largest in Italy, but it’s also a local event. At the stadium, there’s a full-fledged business because we generate a sales volume of 400 million Euros a year. It’s also a lifestyle business. By now, Juventus is like Harley Davidson, like Ferrari–a brand in all aspects. Those who wear it, those who live it, those who touch it commit to Juventus, not only as a team but also as a philosophy of live, as a style. There are strong and very marked brand values. Juventus, love it or hate it, black or white, without compromise. It’s something that either you love and you live with a sense of belonging, or you don’t live it at all.
Piedmontese character is strong. It’s the character of a land that has its cultural strength and its natural propensity to feel a bit like the center of the world in the great traditions of the Duchy of Savoia. This is how Maria Elena Rossi looks to define the excellence of the Piedmontese character: “The most important characteristic of the Piedmontese character is surely linked to its history of the Savoys, which has a lot to do with the seriousness, the trustworthiness, and also the hunt for excellence. It’s probably also a result of the fact that Turin was the capital of the kingdom and was surrounded by beauty, art, and culture. Furthermore, there was a strong proximity to the European courts. It’s also certainly a land that has had a strong push towards internationalization.”
This seriousness and this attention to quality are inevitably reflected in the business culture and in its products.
“Behind every quality product, there’s a lot of culture. Without culture, there’s no added value to the product. Today, we believe that the true value of a product on the market is the culture that it represents, that it brings with itself, and that distinguishes it. In Piedmont, there are still numerous examples of authentic Italian manufacturing, and therefore, there are still many opportunities to spread the Italian culture through these products. This is what we want to tell–unique experiences of shopping, of tastes, of visits that we believe can be some of the greatest cultural experiences.”
Stefano Mosca, director of ATL Biella closed with that thought, underlining, yet again, how the region of Piedmont is a place not to be missed on your list of places to visit around the world.