Here in the Langhe we have some of the best food and wine in the world, wonderful cycling and walking, ancient villages, beautiful views… but if you’re travelling with kids, your needs might be slightly different. There are only so many wine tastings and michelin-starred dinners you can drag a 6-year-old to before they start to revolt.
So, here are a few ideas of what to do with your children on your next trip to Barolo. And the best thing is, all of these activities are fun for adults too. So it’s a win-win!
Electric bikes are great fun for adults and are the perfect way to see the Langhe, but kids absolutely love them too. They enjoy the feeling of wind in their hair, the speed as you cruise downhill and, most of all, they love watching you get red and sweaty as you struggle back up the other side.
BikeSquare in Novello hires out bikes with child seats and trailers, so even if your little one is just a bit too little to ride their own bike, they can still come with you. Our daughter absolutely adores a day on e-bikes and I’m pretty sure your kids will too.
For slightly older kids, a private cooking class will not only be fun, but could also be useful for when you get back home! Local chefs can tailor classes to your children, teaching them to make pasta or pizza and introducing games and competition into the process to keep things exciting. Our daughter loves getting her hands into the dough, spreading the flour everywhere and, of course, eating the final results. If you stay in a Villa, the chef can come to you, but otherwise many local restaurants offer classes for adults and children alike in their kitchens.
Walk in the Mountains
Some of our most memorable family summer days in recent years have been spent in the nearby mountains. At Pontechianale (1.5 hours from the Langhe) you can take a chairlift up to Rifugio Helios. It’s a long ride, but you can spot marmots as you go. At the top have lunch at the rifugio or go for an easy walk which takes you to a staggering view of Monviso. If you’re feeling more energetic you can walk to a peak called Tre Chiosis. It’s take a couple of hours but isn’t particularly technical.
Alternatively, head to Limone Piemonte (just over an hour). From the borgata of Limonetto you can drive right up to Chalet le Marmotte, from where you can walk on the Alta Via del Sale, an old military road lined with forts for the kids to explore. In the summer you can also hire e-bikes up there and explore a bit more of this beautiful area.
Another option is Rifugio Mondovi, which has the “the best polenta ever” according to our daughter. The rifugio is in the beautiful Valle Ellero (an hour from the Langhe), and is easily walkable with kids. From there, you can walk up to a lake or even hit one of the surrounding peaks if you are feeling more adventurous.
Le Colline di Giuca
There are a number of ‘Fattorie Didattiche’ (Eduacational Farms) dotted around the Langhe, where children can learn about animals, climb on tractors, see how cheese is made… Il Pascoli di Almatea and Cascina Gabutti are two of the best. Our daughter’s favourite, though, is Le Colline di Giuca in Baldissero d’Alba. It’s a huge park filled with wooden toys where children can roam free, learning about the Langhe and Roero as they play. There is a mud kitchen, a theatre, an area where they can plant vegetables… kids absolutely love it.
Go for a swim
If you’re staying at Villa Ribota, this one is easy as you will have your own pool. Otherwise, there are several outdoor pools to choose from, and kids love them all. The largest is in Alba. They have several pools, slides and a large grassy area to play on. Alternatively, there are smaller pools in Diano d’Alba, Narzole and Dogliani, all of which also just happen to have good restaurants attached.
Turin is a vastly underrated city, and what’smore, there is absolutely loads for kids to do there, including The Automobile Museum, The Museum of Cinema and Zoom (a really nice zoo/safari park with some amazing swimming pools). For slightly older children, the Egyptian Museum is totally unmissable.
Whatever you end up doing, rest assured that there is plenty to keep the little ones entertained in the Langhe. You could even try to get them into wine, but I never told you to do that…