The last village in Piemonte before you enter the majestic Aosta Valley (and eventually France) is Carema. You have left behind the plains and low hills, and are now embraced by the pre-Alps. The town of Carema sits at the base of the 4400 foot (1336 meter) Mount Maletto, with vineyards carved into the steeper terrain around it. This western facing bowl acts as a heat trap, and makes possible the cultivation of Italy’s greatest red - Nebbiolo.
Steep terraces carved halfway up the mountain were already well established by the 16th century, and remained an important part of the economy until the 1890’s.
The terraces are unique looking, with heavy round columns of cut stone and mortar called Pilun, and wooden cross beams called topie (tabbie in local dialect) that support the vines. These terraces reflect the suns rays onto the vines during the day, then hold heat into the night.