La Casa Pietra is an old stone farmhouse in a quiet sunny location by the river in the Bormida Valley, lovingly renovated with the original stone facades and vaulted ceilings restored to create a stunning home that provides comfort and style in a tranquil setting. If you want to relax by the pool, go out road or mountain biking, hike in the hills, taste world-class wines, eat wonderful Italian food in the local restaurants, visit churches or Roman remains, enjoy a restoring spa, take the kids to the beach for a day, poke around local markets, swim in the river or explore majestic Turin and historic Genoa then a week or two at La Casa Pietra are for you.
The Bormida Valley is a stunningly beautiful, quiet and sunny area, with gently sloping hills covered for the most part in vines, forest and hazelnut groves. It is a delightful and tranquil location in easy reach of many places of interest, such as Asti, Acqui Terme, Canelli, Alba, Genoa and Turin. There is so much to do here all year round, from cycling and walking to museums and art galleries, markets, beach trips and wine tasting, you can enjoy the rich and varied culture of Piedmont in any season.
The property can accommodate up to 8 adults and 6 children, with 4 double bedrooms (including 2 large family bedrooms), 3 bathroom/shower rooms, a large kitchen/dining room, comfortable living room and TV room/playroom/study. The floors are tiled throughout; all external windows and doors are double-glazed and have traditional wooden shutters. Two of the bedrooms have their own balconies and there is an en-suite bedroom on the ground floor with French windows opening on to the courtyard.
La Casa Pietra has a beautiful secluded garden, with lawns, fruit trees, a covered terrace and two other outside eating areas. There is a lovely private pool 12m x 6m with shallow and deep end suitable for families with children, as well as a large trampoline, swings, foosball (table football) and table tennis. The pool has an electronic cover, which can be closed when not in use.
Our local village, Bubbio, is only 15 minutes’ walk away and is a charming village with some shops, cafes and a couple of restaurants. The village centre has a lovely green space with a little playground overlooked by the outside terrace of the local auberge. Here you can find 2 family-run delicatessen/grocery/general stores, a bank, post office, butcher, bakery, patisserie, pharmacy, hand-made pasta shop, newsagent/tobacconist, clothes shop, florist, hardware store and tourist office.
Wine Tours – UNESCO World Heritage Site vineyards
This area is renowned for its world-class wines - in particular Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Dolcetto, Roero Arneis, Cortese, Nebbiolo, Moscato and Asti Spumante. In 2014 many vineyards in the area were designated jointly as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognising not only the quality and tradition of the wines but also the incredible views across the hills and valleys from the vineyards themselves. You can visit most vineyards to sample and purchase these excellent wines at amazing rates during your stay, and a local English-speaking guide is nearby if you would like a wine tour arranged for you and your guests.
Slow Food and local gastronomy
Piedmont is famous for its gastronomy – the Slow Food movement started here – there are many wonderful restaurants within easy reach serving local and Piemontese gastronomic specialities, such as truffles and Robiola cheeses. Come for the White Truffle Fair in Alba during October and November, Slow Fish Fair every other May in Genoa, Cheese Fair every other September in Bra, or any of the many Slow Food events in the area. Local restaurants serve the most delicious lovingly home-made dishes in the Italian tradition, and at the most reasonable prices. Children are welcomed and the service is exemplary – local Piemontese are rightly proud of their food and wines and love to make their guests happy. We can also arrange food and wine tours for your party during your stay.
Chef services – we can arrange for a local chef to cook a wonderful Piemontese meal for you and your guests at La Casa Pietra. Please contact us for more details.
Cycling – road biking and mountain biking
The cycling – road biking and mountain biking – is excellent here, with an endless supply of hills, valleys, ridges and tracks to challenge even the most avid cyclist. The Bormida valley is surrounded by lovely hills, most with a pretty village on top, and each hill has a number of winding roads leading to the peak, so the choices and routes are endless. We have four road bikes available for guest use (email us for more details – these are a Cannondale a Colnago and two De Rosas) plus two retro-style bikes for winding around the valley. If you want some guided rides – either mountain bike or road bike, these can be arranged too.
Mountain bike, road bike and electric bike hire – via our neighbour the Mountain Bike School Bubbio (2 minutes away) or from La Bicicletteria in Acqui Terme, a full range bike shop offering maintenance, parts, accessories and repairs.
Walking and Hiking
Every walker or hiker of any ability can enjoy the Bormida valley and its spectacular hills and views. From a one-hour stroll through the valley to whole day or multi-day hikes in the amazing countryside, Piedmont has stunning views, pretty villages, woods, forests, vineyards and endless winding lanes to explore. The sheer number of amazing vineyard views in the area has recently led to many surrounding hills becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thereby preserving their unique beauty for generations to come. Guided walking and hiking can also be pre-booked if you would like to enjoy some more in-depth local knowledge.
Wellness Centre and Thermal Spa
Acqui Terme (15 minutes away) is a glorious local town, built by the Romans around natural hot springs, which still bubble up their legendary healing waters into the town centre for all to enjoy. During the past 20 years the town and its renowned spa have been renovated beautifully, and guests may now enjoy a luxurious and modern spa experience in historic surroundings at the thermal baths centre, Lago Delle Sorgenti, where people have travelled from far and wide to take the waters since Roman times.
This and other spa centres and hotels in Acqui Terme can be visited for a day of luxury and pampering with relaxing and healing treatments and a combination of hot and cold pools, saunas, steam rooms and massage.
We also offer private yoga classes and massage therapy on site.
Art and History
Piedmont is rich with art, history and architecture. For Roman remains, a spectacular 10th century cathedral and an archaeological museum head to Acqui Terme (15 minutes away), for royal palaces, contemporary collections, religious artefacts, Egyptian treasures and medieval art spend some time in Turin, for palatial 16th century homes, nautical histories, medieval streets and another fantastic domed cathedral try Genoa.
Our local village of Bubbio has an amazing church with medieval frescoes, as have so many villages in the region, and to see beautiful hilltop villages with medieval stone towers within a 30-minute drive check out Roccaverano and Rocchetta Palafea.
Local - see above
Supermarkets – within a 15-minute drive there are medium and large supermarkets.
Local specialty foods – fresh pasta shops, including the well-known Pasta Fresca di Emiliana Pesce, delicatessens selling local cheeses such as Robiola di Roccaverano as well as a huge range of local cooked dishes, meats and preserves, wine shops (try Enoteca La Curia or Enoteca Regionale Acqui ‘Terme e Vino’), the twice-weekly food market for fresh vegetables, cheeses and cold meats are all to be found in Acqui Terme.
Clothes and designer clothes – buy amazing Italian clothes and shoes during your stay at Acqui Terme, Turin or Genoa, or try other nearby towns such as Asti and Alba. For a designer outlet, visit the Serravalle Designer Outlet, 70 minutes’ drive away for bargains from Prada, Gucci, Burberry, Boss, Armani and hundreds of other brand names.
Antiques and flea markets – at Nizza Monferrato, Canelli, Ovada and Turin.
Beach – The Italian Riviera is only 70 minutes’ drive away; head for Savona where if you have time you should visit the Sistine Chapel (built by the same Pope as its more famous namesake in Rome), a Rococo-style chapel with a truly stunning interior.
From Savona you can reach a number of fine beaches – a favourite is at the village of Noli, a few kilometres west along the coast. Like most Italian beaches there are private and public sides, and most people pay to use the private areas which are clean, well-supplied with loungers and umbrellas, have toilet facilities, children’s play equipment and a bar/restaurant.
Golf - For golf-lovers there are many options in the area; There is a 9 hole course in Acqui Terme (15 mins drive), another 9 hole in Cassine (about 25 mins drive) and 18 hole courses within an hour or so. Check out www.worldgolf.com which has information on the courses and their whereabouts.
Ski - There are many ski resorts with two hours’ drive of Bubbio in the Italian Alps, including; Bardonecchia, Rucas di Bagnolo, Frabosa Soprana.
Horse riding – Can be arranged in the local area (5 minutes away) at Scuderia Icaro.
Guided Tours, wine tours, gastronomy tours, guided walking and hiking, guided road biking and mountain biking are available through our nearest neighbour. If you would like to consider this, please ‘email the owner’ and I can put you in touch. Alternatively visit www.outdoorlive.it.
Please note that although Milan Malpensa is the nearest hub airport, there are many other airport options; Genoa (84km), Turin (128km), and Nice (221km) as well as the other Milan airports, Linate and Bergamo.