Cuneo is a unique wedge-shaped city in northwestern Italy that has different architecture than other parts of Italy. Its main street with Renaissance-style arcades lined with shops and cafes gives it an elegant appearance and its old town dates from the 12th century when it was a fortified city. Cuneo is a good base for excursions to the mountains, valleys and nearby small towns of southern Piedmont.
Location and transportation
Cuneo is located in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, at the confluence of the Gesso and Stura di Demonte rivers. It is located at the foot of the Maritime Alps and is close to the French border. The city of Turin is less than 50 miles to the north.
Cuneo is on the railway line between Turin and Ventimiglia on the coast. There is good bus transport to the towns and villages of Piedmont, as well as to the city. Bicycle and car rental available.
Cuneo has a very small airport, with flights to the island of Elba and Olbia in Sardinia and some European destinations. There are airports in Turin and Nice, France, which serve more cities. The nearest major international airport is in Milan, about 150 kilometers away.
Festivals, Maritime Alps and Pinocchio Murals.
There is a great summer music festival that starts in June with many musical performances. The city’s patron saint, Saint Michael the Archangel, is celebrated on September 29. There is a Chestnut Fair in the fall and the regional Cheese Fair is in early November.
The Bossea Caves , in the Maritime Alps, are some of the best caves in Italy. Guided cave tours take visitors through chambers along underground rivers and lakes. The Maritime Alps Natural Park, the largest regional protected area in Piedmont, has beautiful waterfalls, rivers and lakes and 2,600 different floral species. The Alps are a good place for skiing in winter and biking or hiking in summer. The nearby Valle Stura is a pretty and picturesque valley where rare flowers grow.
The city of Vernante is a pleasant city covered with murals from the history of Pinocchio.
Piazza Galimberti is the central square of the city surrounded by arcades. There is a large open air market in the square on Tuesday mornings. Galimberti House Museum, a history and archeology museum is on the square.
The Church of San Francesco , a deconsecrated Romanesque-Gothic church and convent, has a fine 15th-century portal. The civic museum is located inside and has archaeological, artistic and ethnographic sections.
The Cuneo train station also has a museum with an interesting selection of railway relics.
Churches: The Cathedral of Santa Croce is an 18th century Baroque church with a concave facade. Santa Maria della Pieve is an old church that was renovated in 1775 and has interesting frescoes inside. Chiesa di Sant’Ambrogio was founded in 1230. The Chapel of Santa Maria del Bosco , rebuilt in the 19th century with a neoclassical façade and cupola, is full of frescoes by Giuseppe Toselli.
The main street into town is lined with shops and is a good place for people watching, especially during the passeggiata on Sunday.
Cuneo has four great parks good for walking or biking. Along the outskirts of the city and in the parks, there are great views of the mountains and the countryside.