GTL on a MTB - Leg 12
Through the heart of the Langhe of Beppe Fenoglio to Pavaglione, the setting of one of the Italian author’s best known novels, in a union of nature and literature.
The location of Benevello was of strategic importance historically, in its protected position overlooking the pass between the Belbo and Tanaro Valleys in the direction of Alba, as well as being favorably positioned geographically speaking. At an altitude of 670 metres (2,198 ft) and enjoying an interplay of winds from the Belbo Valley and the Berria river, it is undoubtedly one of the coolest spots anywhere in the Langhe region. And while wind is one of the most recurring themes in the works of Beppe Fenoglio, it is here in this particularly complex corner of the region, enclosed within the territories of Trezzo, Castino and Borgomale (although from quite a distance, with Castino being as far away as the opposite hill), that much of the literature of that great author from Alba takes place.
But the most romantic spot is atop a knoll outside the village in the direction of Bossolasco. The Church of Madonna di Langa is a popular venue preferred by locals for a quaint, rural wedding. Legend has it that St. Francis of Assisi once stopped here to pray on one of his trips through the Langhe region on his way from Liguria to France in the 13th century. Indeed, there are many signs of his journey in these hills, such as the Cortemilia Convent or the Saliceto Oratory, spread out from Alba to Benevello.
From Benevello, follow highway SP230 in the direction of Montemarino. Past Montemarino, take a narrow road to the right in the direction of San Bovo. Continue along the crest through the woods towards Boscasso and Pavaglione. At the next fork in the road, both of the trails lead to the hamlet of Pavaglione, but you will want to keep to the right to head down to the village through farmlands full of donkeys and goats.
Pavaglione is the symbol of Fenoglio’s “Ruin”, of the hunger and disgrace of the sharecroppers of the Langhe region until the post-war era. Agostino, the protagonist of “Ruin”, sacrificed for them all, bearing the cross for all those sold into hard labor, condemned to a life of hardship without any reasonable hope for a better future.
From here, you can also head to the Langhe wine region and the Bar to Bar itinerary.
Along the way:
Point of interest along the way
Via Antica Beccherie