Let it Snow

Panorama: Snow in Asti

I'm happy to report that the Torino Winter Olympics have been officially saved from a snowless fate. Because boy, did it come down today.

We heard on the radio that there was significant snow all over northern Italy, so I'm hoping that that lovely white powder is accumulating up in the Piemontese Alps, just in time for Bode Miller's arrival. (They love him here. They call him Boh-Day.) Even Milan's airport was closed because of snow.

We were far from the mountains today, continuing on our circle journey around Torino. From Alba, we headed northeast to Asti, the capital of Italy's best-known bubbly, Asti Spumante.

It was snowing so hard in Asti that we could hardly make out the town's medieval towers, mostly built in the late 13th century.

At one point, Asti was one of Italy's richest towns and some 150 towers were built by different families to flaunt their wealth. Only a dozen remain, but that's more medieval towers than most towns have, right? Now, Asti -- and the area around it -- is known mostly for wine production.

We didn't have any spumante because it was early in the day and because I don't want you to think that all we're doing is drinking our way through the Piemonte (something I recommend highly).

As the snow accumulated around us, I decided to see if the people of Asti act like the people of Washington when a major snowstorm arrives.

I asked a couple of older women shopping under the Asti porticos (porticos are a Piemontese thing, I've decided...and they're beautiful in every city) whether they were stocking up on milk, eggs and toilet paper. I explained to one woman how we Washingtonians run to the supermarket as soon as there's a danger of major snow.

Why should I do that, she asked. There's pasta at home. There's olive oil. And if I need anything, I'll go shopping later.

By Daniela Deane |  January 27, 2006; 2:24 PM ET  | Category:  Asti , Wine
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