I think that the fog falling between layers of mountains is particularly bewitching in the winter.
While I am sure this happens elsewhere, it tends to happen often here, where the humidity in winter is very high. It is this nebbia, this marvelous fog, that the Nebbiolo grape is named for -- the grape of which Barolo and Barbaresco are comprised. While having foggy winters seem almost contradictory to having cold winters, they go hand and hand in Piemonte, and we have learned that layers - ribbed t shirts and long socks included - are what it takes to get through the dampness. Being correctly dressed helps make enjoying this kind of beauty much easier.
Piemonte, named so because it sits at the foot of the Alps - piedi + montagne - has an atmosphere distinct in Italy. Lago Maggiore, one of the most majestic lakes in Europe, is circled by snow covered Alps. Flatlands betray fields and fields of risotto - together with Lombardia, Piemonte is responsible for the majority of Italy's premier rice production. A few miles down the road, and the terrain changes again, to soft hills and endless vineyards, until you climb, climb, climb again to the Maritime Alps, which separate Piemonte from the Ligurian coastline.
All the while, as the terrain changes and unfolds, so do the homes and the rusticos, from stone and slate to brick and terra cotta to the pastel painted facades and trompe l'oeil windows and shutters that seem so lifelike.
It's a beautiful place in all seasons, Piemonte. But for now, it's time to take in the stillness of the winter.