Life is about the journey not the destination, and that’s exactly why you need to experience a road trip through the unspoilt valleys of Italy. We sent #TeamCoco adventure and travel writer Melissa to join a group of 10 explorers for a chance to discover the true Italian culture in style “Belissimo” !
We teamed up with Ford to test drive their new luxury Vignale range (pronounced Vig-Na-Ley), the pinnacle of the brand created by pioneers and visionary coach designers Alfredo and Giovanni Vignale, established by the brothers in 1948.
We began the adventure in Turin (Torino in Italian), located north of Italy around 80 miles to the left of Milan. We had the chance to dig deep in the heart of the hills exploring one of the finest wine regions in the world Ceretto, indulging in exquisite renowned Italian cuisine, overnight stays at luxury boutique hotels, black truffle hunting and the best bit; taking part in a chocolate workshop at Guido Gobino, home to the world’s best praline. A few of the reasons I struggled to fasten my top button on the way home, but how could I resist.
Greeted at the airport by the very hospitable Ford team we were spoilt for choice with the option of Ford’s premium range included in the fleet of swanky cars were the Kuga, S-max and Edge models. Ford’s premium brand, including the S-Max, Kuga and Edge models. They all had the Va-Va Voom factor but due to the fact that my car at home is half the size and I struggle parking that (don’t judge), I chose the Kuga which is slightly smaller in size without compromising the refined elegant finish, style or refinement – winning!
Emerging out onto the dual carriage way about to have my first taste of driving abroad I appeared calm and composed as to not scare my new car buddy and co-pilot Kate. Trembling on the inside repeating in my head MUST KEEP RIGHT, MUST KEEP RIGHT, if you have driven abroad you can probably relate. Yes I had a few horns blasted at me by the locals – who are known to be some of the most wreckless drivers in Europe may I add, BUT I managed to follow the navigation, avoid any collisions, stay safe and get us and the car in one piece to our first stop Hotel Villa Savoi.
The Savoi – a small and intimate down town boutique hotel to the right of the Po River near Turin’s Valentio park. After a glass of bubbly on arrival, admiring the traditional Italian Decor of the building, It was all systems go and we were soon on our way to the centre for a great big banquet of local delicacies and endless wine. This marked the start of a fun filled, bread overload, wine fuelled trip.But of course no drink driving was involved!
Next stop Alba. We started at the famous Ceretto winery, taking a trip through the Estate, the old cellar and the panoramic Acino. This experience is a must and it was recognised in 2015 as a world heritage site. I do however have one complaint! Maybe next time I could be the passenger as to not be limited to how many glasses I could knock back – food for thought. The Ceretto family are still heavily involved in the hard work and passion that goes into the business, the most popular wines been the Barolo and Barbaresco which have proven to be some of the most popular in the world. The original founders, brothers Bruno and Marcello Ceretto selected vineyards in the most valuable positions historically, and what a great decision that was. Besides the wine yards the family own Piazza Duomo, award winning restauranté based in Alba. We had the great pleasure of tasting their renowned 3 Michelin star salad in the quaint and breathtaking Artistic house with views to make the sun envious. The salad included 100 fresh ingredients which were picked by the chefs that morning, impressive I know! I have never eaten a salad leaf by leaf until now.
In addition to this the Ceretto family started its first major art initiative in 1991 with the restoration of the beautiful and vibrantly coloured Chapel of Barolo in the Brunate Vineyards of Morra. These guys could seriously give the Kardashian’s a run for their money.
The open country lanes gave us a chance to put our foot down in the Vignale and really get to grips with this masterpiece. I was met with so many buttons, the fact that I could have cold air blow on my bottom and keep me cool was impressive enough, let alone the fact that It would help me find a parking spot, oh and the boot was automatic, not just stylish but instinctive to my needs. This fine specimen of a mobile allows you to sit back and enjoy the ride. Sun shining, hair blowing through the panoramic roof, 90s classics pumping up the volume, sounds like a tv ad right? Well you wouldn’t be far off!
The last supper we indulged in a underground dining room at the Eno Club, in central Alba. This very tasteful restaurant, we learnt about the history whilst enjoying the truffles we had managed to get our hands on earlier in the day. The food was sourced locally and Chef Marco Serra served an array of fine ingredients,
After bringing together award winning designers, high quality craftsmanship, advanced technologies Vignale have created a contemporary, upscale product that can compete with the big names but for half the price, so making it affordable for us millennials.
There are various versions including The Ford Edge, Kuga, S Max and Mondeo. And if you didn’t already know I can let you in with a little secret, the Fiesta will be coming soon.
There are so many reasons to take a road trip around Turin and I only touched the surface, it is a city of mystery, Italian history, castles and nature ready to unfold. Just make sure you do it in style and comfort of course.
#TeamCoco over and out.