GTL on a MTB - Leg 7
From the Langhe summit to the realm of Beppe Fenoglio, a short, mostly downhill route straight through the heart of the Langhe region described in the works of that great Italian author.
At an altitude of nearly 900 metres (2,950 ft), Mombarcaro is known as the “Vetta delle Langhe” (literally “Langhe summit”). The town’s coat of arms features a boat (barca in Italian, which can also be seen in the name of the village) in reference to an old legend whereby it is said that, on a clear winter day, you can see the sea from here.
From Piazzetta di San Michele Arcangelo, follow the paved road along which you can enjoy the landscape up to the Cascine del Battaglino farmhouses. From here, continue to the green, shady Lunetta di Mombarcaro, where there is a charming group of stone houses, in a state of partial abandonment, and the Santa Caterina Chapel.
Continue along the trail known as “Sentiero della Valle Tanaro”, cross a stream and head to the crossroads for Cà di Lù (or Cadilù, the set of the tale “Pioggia e la Sposa”, maybe Fenoglio’s shortest masterpiece). Don’t deviate from the route until you reach Rio Vezzea and, then, the highway. Leave the highway immediately and return to the trail. This section begins with a steep series of steps delimited by dry-stone walls. Continue along the stony trail to Via della Porta, which is an ancient section of roadway that ends beneath the medieval archway in San Benedetto Belbo.
At San Benedetto Belbo, a favorite vacation spot of Beppe Fenoglio and an endless source of inspiration for the author, the route continues along the trails of the Belbo Valley. The arch bearing the coat of arms of the Del Carretto Family provides access to the fortified village, which features a Benedictine Monastery, portions of which are still visible to the right of the archway.
You will also not want to miss the two churches of this tiny village, which Fenoglio frequently included in his stories.
San Benedetto is all about Fenoglio, so fans of the great Italian author come here looking for the cemetery, the Belbo’s maelstrom, the Mimberghe houses, the mills of the valley, and other landmarks cited in his novels in order to rediscover the greatness of this local hero, who, as a young man, dreamed of greatness if only to be able to choose his final resting place, up there at the Bossola pass in the pine forests overlooking Murazzano and San Benedetto.
Along the way:
Point of interest along the way