The Canavese is located in the glacial basin between Ivrea and the Po river, in northwestern Italy. To the north is the narrow Fort de Brad passageway, guarding the primary entrance into Valle d'Aosta. To the south are the more gentle morainic hills of Caluso. The Dora Baltea river, traveling out from the Valle d'Aosta and on it way to the Po, cut though this area from north to south. At the center of the region is the prosperous town of Ivrea. This was a very important trade route, connecting Italy to northwestern Europe.
The area looks like a huge footprint left by a giant. The Balteo glacier originated from Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc) and travelled 75 miles to the beginning of the plain. As it moved, it ground rocks from the mountains and carried them. Millions of tons of debris were deposited at the mouth of the valley and formed hills called moraines.
The Via Francigena was an important ancient Roman road along the valley floor for people to make the pilgrimage to Rome. People still hike it today.
Only one tenth of Piedmontese wine comes from north of the Po river, and the Canavese shares this 10% with Novara and the Vercelli hills. Vineyards are found at elevations between 650-1600 feet (200-500m), mostly around the towns of Carema, Parella, and surrounding the small lakes of Candia and Viverone.
Images Courtesy of Tappero Merlo