I love adventure and there are very few things I would say no to trying. Some people thrive on adrenalin. I think I do also to a degree. I believe we want to jump out of a plane because we want that adrenalin feeling, we want to feel alive and at the same time mortal, because in this position any small mistake is a question of life or death. This feeling can be addictive and for some extreme athletes it is. But I’m far from that, I just have it on my bucket list. My sky diving trip was booked and I was ready to take the plunge, so to speak.
Visit the small villages in the area
There are many destinations you can choose but we decided on Piedmont The area is known for its wine and food. The terrain is rolling hills of vineyards, dotted with majestic castles and stately homes. We booked a night in Ozzano Monferrato, which is about 15-minute drive to Casale Monferrato the main town the area.
Ozzano is a small sleepy village perched atop a hill. We stayed in a part of the Palazzo Callier. The residence part of the estate had been renovated and was decorated with beautiful local terracotta pieces, lucerne stone and tuff, which is a porous rock formed from volcanic ash. The rooms are tastefully decorated and very spacious. We loved the gardens where you can explore the different levels of the estate. We went for a little run from Ozzano through the hills. Each small village is adorned with a castle and church in true Italian style.
Dine in a fine Restaurant
That evening we booked in Accademia. Which was suggested as one of the best in the area. The building is absolutely beautiful and set inside The Palazzo Gozzani Treville. The walls and ceilings are painted with original wall paintings. The restaurant opened in 2015. While for me it lacked a little atmosphere it was nevertheless wonderful to see. The menu was very authentic to the area with a lot of meat, in particular veal dishes. As I prefer more vegetarian or fish my choices were very limited. However, what I did eat was very nice. My partner took the local menu with veal and a bit more veal. But he said it was delicious. This lovely meal was paired with some local wine and we were off to bed.
We woke early to have breakfast and had booked our jump at 10am. A bit of a mistake as it seems they are always late, in true Italian form, and everyone’s times therefore also get moved. On top of which our planes took off to help at another field, so the wait was a little ridiculous. Fortunately, it was a beautiful Spring Day and we soaked up some sun. I guess I must have been a little nervous but the wait made me more agitated than nervous, which may have helped. Finally, at 2pm we were suited and booted and ready to jump. After a small introduction and explanation of how we should be when we jump, we walked out to the airfield. Our plane fly in and quickly snapped us up and before long we were up at above 4200 meters. The plane is in fact quick open and loud and you are already all in front of your instructor. Once at the right altitude the door slides open and within a minute you are pushed to the door, ready to be thrown out. I was super excited and so happy to be able to experience this. My legs were dangling over the edge and suddenly you roll forward and you are free falling at 200km and hour. I couldn’t help but scream but the wind was so strong that my voice was lost and my mouth extremely dry. The period as you can imagine is so short and suddenly the cord is pulled and you are yanked into a slower float. My instructor asked me how I felt. Of course, there was huge smile from me and a thumbs up giving him the go ahead to do a fast spin. I must admit this gave my stomach also a twirl but it was worth it. After some minutes we touched ground and I wanted to do it all again.
After gathering ourselves together we headed back into Casale Monferrato. This town is quite pretty with its ancient courtyards and remnants of past glory. Piedmont, in particular is known for its agriculture, wine, food, as well as commercial and industrial activities. We took a coffee in one of the piazzas and strolled the ancient streets. Before leaving we decided to visit one of the liquor stores. We were not disappointed .The Mazzetti distillery has a long history dating back to 1846 The shop showcases the many varieties of grappa, spirits and liquors they offer. We tried a variety of aged and young grappa from red Barbera and Dolcetto grapes. Depending on the barrels they are aged in, the grappa will have either a unique dry or fruits flavour. The older, the more graceful and smooth. My favourite was the Grappa Riserva 18.46, beautiful smooth fruity flavour. We also bought a bottle of their gin. The freshness of Piedmontese botanicals, with the “zenèiver”, which is the ancient name of the juniper whose berries are used for digestive, purifying, anti-inflammatory and balsamic purposes, as well as to create Gin. This unexpected grappa and spirit tasting caused a longer than expected delay in leaving, but was worth it.
Our weekend in Piedmont was complete. From exhilarating sky diving, to fine dining, wine and grappa tasting. The rolling hills where we could run through the vineyards. The area definitely deserves at the very least a weekend visit.