La Capitale del Cioccolato Torino 2011

Torino (Turin) is currently hosting a major chocolate festival called La Capitale del Cioccolato from 25th March to the 3rd April.

The event is being being held in conjunction with Italy’s 150th Anniversary and celebrates the importance of Torino’s role in the chocolate industry.

The event itself is being held in Torino’s main square Piazza Vittorio Veneto. Here there are loads of marquees set up where you are able to try chocolate from some of the main producers.

Piazza Vittorio has a substantial underground car park that always seems to have spaces available, so traveling to the event by car is easy enough, but for those of you who are a little nervous of driving in such a big city, it might be best to go outside of peak traffic hours.

This is a true paradise for chocolate lovers.

Murazzano. A village in the Alta Langa

Many people dream of buying a home in the famous Langhe region of Piemonte (Piedmont) which features  a wonderful landscape of rolling hills, vineyards, mountains and the famous wine producing towns of Barolo and Barbaresco.

As you travel south from Alba through the Langhe hills you head towards the Alta Langa, an area that borders Liguria (The Italian Riviera). This area has a higher altitude generally ranging between 700 meters above sea level to a maximum of 896 meters at the town of Mombarcaro – here you can see wonderful views of the mountain range.

The Alta Langa landscape is characterized by forestry, rolling hills and hazelnuts groves all surrounded by a wonderful backdrop of mountains. It’s a true paradise for hikers,cyclists and anyone who appreciates nature.

The Alta Langa has many small villages and towns one of which is Murazzano with a population of about 1000.

The area surrounding the town is extremely tranquil and boasts an absolute stunning scenery and  a variety of wildlife which includes several birds of prey, deer and wild boar.

The town itself is steeped in history and features old cobbled streets with a good variety of shops, restaurants  and other facilities. During the summer months the local residents sit outside in the streets chatting until the early hours of the morning, a truly wonderful atmosphere.

Murazzano is also famous for its locally produced cheese. The Murazzano PDO is a fat fresh cheese produced from sheep’s milk.  The milk coming from the local breed of sheep ” Pecora delle Langhe”

Murazzano PDO comes in a cylindrical form, it’s a milky white cheese and its texture is slightly thick, soft and sometimes has some holes. The outer part has no rind and the fresh whole cheeses are milky white in colour while the aged cheeses are more of a straw yellow. It’s taste is smooth and delicately fragrant and makes a great combination with some of the local wines of the region. Even today every whole cheese in this area is still made by hand.

In 1982, Murazzano cheese won the national P.D.O. status and subsequently the European P.D.O. status.

All these beautiful villages in the Alta Langa seem to produce something worthwhile and I whole heartedly recommend a visit to this area which is often forgotten in favour to the popular wine producing Langhe region

Cuneo Levaldigi Airport

Ryan Air have been flying into Cuneo Levaldigi Airport for a while now during the winter skiing season. This is great news for home owners in the Piemonte region.

I recently had the opportunity to use Levaldigi for a couple of flights, one to the UK and the other to Sicily and I have to report to being very impressed with the airport and it’s facilities.

Levaldigi is only a small airport based near Cuneo but it has a very relaxed atmosphere. You literally turn up to the airport enter the building and both arrivals and departures are in front of you. Checking in can be done online and loading itself is quick and efficient.

The airport has a charming lounge which serves food and drink and a substantial car park facility. I paid 27 Euros for four days parking, which can’t be bad.

For those of you who enjoy a relaxed airport journey give Levaldigi a spin, it’s also an easy drive into the Lange region with no motorways involved. Highly recommended.

Buying a business in Italy

Many of us dream about moving to Italy and making a fresh start in life. Italy has much to offer, wonderful warm local people, scrumptious food, prestigious wines and it’s fabulous climate make it a popular choice for relocation.

The reality for most of us is that to make this move successful we must generate some form of income to live. The Italian job market can be a little limited if you are not fluent in Italian – you can teach English, become a tour guide etc.

So what are the options? One such possibility is to buy a business for sale in Italy that allows you to generate and good income using your native tongue language. An interesting, lucrative business proposition is working in the tourism industry for example a bed and breakfast accommodation, Hotel or a holiday rental business.

What are the advantages of buying an established business for sale? Well of course there should be an established income in place, but also, the property in question will already be set up for business, it may already have a swimming pool, car parking area , existing clientele etc…
Expenses like these can soon mount up when starting a business from nothing often placing an additional financial strain on the business even before it has started.

A business with an established income may also help with cash flow projections for the bank if a little borrowing is required

How can the business provide additional income? It may be worth looking a properties that have vineyards and hazelnut groves. Vineyards involve more work and skilled work so if you don’t have experience then you will need to learn or you could hire someone to work the vines for you and teach you the tricks of the trade. The locals are passionate about the land and its produce and genuinely pleased to share their enthusiasm and experience. You then have the option of making the wine itself or selling your grapes to an established wine maker or a local cooperative.

Hazelnuts are another possibility – referred to in Italy as the “Lazy man’s tree”. They are much easier to maintain and require less work. Here in The Langhe most of the local hazelnut production go to Ferrero, the makers of Nutella, Ferrero Roche, Kinder chocolates etc

There are also small local businesses making local products with the hazelnuts – for example , hazelnut cake, toasted hazelnuts….

Selling local quality produce, wines, hazelnut cake, preserves etc is also an interesting addition to any tourist based business.

In addition to the income generated from a vineyard or hazelnut grove there is a certain sense of achievement, satisfaction and appreciation of nature that comes with working the land.

Business practices vary from country to country and Italy is no different. It’s essential that you deal with an Italian accountant preferably that speaks your mother tongue language. He or she will be able to guide in the right direction and help you with other matters like insurance and the availability of local grants etc.

Buying a business in a Italy is a big decision so do your research thoroughly – however it could be the best decision in your life….mixing with the warm friendly local people, enjoying scrumptious food, prestigious wines and the fabulous climate…………

We have several businesses for sale in the Piemonte region, check our website for further details.

Piedmont Property featured in Ville Giardini magazine

The region of Piemonte is attracting a lot of interest from the media all over the world and as such we work closely with the press to ensure that the area gets the recognition it deserves. We are currently working again with Ville Giardini who are one of the top property publications in Italy.

Ville Giardini have decided to feature The Langhe region of Piemonte and have asked to feature some of our properties in their article. I’ll let everyone know the publication date when all details are finalised.