Saluzzo and Manta with Kids: Piedmont, Italy

Just a wee flash back to summer. On our Italian trip in early May we experienced a city break in Turin staying in a fab AirBnB, a rural retreat in Agriturismo Borsalino, day trips to the truffle capital of Alba, bubbles in Asti, attempted wine tasting with kids in Barolo and Barbaresco and this is a follow on post about the smaller towns and cities we visited. Saluzzo and Manta were totally new to me so this is a summary of taking kids to these areas.

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SALUZZO – I’d never heard of Saluzzo and in some ways that’s because there’s such stiff competition in Italy in terms of tourist attractions that it struggles. What we found was a wonderfully picturesque city. It’s a real slice of Italy as tourists were few and far between.  Saluzzo’s a beautiful place to explore with a 15th century old town, church spires, bell towers, a main piazza with a historic fountain, little lanes and cobbled streets. It’s quintessential Italy.

There are museums and churches to be visited but for us (with children) the attraction was just strolling in the warmth and stopping for food along the way.

The old town wound round and round uphill and Mr Toddler charged ahead to see what hid behind the next corner. There were few cars so it felt safe to let him venture forth and we managed Mr Baby in his buggy with a little effort. We had some deep, dark hot chocolate in a little cafe, an unassuming, hearty lunch in a local trattoria and watched the local kids leave school on their scooters, whizzing past us in the sun. In some ways there wasn’t much ‘to do’ or things laid on for visitors, but I felt like we’d stepped off the tourist trail and I liked it.

MANTA – A nearby tourist attraction is Manta Castle. Being Aberdonian I’m used to visiting castles on a regular basis so the bar’s set quite high. Manta’s Castello is known for a series of Gothic paintings, a cycle of frescoes depicting ‘Heroes and Heroines’ and the ‘Fountain of Youth’. Visiting a castle is always good for the imagination whether you’re an adult or a child.

Upon arrival we were all given headsets with the English tour guide playing in our ears. Mr Toddler felt very grown up till everyone who passed him laughed out loud, including an entire class of schoolchildren on a school trip. He looked ridiculous.

In the UK I’m used to castles, often National Trust properties, to have fantastic play facilities and tea rooms on site. Italy doesn’t quite operate in the same way. But on the other hand our kids weren’t disappointed so perhaps they don’t always need complete entertainment. Climbing a tower, entering a vast banqueting hall, running around the grounds and looking down onto the town of Manta, all of these things were entertainment enough.

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