Perfect 4 Day Itinerary for Asti, Italy’s Douja d’Or Festival

September 2016

Perfect 4 Day Itinerary for Asti, Italy’s Douja d’Or Festival

We feel in love with the Piedmonte region of Italy hard. On our second tour of Italy, we stumbled into the small town of Asti for the Douja d’Or festival, and it changed Italy for us forever. It was highlighted by so many wonderful memories- the wine, the festivals, the food- it was an experience that exceeded all expectations. 

It just so happened that the days we scheduled to visit Asti coincided with a huge food and wine festival called Douja d’Or. Douja d’Or, pronounced “do-ya door” is a national wine competition for Italy’s DOC and DOCGs wine regions (best of the best!). The symbol of the festival is a golden jug- “douja” (an ancient terracotta jug used for wine) is the jug and “d’Or” is golden= golden jug!

One aspect of Douja d’Or that takes placed over the first weekend of the festival is the Festival della Sagre Astigiane– an expo of the food and wine from Piedmonte region. Over 40 stands populated the “villaggio gastronomico”, each representing a town showcasing their “best” food. Over 80 different traditional specialties can be found and that’s not including the wine!

We regret that we did not plan accordingly for the third major part of the festival – the famous Palio di Asti that takes place at the conclusion of the two week festival. It is the oldest bareback horse race in Italy! The piazza is transformed into a dirt race track. When we return to this festival in the future, we will definitely plan to fit this one in!

Getting to Asti is not the easiest journey but it is 100% worth it. We flew into Milan and took a series of three trains – one from the airport to Milan, one from Milan to Torino, and then the last leg from Torino to Asti.

What is there to do?

There is so much to explore if this is your first time to Piedmonte! Coming for Douja d’Or really adds such a vibrant element to the town so I highly recommend timing your trip with this festival if you can. Typically Douja d’Or takes place over the first two weekends of September – check their website for all the details.

  • Douja d’Or – the wine portion of the festival celebrating Italian wines culminating with awards for the best wines of the year. You have the opportunity to taste hundreds of wines, purchase bottles for a great deal, and even participate in free tasting classes. 
  • Festival della Sagra Astigiane – the core of the festival itself which takes place over the first weekend of the festival only. This is where representation for all areas in Piedmonte come to compete for the best dish and all the visits get to reap the benefits. To date, we have never experienced anything like it.
  • Medieval Parade – this parade opens the festival on the first Saturday and it is epic!
  • Palio di Asti – the horse race that closes out the festival after two weeks of eating, drinking, and being merry.
  • Piatto & Dolce d’Autore– this part of the festival showcases regional chefs and pastry chefs in a full three course dinner with wine pairings. When we visited, it was only 19 euro a person – it was so crazy great deal that we signed up for the rest of them.

Not here for the festival? Fill the time exploring the nooks and crannies of Asti.

Go wine tasting! Piedmont is one of the kings of wine in the world – Barolo and Barbaresco reign supreme. Take advantage of discovering multiple areas in a general Piedmont wine tasting or focus on an area such as Barolo.

There are also many day trips to neighboring villages such as Alba – the train connects this network very well.

Where to eat?

There are endless opportunities to eat in Asti inside and outside of the festival. Though I have to say, between Festival della Sagra Astigiane during the day and the Piatto & Dolce d’Autore at night, we basically exclusively ate at the festival.  We would focus on exploring Asti’s restaurants properly on a return trip.  One place we would highly recommend is Taste Vin – a wine bar with an amazing menu!

Here was our complete itinerary! 

Activity Food
Travel Day Morning Arrive in Milan

Train from Milan to Torino

Afternoon Train from Torino to Asti
Evening Festival della Sagra Astigiane
Day 1 Morning Medieval Parade
Afternoon Douja d’Or Festival della Sagra Astigiane
Evening Piatto & Dolce d’Autore– Osteria del Diavolo
Day 2 Morning Piedmont Wine Tour
Afternoon Trattoria Antica Torre
Evening Piatto & Dolce d’Autore– Ristorante La Grotta
Day 3 Morning Explore Asti
Afternoon Osteria Tacabanda
Evening Douja d’Or wine tasting event Piatto & Dolce d’Autore– Il Bagatto Ristorante
Day 4 Morning Explore Asti
Afternoon Taste Vin
Evening Douja d’Or wine tasting event Piatto & Dolce d’Autore– Ristorante Bandini
Day 5 Morning Depart Asti

Read the full trip details here!

If you have been to Asti before, let me know what I missed and what your favorites are!

Leave a Reply