At the truffle markets – tartufi in Italian – prizes are given for the biggest, nicest, etc., truffles. The white– winter – truffle is the rarest and therefore most expensive. A small nugget costs as much as € 40. They are weighed by the milligram. They are ‘hunted’ for in the period of October until the end of December. If you see an old Fiat Panda or Renault 4 by the side of the road, with a man, a basket and dog walking near it, it must be a ‘truffle hunter’. You also have the black truffle, it’s less rare (and less strong) and therefore a lot cheaper.
Besides the examining and prize giving at these markets, you can taste and buy all kinds of local produce, with truffle in them. They put them in practically everything, from sausages to oil and cheeses. The local restaurants have special truffle-menu’s. At the market the local tourist office usually has a covered food area, where you can taste truffle courses for reasonable prices.
Italy has several designer outlets. All the big – and especially Italian! – brands are there. First there is the Serravalle Designer Outlet (www.serravalle.mcarthurglen.it), it’s a village in itself near Genua, about an hour’s drive from here. There are factory shops from – amongst others – Nike, Bulgari, Asics, Bodum, CK, Diadora, Diesel, D&G, Levi’s, Nautica, Reebok, Robe di Kappa (Italy sweaters!), etc. During the Italian sales period, they even provide extra discounts on their already discounted products.
There is also the smaller Vicolungo outlet ( www.vicolungooutlets.com ) by the road form Turin to Milan (E64) between Vercelli and Novara in the town of Vicolungo. It’s not as large as the Serravalle outlet but does have brands such as CK, Nike, Robe di Kappa, Sergio Tacchini, etc.
There are more interesting places for shopping in this area, more in the vicinity of the town of Biëlla. In the first place the small luxury factory outlet at Sandigliano ‘The Place’ ( www.theplaceoutlet.com ). Here you will find Gucci, Ermenegildo Zegna & La Perla.
Furthermore in the town of Verrone, also near Biëlla, you will find a number of separate factory outlets along the Strada Statale Trossi. Such as: Diesel (nr. 10), Fila (nr. 8), Dockers (nr. 10) and Levi’s (nr. 10). At the Fifty Factory Store (nr. 14) you can find several brands in one location such as Barbour, Caterpillar, Invicta, Timberland, etc.
So, now you have travelled to Biëlla you might as well visit the city too. If you like woolen products or love cashmere, this is the place to be. The town and the surrounding area are covered with (factory) shops with woolen dresses, suits and coats and especially cashmere products, such as shawls and blankets. You can’t miss them, along the road you’ll see the signs with names and locations of the shops on the billboards.
Finally there’s the Fox Town outlet (www.foxtown.ch) In Switzerland, just over the border with Italy, on route to the Gotthardtunnel.