Wednesday, June 6th, 2012...10:13 am

Italy's Wine Country: Bella! HONEYMOONS

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Brides, are you looking for an extraordinary spot for your honeymoon?   Today we have a guest blog post from our friend and travel writer, Iyna Bort Caruso, who has just visited Italy’s wine country.    It’s where you’ll find not only fine wine, but fabulous cuisine, excellent accommodations and of course, breathtaking vistas:

Amore in Italy’s Wine Country

By Iyna Bort Caruso

If there’s a knock against travel to Italy, at least during prime wedding season, it’s the crowds of its most popular honeymoon spots.  Tossing a euro in Rome’s Trevi Fountain turns to sport when you have to muscle past the tour bus throngs. And waiting for a gondola on the Grand Canal in Venice? Think Disney during school break.

You won’t find the crowds in the Piedmont wine region of Italy known as the Langhe, despite its surprising accessibility. Set your GPS and you can be in Monte Carlo or Milan in less than two hours.

The Langhe is castle country–more than a half-dozen are within an easy drive. Every hairpin turn on a vineyard-covered foothill rewards you with a view of another stone tower, the Alps in the distance. The skyline hasn’t changed much in centuries.

So why is the Langhe a secret?  For one thing, it’s been overlooked by honeymooners for its lack of luxury accommodations. The area is flecked with decent enough hotels, pensions, guest houses and farm house lodgings known as agriturismi, but, until recently, no five-star properties. That changed in 2009 when one of the region’s leading wine-producers, Beni di Batasiolo, built the plush Il Boscareto Resort & Spa smack atop one of its most beautiful vineyards.

Cue the masseuse. Il Boscareto’s bi-level treatment suites and fitness center includes one of the sexiest indoor-outdoor pools north of Tuscany. Intimate lounge areas line the resort’s perimeter, overlooking the grapes that will eventually make their way into wine glasses around the world. Il Boscareto does not have the patina of its ancient surroundings–architecturally it’s a kind of modern interpretation of a Piedmontese castle–but its roots run deep. It is one resort run by one family whose lineage goes back centuries. There’s no multinational corporation running it from a distant headquarters.

As a destination resort, Il Boscareto tempts you to stay put, but why when you can daytrip to towns of roman ruins, Renaissance frescoes and little cafes on narrow alleyways that are yours alone.  In her book, “In Love in Italy,” author Monica Larner asserts, “If you love the wine country, this is paradise.”

About those wines.  It is at the heart of understanding the land of Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Dolcetto and Moscato. At the Wine Museum in Barolo (next door to the Corkscrew Museum), a Garden of Eden tableau portrays Eve tempting Adam with a cluster of grapes. And when the locals aren’t talking wine, they’re talking truffles–the fungus, not the chocolate. It’s part of a reverence for the riches that come from the ground. These earthy objects of desire were once considered the food of the gods for their aphrodisiac powers. These days, they’re the food of the One Percenters, easily fetching $1,000 a pound. They’re sniffed out by well-trained mutts in nearby woods and famously feted every fall at the National White Truffle Fair in the town of Alba.

This is the quiet corner of Italy. For glitz, head to west to Monte Carlo. For exquisite mayhem, go south to Rome. But to find out how a glass of Barolo, a plate of truffle risotto and a chorus of cicadas can shake you like a thunderclap, stay right here.