Stairway to Heaven
Scramble up the steep rock incline to the Sacra di San Michele, a tenth-century Benedictine abbey perched on a pinnacle overlooking the Susa Valley. Italians call the sport via ferrata—hiking and rock-climbing over preset routes with fixed holds, cables, and ladders. Need a guide? Try Alberto at Alby Sport ([email protected]) or go to www.sacradisanmichele.com.
In the mountain village of Pragelato, enter through a half-moon-adorned wooden door in a 17th-century former stable to find La Greppia, a rustic-chic restaurant with sloping stone ceilings and muted lighting. Thinly sliced meats, accompanied by vegetables and cheeses, are served at the table for diners to cook, pierrade style, on heated stone slabs. Via del Beth 9, 011-39-0122-78-409
Ski the Galaxy
Log 30,000 or more vertical feet by skiing the Via Lattea ("Milky Way") from end to end. The cluster of six resorts straddles the Italy-France border, with 5,000 vertical feet each, 88 lifts, and 240 total trail miles. Best of the bunch is Sestriere, home of the Olympic men's downhill. Via Lattea lift ticket, $37; www.vialattea.it
After a day on the slopes, duck down through the stone doorway of Crot 'd Ciulin, in the mountain town of Bardonecchia, and get chummy with mustached ski instructors. Simple wood tables, wine casks, and sepia-tone photographs offer the perfect setting for sampling Barbera d'Alba or Dolcetto di Dogliani, popular Piedmont reds, and filling up on toma, a local cheese. 20 Via Des Geneys; 011-39-0122-96161
Millions have been poured into the cross-country ski center in Pragelato. How do you spend that kind of cash on nordic skiing? On snowmaking, lights, new buildings (for warming up, chowing down, and changing clothes), and an 18.6-mile trail network meticulously groomed and graded for Olympic competitions. $7 per day; 011-39-0122-74-1107, www.pragelatosporting.it
Crash with Class
Le Meridien Turin Art & Tech, formerly a Fiat factory, has been refashioned by architect Renzo Piano into a hip hotel about a ten-minute walk from the heart of downtown Turin. Polished steel, floor-to-ceiling windows, and angular furniture designed by Philippe Starck are reasons Architectural Digest praised it as "a showcase of modern design." Rev your engine with a morning run on the rooftop track, formerly used for test-driving prototypes. Doubles, $150$410; 800-543-4300, www.turinartandtech.lemeridien.com
Get a Choco-buzz
At Turin café;s, try a cup of bicerin—a sublime concoction of coffee, chocolate, and milk (or, even better, vanilla cream). Or forget the drink and go straight for the hard stuff: Turin is famed for its chocolate. Recommended confection: cioccolato gianduja, a hazelnut blend produced by Venchi and available at downtown chocolatiers.
Take it Reel Easy
The Museo Nazionale del Cinema, in the restored Mole Antonelliana (a 115-year-old former synagogue), houses more than 7,000 film titles, including Italian, French, and American classics, with frequent screenings; 200,000 original posters; and interactive displays on filmmaking. Admission, $6; 011-39-011-81-25-658, www.museonazionaledelcinema.it