Each season has its charms in this corner of north-west Italy. From the deep winter snow to the fall leaves, the April showers to the heat of the summer sun. Really, whichever season you choose you can’t go too far wrong, but he’s our guide to what you can expect…
Let’s start with the big one. You’ve almost certainly heard that fall is the best time to visit Barolo. And it certainly is a great time, thanks in no small part the vines changing colour, the grapes being harvested and the white truffles starting to appear.
The best Fall days start with fog clinging to the hillsides. You can easily get above it though and marvel at the villages and castles poking through like islands. By lunchtime, the fog is long gone and its place are clear skies and warm sunshine.
Naturally, not every day is like this. Fall can also be a bit rainy. It never lasts long though, and the next time you wake up to a beautiful, foggy fall day all will be forgiven!
The only bad thing about Fall in the Langhe is that you’re not the only person who has heard it’s the best time to visit. Tourists flock here from around the world, filling up the restaurants, taking photos on every corner and flooding the streets of Alba, where the International White Truffle Fair takes place. Thanks to harvest, and the subsequent work in the cantina, it’s also a pretty busy time for winemakers so you definitely need to plan ahead for wine tastings and be flexible as timings can often change last minute.
That said, if you stay somewhere like Villa Ribota, your kindly owners will be able to steer you towards lesser-known wineries and restaurants, helping you escape the crowds. Also, if we’re honest, sure, it gets busy. But it’s all relative. A busy day in the Langhe would be a quiet day pretty much everywhere else in the world.
Fall starts warm, with temperature in September averaging around 64 Fahrenheit. By November though, winter is start to close in and temperatures drop to an average of 44F. It’s still sunny though, with an average of 8 hours sunshine a day and 123mm of rain on average per month.
Winter is my personal favourite. It’s cold, sometimes snowy, but more often than not, crisp and sunny.
The snow usually comes a few times every winter. Moisture-laden storms move in off the Mediterranean, come inland where they meet the cold air and then unload up to a metre of the white stuff. It doesn’t tend to stick around for too long though. More often than not we see 24 hours of heavy snow followed by a week or so of sunshine.
On those crisp, clear and sunny days, of which we get so many, there is a clarity to the air that changes the colour of the sky, makes the mountains appear incredibly close and just turns everything up to 11.
There are a few downsides to winter in the Langhe though. For one, the hills look a bit brown and bare. It also gets dark pretty early and a lot of locals go away on holiday, so some restaurants and wineries will be closed. However, the winemakers that remain tend to have more time for relaxed tastings, the restaurants that remain open have more availability and there will generally be fewer tourists around. What’s more, the food and wine here goes perfectlyl with cold weather!
The average temperature in the winter is about 36 Fahrenheit, although there are many days where it is much, much warmer than that. Average precipitation is 7mm per month and we get about 5.5 hours of sunshine a day.
April showers are very definitely a thing in the Langhe, but aside from that, Spring is mostly warm and sunny.
With the temperatures rising, there is a feeling of the countryside coming back to life. The vines begin to grow and blossom appears on the trees. Even the locals seem happier! Of course, it’s Spring, not summer, so you have to always be prepared as temperatures can change quickly and afternoon storms are not uncommon.
The average temperature is officially 75 Fahrenheit, but April and May tend to be far warmer than that. Average precipitation is 100mm a month and we get 8.5 hours of sunshine per day.
Summer is warm, but generally not stiflingly so, and with a cool breeze in the evenings. If it does get too hot, you can always retire to the swimming pool, but we usually only have maybe two weeks a year (often late-June into July) in which things can get uncomfortable.
Afternoon thunderstorms are not uncommon, but they don’t tend to last long.
The average summer temperature is apparently 72 Fahrenheit, though it can get far warmer than that. Average precipitation is 70mm per month and we get 11 hours of sunshine per day.
One final note on summer… it used to be down season in the Langhe, with almost everything closed as the locals escaped to the beach. That is no longer the case though. Many restaurants and wineries remain open all summer meaning you should have no problem finding places to stay, eat or taste.