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Other towns To rent a car in Italy you need to parking is common, triple parking impose traffic restrictions on certain be over 20, and to have held a full becoming more so. Towns and villages days, or at certain times of day licence for at least one year.

Be sure popular with tourists usually have Bergamo, for instance, does this in its that your rental agreement includes paying car parks just outside the historic centre, Citt Alta. Make sure collision-damage waiver CDW and centre, and many places now operate you read the signs: lavorativo or feriali theft protection, as well as unlimited a zoned parking scheme, with the means Monday to Saturday, and is mileage.

Child seats need to be type of zone indicated by the colour of marked by two crossed hammers; booked in advance. With the rise in the lines on the side of the road. Blue- festivi indicates Sundays and public inner-city congestion, automatic cars zone parking spaces have a maximum holidays, and is marked by a Christian are becoming more widely available.

If your hotel is within a restricted When you collect the vehicle you and cost around 1 an hour though area, you will need a police permit to will need to produce your passport, they can be free at lunchtime, after enter with your car they will need to driving licence and credit card from 8pm and on Sundays. White-zone know your registration number.

Yellow-zone areas are for The city of Milan has introduced a a security deposit. Cars are usually residents only. For zones where there congestion-charge scheme Ecopass supplied with a full tank of petrol, is a time-limit but no parking fee, in an attempt to reduce traffic and it is wise to return them refilled, Italian cars including rental cars come volumes and pollution.

Other towns as if not, you will be charged at an equipped with a mini clock dial that among them Genoa and Turin inflated rate for filling the tank.

All the major international car rental 10 per cent of the population has When parking, do not leave any companies such as Avis, Budget, a motorbike or scooter. Two-wheel valuables in your car and certainly Hertz and Europcar operate in Italy. Virtually all Italian It is worth comparing rates online the labyrinth of streets that forms the cars have removable car radios, before you decide which to use, as centre of many cities, and you will which Italian drivers invariably take well as investigating any deals offered usually find somewhere free to with them when they park.

Secure, by your airline; low-cost airlines are park, even in the busiest metropolis. Away from the city, Italy is an but hotels can offer guest discounts. You could compare the deals you exhilarating country to traverse by Disabled drivers displaying the have found yourself with those of bike, with roads twisting up and blue disabled badge can park in a reliable car-rental broker such as down mountains and along dramatic designated disabled spaces.

Holiday Autos or AutoEurope. Note that if caravan or trailer is 50 kmph 30 mph you are on a motorbike or scooter, a in built-up areas; 70 kmph 45 mph CAR HIRE helmet is compulsory for both driver on secondary and main roads; and AutoEurope and pillion a rule enforced with 80 kmph 50 mph on motorways.

The best maps for long journeys Motorcycles must use dipped head- and overall planning are the AA Road Budget www. Regional maps from www. Local they will not plot every country lane Holiday Autos councils have established designated and unsurfaced track. Touring Club www. These are rarely sold is becoming increasingly common. Blurent www.

Some www. In peak season, you will need to If you are intending to use a sat nav book places in advance at camp application on your mobile phone, sites. In quieter areas, free camping check that the software has on-board is on the increase, but it is illegal. Where to Stay Italy has some of the most memorable places to stay in Europe, ranging from grand hotels oozing belle poque glamour to boutique hotels on the cutting edge of contemporary design. Some boutique hotels are opportunity to experience exceptional run by hospitality-trade professionals, Agriturismi Italian hospitality, whether the setting others by passionate newcomers, The agriturismo scheme began in is a couple of rooms in a simple often from the worlds of architecture the s to enable farmers and city apartment or a glamorous suite and design.

Visitors will find plenty landowners to boost falling revenues in a historic palace. The BB Planet of boutique hotels recommended by renting out converted farm website is a useful online resource. In the best-run places, Italian hotels are given an official produce, others have full-blown breakfasts can be fantastic affairs, with rating of between 1 and 5 stars restaurants.

Many offer activities home-made jams and cakes, fresh though the 7-star Town House Galleria such as horse riding, and some have croissants and fruit; at the other end of has recently opened in Milan: www. Note that the with swimming pools, tennis courts a cellophane-packed croissant and a number of stars awarded to a hotel and mountain bikes to rent. This means that the star in coastal and lake resorts often an arrangement with a local caf.

They are usually open www. For the tentless, Official agriturismo website Facilities and Prices sites often have bungalows, sleeping www. Single rooms are rare, and you If you want to focus on a single region, www.

Bathrooms, for a week or two. The widest choice can Trip Advisor your sole use. In the cheapest hotels, be found in Tuscany and Umbria, but www. The more expen- properties in exquisitely restored Italian camp sites www.

The following price bands are based and surroundings. Weekend rates Castelmuzio Below Hotel Ristorante Locanda expensive over in city hotels are often great value.

Where to Eat One of the great pleasures of travelling in Northern and Central Italy is exploring the rich culinary and wine-making traditions of each region. Every drive in this guide provides the opportunity to sample regional specialities, whether it be the pesto and sh dishes of Liguria, the trues, hams and salamis of Umbria or the cheeses, dumplings and smoked sausages of the Alto-Adige.

Below is a basic guide to the typical kinds of eating places you will nd in Italy, from simple pizzerias to sophisticated gourmet haunts. Practical Information on a separate dish alongside. Finally, Above Sign for a pizza restaurant in Riva del Perhaps the most typical Italian there is the dolce, or dessert. House Garda, near Lake Garda breakfast is a croissant cornetto and wines can vary in quality, but a coffee at a bar. The coffee comes in quarto quarter , mezzo half or more basic, homely sort of place; the a staggering variety of modes, from 1-litre caraffa carafe will always menu was often scrawled on a short and sharp un caff to long and be at the very least drinkable.

An espresso In cities and major towns, credit newsprint to cover the tables and on diluted with hot water to make it cards are widely accepted less so which to write the bill. An osteria was resemble American filter coffee is an in smaller places and in the country, an unpretentious country or city Americano; an espresso with a blob where it is advisable to carry cash. Tax and service must be included meat with some cheese, and maybe Italians wouldnt dream of having a in the bill by law, and a small cover a simple pasta dish to accompany a frothy cappucino at any time of day charge coperto is usually added.

However, that other than breakfast. In summer, there Tipping is becoming more common; has all changed, and these days the is usually iced coffee caff freddo. Ristorante is now a youll find a few restaurants that keep fit the bill. Men like women will be neutral, generic term that could apply their kitchens open right through to expected to wear tops during meals, to anything from a Michelin-starred dinner, which is usually served from even at beachside places.

Only in gem to a seaside joint where mass- pm. Most restaurants are the most exclusive restaurants is dress catering is the order of the day; and closed one day a week and display formal, and men required to wear a although there are trattorie and osterie their giorno di chiusura closed day in tie and jacket.

Children are welcome that have existed for half a century, the window, although in the summer, in restaurants, even late at night. Meals begin with an antipasto, Ristoranti, Trattorie, Osterie Trattoria often implies an interest in or starter, followed by the primo, These are the three main types of reviving and reinventing traditional or first course most commonly restaurants in Italy, and until some dishes; whereas osteria tends to pasta, risotto or, in winter, a minestra years ago they were quite distinct.

The secondo is the meat A ristorante was a proper restaurant, the very best primary ingredients and fish course, with the contorno with linen tablecloths and waiters and wines, as promoted, for instance, vegetables or salad usually served in uniform.

A trattoria was usually a by the Slow Food movement. Where to Eat You have more a delicatessen alimentari where you on a three-course meal for one, chance of striking gold if you go to can buy delicacies such as rosemary- including a half-bottle of house wine, a pizzeria with a wood-burning oven spiked hams, mature gorgonzola, cover charge, tax and service: forno a legna , from which the pizzas speck and olives; a bakery il forno ; inexpensive under 25 should emerge bubbling, scorched and a greengrocer fruttivendolo moderate and blistered.

Pizzerias are almost or market mercato packed with expensive over 45 always informal places, and pizza is seasonal fruits and vegetables. The classic accompaniment markets also bring together local to pizza is a cold draught beer. Cafs and Bars There are often stalls with specialities At one end of the spectrum are grand from the south of Italy too capers, cafs with chandelier-lit interiors and sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella di terraces fringing some of the most bufala and spicy salami which add spectacular piazzas in Italy; at the other, an exotic touch.

Less romantically, modest local bars with s colour Italian supermarkets, including schemes, steaming coffee machines chains like Esselunga and Una, stock and dusty plastic flowers. These very good-quality fresh produce as unpretentious neighbourhood bars well as freshly baked bread. Some have a few tables outside Chiavenna steak or a freshly caught Sansepolcro market Below left Fruits on a for a more leisurely breakfast or apritif, red mullet. Around the lakes you will Bolzano market stall Below middle Al fresco though you should find time at least find free beaches spiaggia pubblica dining in Orvieto Below middle right once on your trip to dawdle over a where you can settle on a grassy Subterranean wine vault, Canonica a Cerreto, Campari soda and olives in a traditional patch by the lakeside and enjoy Chianti Below This bakery in San Casciano pavement caf watching life pass by.

In the Shadow of the Alps Turin to Castello di Rivoli Highlights Royal Turin Admire the sweeping boulevards, elegant hunting lodges and pleasure palaces of this aristocratic city Gourmet Piedmont Taste the regions famous mushrooms and truffles and sample the rich, French-influenced cuisine Strategic mountain passes Walk in the footsteps of some of historys greatest armies Hannibal, Augustus and Napoleon all marched through the Alps near Aosta Paradise park Explore Italys first national park, the Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso, and see ibex, chamois, marmots and magnificent golden eagles.

In the Shadow of the Alps The rolling hillsides around Turin produce some of the worlds most delectable wines and prized gourmet delicacies, such as white true and various kinds of cheese.

Encircled by palaces and former hunting lodges and set against the amphitheatre of the snow-capped Alps, Aiguille du Midi Ferret. Turin is well-endowed with beautiful architecture and cutting-edge m Arnouvaz. The tour then passes through the dramatic landscape of Col. Colle d. La Thuile Sarre S. Bernardo ch e M. Paramont en Introd. Hike in the mountains and then take a chairlift or cable car from Courmayeur or La Thuile up to the highest peaks in Europe.

Number of days: 34, allowing half Grand Combin a day to explore Turin. Stretches M. Emilius of the route between Pr-Saint-Didier m M. Val d. Almese Tor. Airasca Carignano find a host of buildings to explore Villa- stellone in Turin with the works of Baroque architect Juvarra, and impressive museums and churches.

Outdoor enthusiasts can take the mountain air in historic Aosta. For full details, see p Its Museo Torino. Park under Piazza Vittorio. Indeed, it was the first capital and has a garden for al fresco meals. Today, it is the countrys design and Via Nino Costa 4, ; ; contemporary art capital.

And, for a taste of the dolce vita, Turin is www. Des Artistes moderate Centrally located near the Piazza Vittorio Veneto, this boho chic hotel has just 22 A three-hour walking tour of cinema with props and classic film pleasant and well-appointed rooms and From Piazza Vittorio Veneto, clips, including the car chase in The offers good, professional service.

Take the glass lift to ; www. Next, old Fiat factory designed by Renzo Antonelliana 1. Topped by turn right and then left into Piano , this hotel has minimalist airy a m ft spire, this the wide Corso San Maurizio rooms, glass walls and large bathrooms.

Continue through the lent Museo Nazionale del Madonna and child, park to the far corner and Below clockwise from top left The grand Cinema closed Mon. The opulent exterior of the Palazza Madama in the Piazza production capital of the world interior is graced with chinoiserie, Castello; dome of the Chiesa di San Lorenzo The museum re-creates the story gold, velvet and tapestries.

A MA Chiesa di. GLI UR. TEB E. Two tombs of over 50 members of the LOsteria del Corso inexpensive of Turins most atmospheric cafs are Savoy family. Duke Vittorio Amedeo Simple, good family-run fish place. The funicular ride 4 open daily.

The interior of this from Sassi station just below up to Cera Una Volta moderate church is a Baroque fantasy of marble, the basilica is always popular with chil- Welcoming restaurant offering regional specialities and an excellent menu stucco and gilding. It also has a dren. A large plaque in the grounds degustazione. Corso Vittorio replica of the Sindone di Torino Turin commemorates the tragic loss of the Emanuele ll 41, ; ; Shroud , believed to be the sheet in Grande Torino football team, whose www.

The Museo del Grande Torino Ristorante del Cambio expensive Quadrilatero 5 the gridded area displays the teams memorabilia. Turins most famous restaurant serves authentic bollito misto a mix of that recalls the old Roman settle- Head west to pick up SS11 then cooked meats. Booking essential. The cobbled streets are full SP Castello take SR to Biella. The collection includes papyri, a black statue of Ramses ll 13th century BC , sarcophagi and the tomb of Kha and Merit c.

At the heart of Textile Valley, Biella Go north, signposted Champdepraz, is famous as a major centre for high- turn right at SR6, left at SS26 towards quality wool and yarn production, Aosta and follow signs to Fnis.

More than 50 Local cuisine matches robust flavours factory outlets line the industrial with French flair, reflecting the areas approach roads many of which are relationship with the House of on the SS look for spaccio on Savoy.

The woods, especially near signs, meaning outlets. There are Alba, are truffle- and mushroom- also outlets in Biella see right. The rich and any dish with salsa di tartufi bianchi will be delicious. Bagna town has a compact, attractive cauda is a warm, aromatic dip made centre and highlights include the with oil, anchovies, garlic and cream. Renaissance basilica and cloister of Blue gorgonzola is the best- known St Sebastian, with lovely frescoes cheese dolce creamy or piccante inside.

A funicular goes up to the crumbly , but look for soft cheeses, beautiful medieval village of Piazzo. Fork right on SP73, then with Albas white truffles. Set on such as Il Melograno closed Wed. AOSTA il melograno of iron. Much restored Its origins date to the 13th century, Hotel Europe moderate over the years, the palace has vivid but what is visible today is largely Set in the heart of the old town, this frescoes of 15th-century street life, the creation of Aimone de comfortable hotel albergo is both elegant and welcoming.

Its 63 rooms along with period furniture and arti- Challant, who belonged to a noble are decorated to a high standard and facts. Nearby, the village Champdepraz family linked to the Savoys. The castle there is a pleasant restaurant. The inner Agriturismo lArc en Ciel inexpensive This working farm has five pleasingly furnished rooms. Home-grown produce is served in the fine restaurant. Extremely good value. Its 22 rooms are clad in pine and there is a warming, wood-burning oven in the restaurant.

Via Laydetr 7, ; ; www. There is also a small museum of local furniture inside. There is a car park at Piazza Arco dAugusto. To south to Cogne. The chef, Alfio Fascendini, bell tower and an elegant cloister. Today, it Via Tourneuve 4, ; ; purchased from cuckoo clocks to is home to the endangered ibex, www.

Maps of the footpaths and Lou Ressignon to the city. Inside, on the right, lie routes are available from the visitor inexpensivemoderate the remains of a Roman theatre. Just information centre Via Bourgeois 34, Well-established family-run inn specializing in authentic Valdostano to the north, accessed through the ; A path meanders specialities.

At weekends, music Convento di San Giuseppe, is the south to Valnontey, where the complements feasting. Also has rooms. Amphitheatre open daily. The best time to see Splendid little restaurant with a warm, art treasures from the area in the these is from late-June to mid-July. Visitors can also buy some excellent produce in the shop. OctMar: closed Mon. Next to the left on to the SS This road becomes Rue Grand Paradis 21, ; Duomo is the Roman Forum with a the Avenue du Gant Champex ; reduced hours in low season supporting arcade cryptoporticus.

While there are many outlets just outside town, within Biella itself is Fratelli Cerruti Via Cernaia 40; open daily , selling men and womens classic clothes with 30 per cent plus discount, and sportswear specialist Fila Via Cesare Battisti 28; closed Mon mornings. Nearby La Thuile reached via the SS26; closed in winter was once a mining area and is now a picturesque skiing and hiking town, and more of a family resort than chic Courmayeur. In summer chairlifts allow access to heights of 2, m 7, ft for some spectacular walking and trekking.

Take the SS26, entering France on the D The main hub, Via Roma, pass in the Alps on the French-Italian There is a large car park by the cable is traffic free and full of designer shops border. It was an important invasion car to Plan Checrouit, on the southern and gourmet gems. The Museo route and Napoleon I built a road edge of town. Alpino Duca degli Abruzzi Piazza there in It is also believed by Visitor Information Abb Henry 2; ; closed Wed some to have been Hannibals pass Piazzale Monte Bianco 8, ; morning tells tales of dramatic moun- when he marched his army and ; www.

Enter Italy on. There are 33 the picturesque town Pr-Saint-Didier w Exilles individually designed rooms, together is famous for its warm thermal waters. The restaurant is noted for its excellent food and service.

There is a splendid fort. Exilles Fort Via degli ; www. The waters are said to valley, but also a great example of this prestigious hotel is noted for its have detoxifying, toning and anti- military architecture. A fort has kept charm and good service. There is a inflammatory properties. There is also a very pleasant restaurant. Via Roma 87, ; ; www. France and Italy since the 12th century, although what is visible today is mainly from the 19th century. It is said that from , the Man in the Iron Mask, a prisoner whose face and identity remain a mystery to this day, was incarcerated within these walls.

Many have theorized as to his identity, most famously Alexandre Dumas, who postulated that he was Louis XIVs identical twin. It is an imposing Baroque Head back northeast on the SS The Combal. Established in , it draws remarkably well-preserved marble customers from all over the area. In the medieval Michelin-starred restaurant in the historic centre, the Romanesque Museo dArte Contemporanea, featuring classic Piedmont dishes, Cattedrale di San Giusto open daily , but with very creative twists dating from the 12th century, has a variant of molecular gastronomy lovely frescoes and a fine campanile.

This is where full of gourmet delights. Then head out to the grand fairytale castle in Fnis 6. Next, those based in Aosta, the amazing hunting lodge Palazzina di Caccia di head to Cogne 8 to visit the Parco mountain scenery is easy to explore. Stupinigi 1 and the magnificent Nazionale del Gran Paradiso for an Castello di Rivoli r filled with invigorating walk among breath- Baroque architecture tour thought-provoking modern art.

Aosta is located on the SS In the Land of the Truffle Barbaresco to Cuneo Highlights Kings of wine Taste the nectar of the gods made from the Barolo and Barbaresco vineyards in the Langhe region Gourmet delights Linger over your meal in Bra, the home of Slow Food, and savour the famous white truffle of Alba Mountain rides Zig-zag up the mountain pass from Sampeyre for spectacular views Valley pastures Stroll along the lush, wooded Valle Maira to the sound of sheep bells Timeless Saluzzo Take a tour of mellow Saluzzos historic core, through frescoed Renaissance houses and palazzi.

In the Land of the Truffle Piedmonts attractions are diverse. The vine-braided hills of the Langhe yield velvety and elegant wines such as Barolo and Barbaresco among Italys most celebrated while in the oak woods around Alba, keen-nosed hounds sni out valuable musky white trues. Villages in the area are dotted with ne restaurants Bra was the birthplace of the Slow Food movement , which make the most of the bounty of hazelnut and chestnut groves, fruit orchards and mountain pastures.

Castles and churches perch on hills; Occitan, the ancient Romance language of troubadors, is still spoken in the Alpine valleys; and the dramatic mountain scenery is never less than enthralling.

Vari Ruffia la Colletta M. Bracco Ostana San Cavallermaggiore. Indulge in gourmet food in the Colletto Robilante m so village or mountain restaurants s Ge. Entracque Vernante frescoes in the villages above n e. Matto ag. Number of days: 34, allowing for a day in the Langhe region and a day each for Valle Varaita and Valle Maira. Distance: Approx km 90 miles. Road conditions: Roads are well- surfaced, but not always numbered. Rural routes are slow, winding and popular with motor bikers and cyclists Sommariva at weekends.

Mountain passes can be. T Sanfr Castagnole Corneliano delle Lanze passing places. Late autumn sees fog throughout. The T. Opening times: Shops tend to open i Dem. Monforte some closing on Monday morning.

Museums vary; those in smaller places close in the weeks Fossano early part. Check ahead out of season. Magliano Shopping: Alba is full of shops selling Alpi truffles and truffle-infused products oil, pasta, pure as well as hazelnut Morozzo cakes and sweets.

Cuneo is famous Above Abandoned brick bridge on the route to Bra, see p43 Below Lofty mountain peaks of for chestnuts and Bra for its cheese. Outdoor enthusiasts can head for the pretty villages, valley greenery and mountain scenery of the Valle Varaita. Step Barbaresco, overlooking the Tanaro inside the cathedral to see the lovely river, makes a good introduction wooden choir stalls depicting still to the hilltop villages of the Langhe lifes and townscapes, inlaid in area, whose vineyards spill down the by Bernardino Fossati.

The main street, slopes in geometric patterns towards Via Vittorio Emanuele II, is lined with the rolling hills beyond. A stroll down shops selling truffles, oils, pastas, Via Torino reveals characteristics wines, cheeses and chocolates.

Turn left at Gallo for Grinzane one of a string of medieval watch- Cavour signposted. Park by the castle. The pleasures of the table ubiquitous regional enoteca, housed were held in high regard even before in the former church of San Donato.

Look for bagna Cascina Rein inexpensive cauda hot bath an olive oil dip A liberty-style villa with great views, set with anchovies and garlic, fritto misto among vineyards and orchards a short 2 Alba fried meats , bollito misto boiled drive east of Alba on Viale Cherasca.

Cuneo, Piemonte; meats , tajarin egg tagliatelle and Truffle hunts can be arranged. Alba rose to prominence in medieval agnolotti egg ravioli , the mountain Localit Altavilla 9, ; ; times, when brick towers cheese castelmagno, and the testicles www. During October and Cuneo, Piemonte; A short drive southwest of La Morra, November, swarms of chefs and food The magnificent 16th-century Castello its a good base for wine-country tours.

Via Rittane 7, Frazione Vergne, ; ; www. On its faade, he is portrayed 19th century. His bed, mayoral sash fine antiques and furnishings, a lush garden and pool. Good breakfast too. Via Roma , ; ; Below left Green rolling hills and vineyards around Barbaresco Below right The famous truffle www.

In November, the castle gains worldwide attention with its prestigious white truffle auction, when astronomical amounts of money sometimes in excess of , for a single lot change hands.

More affordable for visitors are the fine wines and grappas for sale in the attached regional enoteca. Above left The exquisite dome of the Chiesa views across wine country. Theres Tremlett in exchange for a supply also a well-priced tasting menu.

Enrico Crippa. On the ground floor, La The highlight of this diminutive town Piola offers less expensive, rustic fare. King of Wines. The vineyard has This lively town its name coming from piazzaduomoalba. Through Slow Food movement. As a result, for hazelnut chocolate truffles.

The tour ends in the tempio restaurants here. The tall church of fondue , and beef braised in Barolo. Theres an enoteca the words of its creator Bernardo closed Wed on hand for those who want to buy. Park in Piazza Martiri. Chiesa di SantAndrea open movement with a lovely courtyard daily is giddily Baroque, from its setting, this serves rabbit tajarin thin 5 La Morra statue-topped faade to its altar tagliatelle with butter and sage.

Via Mendicit 14, ; ; Cuneo, Piemonte; packed with candles. Antique toys www. Other options bars for tasting. Park in Viale del Sole or Viale drunken cheese aged in grape skins , Castello is rewarded with superb Gozzano around the Parco Graneris.

Above Riverbed on the way to Sampeyre in the Valle Varaita Above right The historic 7 Savigliano celebrates the exploits of Vittorio centre of Saluzzo, with views across the valley Cuneo, Piemonte; Amedeo I, Duke of Savoy, in a series Despite losing out to Turin in the of bold military frescoes, and has bid to be the capital of the Savoy more decorative feminine rooms too. Close by is the Baroque 18th-century pharmacy. Palazzo Taffini dAcceglio enquire Follow the signs for Saluzzo at tourist office for admission , which directly westwards on the SP Almost in France, the city was constantly changing hands between the French and the House of Savoy.

On a walk through the narrow lanes and steep cobbled alleyways and steps up to the old town, it feels as though time has stopped here. To the left stands the Master of Elva. The tourist office is Park in Piazza Garibaldi. Cross Corso Italia Vergine 1 open daily , whose faade and turn left through the Porta Santa Tourist Information Piazza Risorgimento 1, ; has three round windows.

The interior Maria 2 and follow Via Alessandro ; www. CO CIT. FR VA A. Vicolo Mercati 10, ; ; VI. CH LT. TA RE. CH NI I. RIO TT. RA O FE. LL A MU. Set on a hill amid parkland, this IST. ORI AV rooms. R beauty treatments are also available.

Volta, lined with porticoes, to Madonna della Misericordia altarpiece Piazzetta dei Mondagli 3, where, at in Room 5. Dont miss the glorious number 5, the 19th-century writer panoramic view.

Head back houses with frescoes, loggias and along Viale della Liberazione and terracotta decoration, and on to the Via Savigliano to the car. Climb up for marvellous to Sampeyre. The road is slow, with views over the medieval rooftops to some sharp bends. Park in Piazza the mountains. At the top of the della Vittoria. Salita are the Piazza Castello 5, the Fontana della Drancia a favourite 9 Sampeyre spot for newly married couples to Cuneo, Piemonte; be photographed , and the bulky The road follows and crosses the Castiglia 6 with its formidable keep Varaita river as it winds its way Above The rugged Valle Maira seen from once home to the marquises and through the Valle Varaita to the largest the road to Elva Below Stream cascading later until a prison.

Visit to see the brick church and the the tourist office in Piazza della Romanesque bell tower of San Vittoria for information. Along the Giovanni 7, begun in If the way, leafy woods and lofty mountains church is open, look in at the frescoes frame the views.

Of interest are the by Pietro da Saluzzo and, in the apse, terracotta church of Santi Pietro e the Cappella dei Marchesi, burial Paolo open daily , which has frescoes place of Ludovico II, who is ornately by the Biazaci brothers, and a small, displayed as a medieval knight. On the way to Sampeyre, General of the Marquis, Galeazzo stop at Piasco look for the brown La Gargotta del Pellico moderate Located in the historic centre, this Cavassa, it was restored by a devotee sign to visit the Victor Salvi Harp excellent restaurant uses quality of the arts in the s and filled with Museum JunSep: open MonFri; ingredients for a seasonal menu of Renaissance art and antiques.

There OctMay: open SunFri. The seafood dishes are a coffered ceilings. The highlight. Good wine list and friendly service. Wood and rubble houses line the isolated valley at Elva, a village once famous for collecting and selling womens hair for wigmaking.

The 15th-century Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta, decorated with animal and human heads on its exterior capitals, is adorned inside with a colourful series of frescoes by Hans Clemer. The SP is signposted to Stroppo. Park in the square by the church. There are lovely walks leading to waterfalls and lakes from here and from Chiappera, a little further on , but arm yourself with a good map before setting off. Take SP back through Stroppo and east to Dronero.

Park in Piazza XX Settembre on the west side of town. For the Riserva Ciciu, take the SP24 towards Busca for 2 km 1 mile , then turn left at the crossroads for Villar Above left and right The pleasant townscape San Costanzo and follow the signs. This river. Four prettily furnished rooms in a typical rustic 19th-century village tower and contains beautiful frescoes Also of interest are the octagonal house, accessed down steep cobbled by the Master of Stroppo.

To see inside, grain market and the Museo Civico stone steps. Drive to the ; www. Clustered in the Tetto Garrone inexpensive w Acceglio woods, the ciciu puppets are huge, Surrounded by nut groves, this lovely Cuneo, Piemonte; eroded rocks with stone caps, up farmhouse has large modern rooms, a At an altitude of 1, m 4, ft , to 10 m 30 ft high.

They were left courtyard garden of white flowers and a kitchen for the use of guests. Acceglio is the last town of the Valle behind after the glaciers retreated. Via Campagna 45, Roata Rossi, Maira. During the 16th century, it was There are some great views and it Roata Rossi is signposted off SR ; a stronghold of Calvinism, allowing is an excellent spot for a picnic.

Look for signs Elegant hotel with 40 rooms, central location and garage parking a king and a pope have been past guests. It can organize truffle hunts in autumn. Via Roma 37, Cuneo, ; ; www. There is parking beyond the baths.

Set in the Parco delle Alpi Marittime www. Take the third exit, go Lou Savranot moderate Retrace the journey here, turning straight over the next roundabout This tiny, brick-vaulted restaurant has a right for Entracque before Valdieri. Bear hot , game, trout and wild herbs. Via Nazionale 64, Fraz. Park paid by the lake.

Cuneo, Piemonte; Sun; closed Jan; booking advised The university town of Cuneo, t Lago della Rovina wedged between the Gesso CUNEO Cuneo, Piemonte; and Stura rivers, has a purposeful, Osteria della Chiocciola moderate The drive climbs gently through the bustling air and is a good base for The first-floor restaurant serves great specialities such as ravioli ripieni di mountains to the Parco delArgentura exploring many parts of Piedmont.

Its impossible to miss the west of the wide 19th-century Theres also a bustling wine bar beneath. Take costumes and displays prehistoric, Arione moderate a gentle hike through the woods Roman and medieval artifacts. The local delicacy is Cuneesi al rhum around the lake, or make a full day Strolling through the town, look out a kind of bittersweet chocolate truffle made with rum. Ernest Hemingway of it and head over the ridge to Lago for tempting displays of chestnut stopped by to try it in Look sweetmeats and Castelmagno Piazza Galimberti Tancredi 14, ; out for marmots, chamois and eagles.

Drive on through spectacular food and wine of the Langhe especially in the golden evening mountain scenery to the villages vineyards and the hilltop villages. Here, The stunning mountain scenery and admire the frescoes in the churches From Alba take SP3 to Barolo, then wilderness is easily reached from before returning through the Saluzzo or Cuneo. From here, head up to the for La Morra 5, a town with great Mountain and valley greenery Colle di Sampeyre and down on SP views over the rolling hills and Drive at a leisurely pace through the to Stroppo.

Follow SP to Dronero, vineyards. Sacred Mountains and Island Palaces Popular in the 19th century as a stop on the Grand Tour, Lago Maggiore is a beautiful stretch of water reaching north into Switzerland. Nearby, little Lago dOrta holds the bewitching village of Orta San Giulio with its magical island and laid-back atmosphere.

The resort of Stresa, with its grand hotels, is the departure point for boats to the lavish palaces and gardens of the Borromean Islands. The areas temperate climate sets the gardens ablaze with camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons. Above this perfect setting, the steep hillsides are dotted with extraordinary 17th-century chapels forming the Sacri Monti Sacred Mountains. Away from the lake, to the east, the little known town of Varese is a ne discovery, with its pretty centre, country walks and top-class art gallery.

Aurano Intragna Pa r c sio. Be Nazionale Pala u della. Bernardino Verb. Baveno Isola go S tr. Mazzarone Carpugnino rta. Cornaggia Pettenasco Armeno m a Agogn.

Briga Talonno Novarese Dormelletto S. Number of days: 45 days, including a day on Lago Maggiore and a days activity exploring the Val Cannobina. Maccagno Trarego The lakeside roads are good, although winding, and they get very busy in Cnnero summer, especially at weekends. Dumenza Use snow chains in winter.

Ghiffa Porto Valtravaglia Opening times: Shops tend to open re. MonSat 9am1pm and 37pm. Hours o. All villages have Campo dei Fiori good alimentari grocers selling local m Rasa di Arcisate salamis, cheeses, dried mushrooms Monvalle Varese Santa Maria and good Piedmont red wines.

Alternatively, Corgeno an attractive, circular route south and 0 kilometres 5 west from Stresa takes in the views, Sesto Calende from the giant statue of San Carlone, 0 miles 5 the pretty town of Orta San Giulio and the Alpine pastures between. It is a Montrigiasco.

Follow signs to Gozzano till figure in the Counter-Reformation. Turn right, heading north Climb up inside the hollow colossus along the lake to Orta San Giulio. Parking Use the car park by the tourist office Via A two-hour walking tour remains are in the crypt.

The only Panoramica. From here, a tourist train From the car park and tourist office, street, Via del Silenzio, becoming heads to the centre and Sacro Monte. Palazzo dei Vescovi. The the Salit della Motta, a This family-run three-star hotel has 16th-century town hall, stepped lane past the late- en-suite rooms and a lakeside location. Dwarves 6. Ortas oldest house, On the northernmost of the Borromean From the piazza, take a boat to Isola dating from the 14th century, this Islands, this wonderfully romantic, di San Giulio 4.

Legend has it that, in building takes its name from its four bedroom hotel is handsomely AD , Giulio, a Christian preacher, tiny windows. Passing by houses in a furnished. Once the last boat has gone, the island is all yours. RE PA. LC RA. Assunta di Francesco NT E. Palazzo della O. Isola di M E. Villa Crespi RA. VIA E. For a scenic day trip, start from Stresa with a leisurely ferry ride tickets at ferry stations and tourist offices to the end of the lake and into Switzerland passports are a must.

Stroll through lakeside Locarno and hop on board the Centovalli express, a Swiss train that passes through stunning Alpine scenery to Domodossola, Italy. There is time for a wander and a meal before catching the express train along the historic Simpln line back to Stresa www.

Set on a hillside above Baroque palace with terraced gardens. There is a large pay-and-display at the lake, with views to Isola di San Visit quieter Isola Madre open mid- Piazza Marconi by the ferry terminal.

Giulio, this is a devotional path with Marmid-Oct for its 16th-century villa Tourist Information 21 chapels illustrating the life of and extensive gardens, with splendid Piazza Marconi 16, ; ; www. Built between magnolias and camellias in spring. Villa Crespi expensive Return to the car park on the train. A 5-minute stroll north of the centre This two-Michelin-starred restaurant, set in a Moorish-style luxury hotel, serves Leaving Orta San Giulio, cross the of Stresa leads to the Lido, where a innovative Mediterranean cuisine.

Turn left on SP, stopping halfway at the lovely www. There are attractive Away from the crowds, this cosy wine and down the narrow lanes to Stresa.

Via Bersani 28, ; ; Sacri Monti you prefer, by mountain bike. Continue a path to the top of a mountain. The along the waterside SS34 to Cannobio.

The fish the 16th and 17th centuries during from Orta San Giulio Below Statue of Carlo and seafood are particularly good. The town is is now a sedate place with grand hotels, manicured gardens and a pedestrianized centre. It is beautifully located with stunning views up the lake to the Alps, and across to the famous treasures of the Borromean Islands.

They were built between and and contain depictions of biblical scenes, including the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, with God looking down from above. Return to SS34 and turn right towards Verbania. After 6 km 4 miles , once in Intra, follow signs to Villa Taranto, where there is a car park.

This attractive riverside path, is an 8-km 5-mile round trip and forest-clad hills Above Ferry taking visitors 4 Cannobio navigable on foot or by bike. It has a Parking good beach, a wide choice of There are several well signposted pay- watersports and plenty of cycle trails and-display car parks; Piazza Martiri della Libert at the northern end is the largest.

Accommodation and 6 Verbania restaurant options are dotted among Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Piedmont; Tourist Information the pretty, stepped lanes. The town is Mussolini merged the villages of Via A Giovanola 25; ; www. The Santuario della Santissima This is an attractive town with narrow Tourist Information Piet was built at the site in Then draw is the Villa Taranto open ; ; turn right, following signs to Sacro Easterend Oct.

In , capitalizing www. Via Marconi 35, ; ; www. Via Vittorio Veneto 9, ; ; www. Via Beata C Moriggi 43, ; ; www. The resulting 7 km 4 miles of 8 Arcumeggia pathways meander through beds of Casalzuigno, Varese; Lombardia dahlias, camellias and rhododendrons, The stone houses and crumbling past ponds with spectacular fountains courtyards of this mountain village and giant lily pads and lotus flowers.

Figurative works by artists Follow the road for m such as Aligi Sassu and Remo Brindisi yards to the Intra ferry station and adorn the faades of some houses as catch the car ferry to Laveno. Take part of an ongoing regeneration SS signposted Gavirate out of project that began in the s. Laveno to the roundabout in Fracce. To Informal restaurant in a narrow alleyway, serving Piedmontese dishes the north of town well signposted featuring mushrooms and game.

There are also refined waterside restaurant combine landscaped gardens and a good caf. From the parks ridge, This classic trattoria serves traditional Set in the chestnut-tree valley of Cvia the Via Sacra, a 2-km 1-mile fare: the antipasto della casa mixed hors is the village of Casalzuigno, whose cobbled path, leads up the mountain doeuvres is a delicious meal in itself.

Via B Broggi 7; ; www. The villa has splendid frescoes, a Sacro Monte that culminates in the Taverna delle Ruote inexpensive and there are interesting period Baroque Santuario di Santa Maria del This country trattoria serves seasonal kitchens and farm buildings, too.

Monte and the village of Santa Maria produce and decent house wine. A 3-minute funicular open off the SP62, north of Varese , ; left on SP7, up the steep switchback weekends and summer whisks less ; www. Chugging across the lakes explore Isola Bella before moving on the statue of San Carlone 1, then on a ferry really should not be missed. Isola dei Pescatori for a meal of lake Catch a speedboat to its island and Lake Maggiore Express fish at one of the waterside have a dip in the lake before driving to A very reasonably priced round trip restaurants.

Aim to return to Stresa Stresa for an aperitif and dinner. Comos Villas and Villages Como to Brunate Highlights Lakeside splendour Enjoy the serene gardens and magnificent villas that have made Lake Como so famous A change of view Let someone else do the steering and see things from a different perspective on Lake Comos traghetto ferry service Bella Bellagio Visit the prettiest of the lakeside villages, set on the tip of a promontory with a scenic wooded hill behind it Romance and panoramas Explore romantic Varennas exquisite villa gardens and climb up to Castello di Vezio for panoramic lake views.

Comos Villas and Villages Famed for the sparkling beauty of its water, romantic villas and serene lakeside gardens, Lake Como does not disappoint. The natural setting of thickly wooded mountainsides rising up from KEY Nggio beside the lake has been drawing visitors since Roman times Drive route the 19th-century Romantics were particularly attached to the area. This route includes ferry crossings, shore-hugging roads and country lanes with several leg-stretching jaunts up to panoramic viewpoints.

Como, Bellagio, Varenna and other villages are perfect spots to pause and enjoy the water for an afternoon or longer. Sala Comacina. Nesso Vleso Brienno. Above Appreciating the lakeside scenery from Bellagio, see p61 M. San Bernado Careno. Number of days: 23 days, allowing Bellano half a day in Varenna.

Plsio Distance: Approx km 62 miles. In summer, o. Giovanni Most lake hotels and restaurants close from the end of October until Easter. Villa opening hours differ; some are closed La. Guello Grumo on Monday and the gardens usually go. Pe Main market days: Como: Tue di. Mandello M. Primo Magrglio del Lrio Shopping: Como is famous for its high- o.

Ponci m Barni quality silk, supplying Milan and the Onno o worlds fashion houses. Ti town. Workshops in Bellagio produce d. Pi an Stock up too on Valtellina red wines Colma from the northern end of the lake. Varenna: Festa del Lago recalls the attack by Como , 1st weekend of Jul.

For a more restful time, take a drive on the quiet back- roads away from the lakes bustle. Or make use of the ferries by crossing to Villa Balbianello, then back to explore Varenna with its villas and castle. From Como, head north on SS, the lakeside road signposted for Cernobbio. Running along the waters edge, the route weaves past private jetties, glorious retreats and splendid gardens built by European aristocrats and wealthy industrialists over the last few hundred Above View from behind Bellagio out over Lake years.

It is best from the lake, so drivers on this road VISITING COMO enjoyed by wandering the cobbled, are free to enjoy the views, stop to Parking criss-crossing grid of narrow lanes, explore the little hamlets or peek Follow signs to a central multi-storey car a reminder of its Roman origins, and into the celebrity-owned gardens.

Turn Tourist Information town in Brunate see p An ancient left to the Sanctuario just after a bend Piazza Cavour 17, ; ; silk-producing town, Como is a good in the centre of the village. Park at the www. Next door is the Como, Lombardia; medieval broletto market hall built Set in the folds of the hills above Del Duca moderate This comfortable three-star hotel has in striped marble. Via Valassina 31, ; ; www.

Above left Elegant Villa Balbianello, built in painted life-size plaster figures in information and you can hire bikes on Lake Como Above centre Life-size scenes from the Bible to the Church from most hotels. It is a Piazza Garibaldi offers some of the Ossuccio Above Comos Piazza San Fedele, wonderful retreat from the lakeside best restaurants and an attractive the site of law courts in Roman times hustle and bustle, with superb views promenade leads down to the lido.

Parking and continue north for 1 km half a The centre of Bellagio is car-free so use mile , then follow signs to the parking the spaces on the edge of the village. Limited free spots green paint are on the right. Otherwise, the blue pay-and- Lenno, Como, Lombardia; display bays are the only option. Some One of many sumptuous lakeside hotels have special deals for parking.

Paths lead down This family-run delicatessen offers from the delightful loggia through mouthwatering home-made pasta, beautiful terraced gardens to the salamis and cheeses, and serves a water. Film buffs might recognize the Above Palm-lined lakeside promenade, or good-value lunch in a pretty courtyard.

The house 6 Bellagio La Colombetta moderate Simple, elegant dining rooms provide contains a small museum to its last Como, Lombardia; the backdrop for Sardinian-inspired owner, the explorer and mountaineer On the tip between the two arms of fish specialities, often including Guido Monzino and his Chinese, Lake Como, pretty Bellagio has been home-made pasta, accompanied African and pre-Columbian art. The by good Italian wines. Continue north on the SS to village centre is a criss-cross of steep, Via Diaz 40, ; ; www.

The 17th-century Il Ristorante di Paolo moderate Villa Serbelloni, a Rockerfeller institute, Excellent food served in a relaxed 5 Menaggio is closed to the public, but its formal and elegant atmosphere. The staff are Como, Lombardia; terraced gardens can be visited on a helpful about the good wine list. From town, its a nice Silvio moderate there is even a good golf course half-hour stroll to the fishing hamlets, The simple, refined meals based around set up by four British visitors in ; Loppia west or Pescallo east.

Via Imbarcadero 1, ; ; www. Head uphill from the church, and through an olive grove This stylish hotel is centrally located, with a good restaurant, great lake ferry station 1 to the main road. Turn to the 13th-century Castello di Vezio views and charming owners. There are falconry displays at Hotel Du Lac moderate Codeno.

A minute walk up this very the weekend and an outdoor trattoria Tucked in a quiet corner of the village, stepped mountain path leads to Vezio, serving good, local specialities. There is a shaded waterfront bar and breakfast is served outside. Follow the down to Varenna. From the church, NI. Vezio Castello di Vezio. Continue along, under a stone museum with bicycles and Giro- bridge, and take the signposted right winners pink jerseys, donated by fork downhill.

A few minutes steep Italys cycling greats. From the walk or drive, accompanied by Romeo Belvedere nearby there are glorious views, leads to the main road unbeatable views of the eastern arm into Varenna. Turn right and cross over of the lake and the Grigne mountains. At Colma, Il Castello di Vezio inexpensive Turn left out of the villa there is an astronomical This informal al fresco restaurant serves and pop into the splendid observatory and great views in lake fish, grilled meats and their own garden with its relaxing three directions.

Head towards organic vegetables and olive oil. Wash viewpoint at the hotel next it all down with local Valtellina wine. Pian del Tiviano, which is ; www.

Here, the Il Cavatappi moderate 5, with its 13th-century road switchbacks down to Reservations are needed at this tiny, parish church and the 10th-century Nesso, a pretty lakeside village.

The dishes are excellent chapel of San Giovanni Battista 6, Drive along SP41, turn right onto and include local lake-fish specialities. There is also a good list of local wines. At SS turn left ; www. In comparison to previous Windows releases, which had a longer turnover between the release to manufacturing RTM and general release to allow for testing by vendors and in some cases, the development of “upgrade kits” to prepare systems for installation of the new version , an HP executive explained that because it knew Microsoft targeted the operating system for a release, the company was able to optimize its then-current and upcoming products for Windows 10 in advance of its release, negating the need for such a milestone.

The general availability build of Windows 10, numbered , was first released to Windows Insider channels for pre-launch testing on July 15, , prior to its formal release. Windows 10 is distributed digitally through the “Media Creation Tool”, which is functionally identical to the Windows 8 online installer, and can also be used to generate an ISO image or USB install media. Changing between architectures e. Windows 10 was available in countries and languages upon its launch, and as part of efforts to “re-engage” with users in China, Microsoft also announced that it would partner with Qihoo and Tencent to help promote and distribute Windows 10 in China, and that Chinese PC maker Lenovo would provide assistance at its service centers and retail outlets for helping users upgrade to Windows Windows RT devices cannot be upgraded to Windows During its first year of availability, [] upgrade licenses for Windows 10 could be obtained at no charge for devices with a genuine license for an eligible edition of Windows 7 or 8.

This offer did not apply to Enterprise editions, as customers under an active Software Assurance SA contract with upgrade rights are entitled to obtain Windows 10 Enterprise under their existing terms. All users running non-genuine copies of Windows, and those without an existing Windows 7 or 8 license, were ineligible for this promotion; although upgrades from a non-genuine version were possible, they result in a non-genuine copy of On the general availability build of Windows 10 the original release , to activate and generate the “digital entitlement” for Windows 10, the operating system must have first been installed as an in-place upgrade.

During the free upgrade, a genuineticket. Once installed, the operating system can be reinstalled on that particular system via normal means without a product key , and the system’s license will automatically be detected via online activation – in essence, the Microsoft Product Activation Server will remember the system’s motherboard and give it the green light for product re-activation.

Since the release of the Fall Creators Update version , Microsoft decided to release multi-edition installation media, to alleviate installation and product activation issues users experienced because of accidentally installing the wrong edition of Windows The Windows Insider Preview version of Windows 10 automatically updated itself to the generally released version as part of the version progression and continues to be updated to new beta builds, as it had throughout the testing process.

Microsoft explicitly stated that Windows Insider was not a valid upgrade path for those running a version of Windows that is ineligible for the upgrade offer; although, if it was not installed with a license carried over from an in-place upgrade to 10 Insider Preview from Windows 7 or 8, the Insider Preview does remain activated as long as the user does not exit the Windows Insider program.

The offer was promoted and delivered via the “Get Windows 10” application also known as GWX , which was automatically installed via Windows Update ahead of Windows 10’s release, and activated on systems deemed eligible for the upgrade offer. Via a notification area icon, users could access an application that advertised Windows 10 and the free upgrade offer, check device compatibility, and “reserve” an automatic download of the operating system upon its release.

Microsoft said that those who reserved Windows 10 would be able to install it through GWX in a phased rollout process. The operating system could alternatively be downloaded at any time using a separate “Media Creation Tool” setup program, that allows for the creation of DVD or USB installation media. In May , Microsoft announced that the free upgrade offer would be extended to users of assistive technologies ; however, Microsoft did not implement any means of certifying eligibility for this offer, which some outlets thereby promoted as being a loophole to fraudulently obtain a free Windows 10 upgrade.

Microsoft said that the loophole is not intended to be used in this manner. However, another loophole was found that allowed Windows 7 and 8. No word from Microsoft was given whether it will be closed [] and some outlets have continued to promote it as a free method of upgrading from the now-unsupported Windows 7.

During upgrades, Windows 10 licenses are not tied directly to a product key. Instead, the license status of the system’s current installation of Windows is migrated, and a “Digital license” known as “Digital entitlement” in version or earlier is generated during the activation process, which is bound to the hardware information collected during the process. If Windows 10 is reinstalled cleanly and there have not been any significant hardware changes since installation such as a motherboard change , the online activation process will automatically recognize the system’s digital entitlement if no product key is entered during installations.

However, unique product keys are still distributed within retail copies of Windows As with previous non-volume-licensed variants of Windows, significant hardware changes will invalidate the digital entitlement, and require Windows to be re-activated.

Unlike previous versions of Windows, Windows Update does not allow the selective installation of updates, and all updates including patches, feature updates, and driver software are downloaded and installed automatically. Users can only choose whether their system will reboot automatically to install updates when the system is inactive, or be notified to schedule a reboot.

Version allows wired Ethernet networks to be designated as metered, but Windows may still download certain updates while connected to a metered network.

In version , by installing the August security update and later versions, driver and non-security updates pushed via Windows Update that are considered optional are no longer automatically downloaded and installed in their devices. Updates can cause compatibility or other problems; a Microsoft troubleshooter program allows bad updates to be uninstalled. Under the Windows end-user license agreement , users consent to the automatic installation of all updates, features and drivers provided by the service, and implicitly consent “without any additional notice” to the possibility of features being modified or removed.

Windows Update can also use a peer-to-peer system for distributing updates; by default, users’ bandwidth is used to distribute previously downloaded updates to other users, in combination with Microsoft servers.

Users can instead choose to only use peer-to-peer updates within their local area network. The original release of Windows 10 receives mainstream support for five years after its original release, followed by five years of extended support, but this is subject to conditions. Microsoft stated that these devices would no longer receive feature updates, but would still receive security updates through January The following table collects current status of the aforementioned updating and support of different branches of Windows Windows 10 is often described by Microsoft as being a “service”, as it receives regular “feature updates” that contain new features and other updates and fixes.

For example, version was released in September the ninth month of This was changed with the 20H2 release where “MM” represents the half of the year in which the update was released, for example H1 for the first half and H2 for the second half. Before version , the pace at which feature updates are received by devices was dependent on which release channel was used.

Each build of Windows 10 is supported for 18 months after its original release. Once a stable build is certified by Microsoft and its partners as being suitable for broad deployment, the build is then released on the “Semi-Annual Channel” formerly “Current Branch for Business”, or “CBB” , which is supported by the Pro and Enterprise editions of Windows The Windows Insider branches receive unstable builds as they are released; it is divided into two channels, “Dev” which receives new builds immediately after their release , and “Beta” whose releases are slightly delayed from their “Dev” release.

For this reason, it excludes Cortana, Microsoft Store, and all bundled Universal Windows Platform apps including but not limited to Microsoft Edge, hence these builds ship only with Internet Explorer as browser. In July , Microsoft announced changes in the terminology for Windows branches as part of its effort to unify the update cadence with that of Office ProPlus and Windows Server In February , Microsoft announced changes again in delivering updates in beginning of release of version : a single SAC will be released and SAC-T will be retired, and users are no longer able to switch to different channels.

Instead, these updates can be deferred from 30 to 90 days, or depending how the device was configured to deferred the updates. Feature updates prior to version were distributed solely as an in-place upgrade installation, requiring the download of a complete operating system package approximately 3. Unlike previous builds, version was designed primarily as an update rollup version of , which focused primarily on minor feature additions and enhancements.

For upgrades to from , a new delivery method was used where its changes were delivered as part of the monthly cumulative update, but were left in a dormant state until the update “enablement” patch is installed. The full upgrade process was still used for those using builds prior to In May , Microsoft unveiled Fluent Design System previously codenamed “Project Neon” , a revamp of Microsoft Design Language 2 that will include guidelines for the designs and interactions used within software designed for all Windows 10 devices and platforms.

The new design language will include the more prominent use of motion, depth, and translucency effects. Microsoft stated that the implementation of this design language would be performed over time, and it had already started to implement elements of it in Creators Update and Fall Creators Update.

On December 7, , Microsoft announced that, as part of a partnership with Qualcomm, it planned to introduce support for running Win32 software on ARM architecture with a bit x86 processor emulator, in Terry Myerson stated that this move would enable the production of Qualcomm Snapdragon -based Windows devices with cellular connectivity and improved power efficiency over Intel-compatible devices, and still capable of running the majority of existing Windows software unlike the previous Windows RT , which was restricted to Windows Store apps.

Microsoft is initially targeting this project towards laptops. In August , Microsoft began testing changes to its handling of the user interface on convertible devices—downplaying the existing “Tablet Mode” option in favor of presenting the normal desktop with optimizations for touch when a keyboard is not present, such as increasing the space between taskbar buttons and displaying the virtual keyboard when text fields are selected.

In April , the ability to run Linux applications using a graphical user interface , such as Audacity , directly in Windows, was introduced as a preview. The basic hardware requirements to install Windows 10 were initially the same as those for Windows 8 and Windows 8.

As of the May update, the minimum disk space requirement has been increased to 32 GB. In addition, on new installations, Windows permanently reserves up to 7 GB of disk space in order to ensure proper installation of future feature updates.

The bit variants require a CPU that supports certain instructions. Some pre-built devices may be described as “certified” by Microsoft. Unlike Windows 8, OEMs are no longer required to make Secure Boot settings user-configurable, meaning that devices may optionally be locked to run only Microsoft-signed operating systems. Windows 10 version and later do not support Intel Clover Trail system-on-chips, per Microsoft’s stated policy of only providing updates for devices during their OEM support period.

Starting with Windows 10 version , Microsoft will require new OEM devices to use bit processors, and will therefore cease the distribution of x86 bit variants of Windows 10 via OEM channels.

The bit variants of Windows 10 will remain available via non-OEM channels, and Microsoft will continue to “[provide] feature and security updates on these devices”. The maximum amount of RAM that Windows 10 can support varies depending on the product edition and the processor architecture. Windows 10 supports up to two physical processors. Windows 10 received generally positive reviews, with most reviewers considering it superior to its predecessor Windows 8.

The Edge browser was praised for its performance, although it was not in a feature-complete state at launch. While considering them a “great idea in principle”, concerns were shown for Microsoft’s focus on the universal app ecosystem:. It’s by no means certain that developers are going to flock to Windows 10 from iOS and Android simply because they can convert their apps easily. It may well become a no-brainer for them, but at the moment a conscious decision is still required.

Engadget was similarly positive, noting that the upgrade process was painless and that Windows 10’s user interface had balanced aspects of Windows 8 with those of previous versions with a more mature aesthetic. Cortana’s always-on voice detection was considered to be its “true strength”, also citing its query capabilities and personalization features, but noting that it was not as pre-emptive as Google Now.

Windows 10’s stock applications were praised for being improved over their Windows 8 counterparts, and for supporting windowed modes. The Xbox app was also praised for its Xbox One streaming functionality, although recommending its use over a wired network because of inconsistent quality over Wi-Fi. In conclusion, it was argued that “Windows 10 delivers the most refined desktop experience ever from Microsoft, and yet it’s so much more than that.

It’s also a decent tablet OS, and it’s ready for a world filled with hybrid devices. And, barring another baffling screwup, it looks like a significant step forward for mobile. Heck, it makes the Xbox One a more useful machine. On the other hand Ars Technica panned the new Tablet mode interface for removing the charms and app switching, making the Start button harder to use by requiring users to reach for the button on the bottom-left rather than at the center of the screen when swiping with a thumb, and for making application switching less instantaneous through the use of Task View.

Microsoft Edge was praised for being “tremendously promising”, and “a much better browser than Internet Explorer ever was”, but criticized it for its lack of functionality on-launch. In conclusion, contrasting Windows 8 as being a “reliable” platform albeit consisting of unfinished concepts, Windows 10 was considered “the best Windows yet”, and was praised for having a better overall concept in its ability to be “comfortable and effective” across a wide array of form factors, but that it was buggier than previous versions of Windows were on-launch.

Critics have noted that Windows 10 heavily emphasizes freemium services, and contains various advertising facilities. Some outlets have considered these to be a hidden “cost” of the free upgrade offer. Due to the high system requirements of its Windows 10’s successor Windows 11 , some critics have cited Windows 10 being better than its successor and have warned not to switch to Windows 11 given its high system requirement despite very limited new features compared to Windows Up to August , Windows 10 usage was increasing, with it then plateauing , [] while eventually in , it became more popular than Windows 7 [] [] though Windows 7 was still more used in some countries in Asia and Africa in As of March [update] , the operating system is running on over a billion devices, reaching the goal set by Microsoft two years after the initial deadline.

Twenty-four hours after it was released, Microsoft announced that over 14 million devices were running Windows According to StatCounter, Windows 10 overtook Windows 8. For one week in late November , Windows 10 overtook first rank from Windows 7 in the United States, before losing it again.

In mid-January , Windows 10 had a slightly higher global market share than Windows 7, [] with it noticeably more popular on weekends, [] while popularity varies widely by region, e.

Windows 10 was then still behind in Africa [] and far ahead in some other regions e. Windows 10 Home is permanently set to download all updates automatically, including cumulative updates, security patches, and drivers, and users cannot individually select updates to install or not. Concerns were raised that because of these changes, users would be unable to skip the automatic installation of updates that are faulty or cause issues with certain system configurations—although build upgrades will also be subject to public beta testing via Windows Insider program.

An example of such a situation occurred prior to the general release of the operating system, when an Nvidia graphics card driver that was automatically pushed to Windows 10 users via Windows Update caused issues that prevented the use of certain functions, or prevented their system from booting at all.

Criticism was also directed towards Microsoft’s decision to no longer provide specific details on the contents of cumulative updates for Windows Some users reported that during the installation of the November upgrade, some applications particularly utility programs such as CPU-Z and Speccy were automatically uninstalled during the upgrade process, and some default programs were reset to Microsoft-specified defaults such as Photos app, and Microsoft Edge for PDF viewing , both without warning.

Further issues were discovered upon the launch of the Anniversary Update “Redstone” , including a bug that caused some devices to freeze but addressed by cumulative update KB, released on August 31, , [] [] and that fundamental changes to how Windows handles webcams had caused many to stop working. A Gartner analyst felt that Windows 10 Pro was becoming increasingly inappropriate for use in enterprise environments because of support policy changes by Microsoft, including consumer-oriented upgrade lifecycle length, and only offering extended support for individual builds to Enterprise and Education editions of Windows Critics have acknowledged that Microsoft’s update and testing practices had been affecting the overall quality of Windows In particular, it was pointed out that Microsoft’s internal testing departments had been prominently affected by a major round of layoffs undertaken by the company in Microsoft relies primarily on user testing and bug reports via the Windows Insider program which may not always be of sufficient quality to identify a bug , as well as correspondence with OEMs and other stakeholders.

In the wake of the known folder redirection data loss bug in the version , it was pointed out that bug reports describing the issue had been present on the Feedback Hub app for several months prior to the public release. Following the incident, Microsoft updated Feedback Hub so that users may specify the severity of a particular bug report. When announcing the resumption of ‘s rollout, Microsoft stated that it planned to be more transparent in its handling of update quality in the future, through a series of blog posts that will detail its testing process and the planned development of a “dashboard” that will indicate the rollout progress of future updates.

Microsoft was criticized for the tactics that it used to promote its free upgrade campaign for Windows 10, including adware -like behaviors, [] using deceptive user interfaces to coax users into installing the operating system, [] [] [] [] downloading installation files without user consent, [] [] and making it difficult for users to suppress the advertising and notifications if they did not wish to upgrade to In September , it was reported that Microsoft was triggering automatic downloads of Windows 10 installation files on all compatible Windows 7 or 8.

Microsoft officially confirmed the change, claiming it was “an industry practice that reduces the time for installation and ensures device readiness. Other critics argued that Microsoft should not have triggered any downloading of Windows 10 installation files without user consent.

In October , Windows 10 began to appear as an “Optional” update on the Windows Update interface, but pre-selected for installation on some systems. A Microsoft spokesperson said that this was a mistake, and that the download would no longer be pre-selected by default. In March , some users also alleged that their Windows 7 and 8.

It was concluded that these users may have unknowingly clicked the “Accept” prompt without full knowledge that this would begin the upgrade.

On January 21, , Microsoft was sued in small claims court by a user whose computer had attempted to upgrade to Windows 10 without her consent shortly after the release of the operating system. The upgrade failed, and her computer was left in a broken state thereafter, which disrupted the ability to run her travel agency.

However, in May , Microsoft dropped the appeal and chose to pay the damages. Shortly after the suit was reported on by the Seattle Times , Microsoft confirmed it was updating the GWX software once again to add more explicit options for opting out of a free Windows 10 upgrade; [] [] [] the final notification was a full-screen pop-up window notifying users of the impending end of the free upgrade offer, and contained “Remind me later”, “Do not notify me again” and “Notify me three more times” as options.

In March , Microsoft announced that it would display notifications informing users on Windows 7 devices of the upcoming end of extended support for the platform, and direct users to a website urging them to upgrade to Windows 10 or purchase new hardware. This dialog will be similar to the previous Windows 10 upgrade prompts, but will not explicitly mention Windows Privacy advocates and other critics have expressed concern regarding Windows 10’s privacy policies and its collection and use of customer data.

Users can opt out from most of this data collection, [] [] but telemetry data for error reporting and usage is also sent to Microsoft, and this cannot be disabled on non-Enterprise editions of Windows Rock Paper Shotgun writer Alec Meer argued that Microsoft’s intent for this data collection lacked transparency, stating that “there is no world in which 45 pages of policy documents and opt-out settings split across 13 different settings screens and an external website constitutes ‘real transparency’.

The Russian government had passed a federal law requiring all online services to store the data of Russian users on servers within the country by September or be blocked. But Microsoft is held to a different standard than other companies”. The Microsoft Services agreement reads that the company’s online services may automatically “download software updates or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorized hardware peripheral devices.

In September , Microsoft hid the option to create a local account during a fresh installation if a PC is connected to the internet. This move was criticized by users who did not want to use an online Microsoft account. In late-July , Windows Defender began to classify modifications of the hosts file that block Microsoft telemetry servers as being a severe security risk. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 20 December This article is about the operating system for personal computers.

For the related now discontinued operating system for mobile devices, see Windows 10 Mobile. For the series of operating systems produced from to , see Windows 9x.

Closed-source source-available through the Shared Source Initiative Some components free and open-source [1] [2] [3] [4]. List of languages. For the Windows versions produced from to , see Windows 9x. For the Windows version following Windows 8, see Windows 8.

Main article: Features new to Windows See also: List of features removed in Windows Main article: List of typefaces included with Microsoft Windows. Main article: Windows 10 editions. See also: Windows Insider. Main article: Windows 10 version history.

Main article: Criticism of Windows This section duplicates the scope of other articles , specifically Criticism of Windows Please discuss this issue on the talk page and edit it to conform with Wikipedia’s Manual of Style by replacing the section with a link and a summary of the repeated material or by spinning off the repeated text into an article in its own right.

June Windows PC market share of Windows statistics Windows Business and economics portal. Retrieved August 31, Microsoft Support.

Windows Insider Blog. November 10, Retrieved June 13, NET Core 3. NET Foundation. June 5, Ars Technica. December 5, Microsoft Update Catalog.

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July 13, Tom’s Guide. Retrieved August 12, Retrieved April 3, Retrieved May 16, Windows Blog. Retrieved March 9, Retrieved February 7, December 7, Retrieved December 8, Windows Experience Blog. PC Pro. July 29, April 23, Retrieved July 16, March 20, Microsoft says Hello to palm-vein biometrics”. Retrieved February 10, March 17, Retrieved March 17, Retrieved July 18, Microsoft Docs.

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Archived from the original on August 1,



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