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A tiny village that gives its name to one of Italy’s greatest wines, Barolo has been producing wine since ancient times and perfecting its biggest labels for the last four centuries. The village only has 750 inhabitants, whom visitors can far outnumber in the summer months. But still, this impressive hamlet with its winding streets and ancient castle remains a place of near pilgrimage for wine lovers. They come to wander the historic streets, visit the wine museum and vineyards, and sample the robust, velvety red in its original home.

The Barolo wine region is small and only 8 km (5 miles) wide at its broadest point. It encompasses 11 villages, including Barolo, and is part of a UNESCO-protected area that highlights the importance of the historic vineyards and landscapes here.

The village itself is a small cluster of buildings painted in warm peach and ochre tones, which line winding cobbled streets leading up to an 11th-century castle. As you make your way along the main street to the castle, you pass numerous enotecas (wine shops) and delicatessens, and glimpse panoramic views of the surrounding landscape with its blanket of vineyards and hazelnut bushes.

The Castello Falletti belonged to the Falletti family, who introduced Barolo wine to the world. The only original part of the castle that remains is the keep, the rest dates largely from the 16th and 19th centuries. You can tour the piano nobile (the first-floor staterooms) and see the monumental fireplaces, fine stuccowork and wall paintings, and the library. The upper terrace holds sweeping views of some of the most esteemed Barolo vineyards.

The castle also hosts occasional art and photographic exhibitions, but mostly you come here to see the Barolo Wine Museum. A modern, interactive exhibit, it explains the story behind the near-legendary wine. You can also visit the Regional Enoteca of Barolo in the castle’s wine cellars, a showcase for wines produced in the region.

Often described as Italy's greatest wine, Barolo is made from the nebbiolo grape, but bottles from different vineyards can have distinct characteristics and complexities. The enoteca hosts a tutored tasting of three wines each day and offers a large selection of Barolo wines for sale.

Just outside the castle is a corkscrew museum offering an insight into the history of the wine-opening gadget through an exhibition of 600 examples.

Best time to visit Barolo

You can visit Barolo year round, though you’ll get the best weather between April and October. The village wine fair, which takes place between mid-September and October, is a good time to taste a wide variety of wines from the region.

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who's been there
Audley Travel specialist Madeline

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Barolo by calling one of our Italy specialists at 617-223-4395

Suggested itineraries featuring Barolo

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Barolo, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Barolo

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