Many of the guide books suggest eithet Hotel Reale or Rainero in Asti. Anyon have experience at these properties? thx
I was waiting to see if anyone answered since I live close to Asti, so don't really have experience of staying in hotels there. Most guide books are somewhat brief on Asti, and hotels reccomendations seem hit and miss, all I can tell you is that the Reale is the old world type grand hotel right on the main centre Piazza Alfieri, quite decent restaurant and pizzeria, don't know about the rooms. The Rainero is somewhat new, not impressive on the outside, just off Via Cavour, closer to the train station and the Campo del Palio. I would plump for the Reale as I like old things. More modern are the Hotel Aleramo and Palio, within walking distance of the Rainero, and I know someone who stayed at the Aleramo and it was OK.
Are you only looking for hotels? You are probably mising a lot of the cultural experience of visiting the wine region. Might I suggest looking at agritourismo and B&B farms which would be an authentic Piedmont experience. There are a couple of such places on the outskirts of Asti and listed here on Trip Advisor.
Many thanks for your replies. Very helpful.
We always stay at the Reale when we go to Asti where our cousins live. The hotel has a great central location with the entry under the portici, but the one potential problem is that on Wednesdays and Saturdays the market sets up in the Piazza, and they start putting up their stalls at an extremely early hour. If you are an early riser anyway, that won't be a problem, but if you are a light sleeper and a night owl, you may be bothered by this. We find that it's fun to step outside the hotel and cross the street and there you are in the midst of the market. It has everything under the sun, but I always find something to buy that I enjoy. When we were there in January 2007, I found a beautiful floral fabric and bought it to use for tablecloths here at home.
Wherever you stay in Asti, be sure to go to Pasticceria Giordanino not far from the Piazza Alfieri on Corso Alfieri. Their small meringue cakes are fabulous, and they always have an assortment of wrapped chocolate-covered, truffle-filled candies that I love. The center is chocolate truffle flavored with liquore and surrounded by a layer of meringue and then drenched in dark chocolate. The assortment has these candies in various flavors, depending on which liquore was used.
My favorite restaurant in Asti is Francese Ristorante Pizzeria on Via dei Cappellai. It is a short walk from Giordanino's and it is located just off Piazza San Secondo. When we are in Asti, we eat there every night. The pizza is stunning and they have other items on the menu as well. There are other restaurants that are also outstanding, but Francese is excellent value for the money and we love the place!
I ended up staying at the Reale and enjoyed it. While it had street noise due to its location on the Pz Alfieri, it was a nice old fashioned charming place. Baths need some updating but still an improvement from the past. Parking is underneath the hotel and best for small cars. The hotel ristorante, Il Flauto, was first class. The Saturday morning street market was a joy and many of the vendors were artisans who actually made what they were selling. (also a lot of the regular stuff there). Note: if you have a room on the piazza, expect to awaken early on market day! Dined locally at Tacaband and IL Convivo. Both very good restaurants, lots of local specialities, nice wine lists, and excellent service. (note: restaurant L'Altra Campana is closed and has been for some time). We were there in truffle season and made the mistake of touring the hill towns nearby without restaurant reservations. Needless to say the bus loads of tourists made it impossible to find a place to eat. Truffle fest in Alba in Saturday moring (Nov) was the highlight of the trip. It's a must do....lots of wine tasting and all kinds of truffle products. Had a plate of pasta in the arena and made a day of it.
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