GTL on a MTB - Variant 15A
A variation of the GTL, this route is an ideal continuation of section Bergolo - Torre Bormida to complete the shift between the Bergolo and Cravanzana hillcrests. It is an uphill route, but not difficult, and runs through many hazelnut groves, which are common up here. Together with the next section, which is downhill, it creates a circuit entirely dedicated to the hazelnut.
The itinerary starts in Torre Bormida, a village situated on the hillside overlooking the river. A single street runs through town to the church square, with the homes arranged in a circle below it. Beyond the original part of the village and nearby cemetery, in the woods to the east, there are the remains of the castle, which shows how old this place is both in its defensive position and for the crossing of trading routes that were controlled here over the centuries.
But what makes this village particularly interesting is its rural architecture, which you can discover by wandering here and there along the dry-stone walls, that have terraced the southern slope over the centuries in order to carve out a bit of cultivated land in this impossibly steep valley. Alongside the dry-stone walls there are the farmhouses, situated in such a way as to take advantage of the sun and the wind, built out wood and stone with very few brick inlays. You will also find wells, drying structures (such as the amazing circular one at the crossroads down in the valley), stalls, storage sheds, tuff cellars and wood balconies in an infinite interplay of technique and need, wisdom and innovation, which has made this valley an open-air museum of Langa stone and of the age-old dignity in poverty of its inhabitants.
From the main highway, follow the signs for Villaretti and head uphill for a few dozen metres. Near a characteristically rounded wall, turn right onto a dirt road that rises up into the woods. This was the old route that united Torre Bormida and Cravanzana along the Valroggero, as evidenced by the retaining wall and shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
When you have passed the water basin and are approaching a farmhouse, continue along the dirt road that heads along the flat into the woods. At the first fork in the road, head up to the left along a dry-stone wall, then continue along the flat at the next fork through a degraded section of woods. Cross a small stream and, after a final flat section, the trail turns to rocks and features furrows cut by the water of a number of springs. Head up until you reach a cement road, then in a few dozen metres you will come out on the crest of the hill near a wayside shrine and the more recent (and more monumental) entrance to Cascina Ferrera, where there is one of the Alta Langa’s largest hazelnut groves. In the distance, you can see the town of Cravanzana and its impressive castle. Continue to the left along the paved road that crosses the hazelnut grove towards the town, where you will soon reach the town hall.
Along the way:
Point of interest along the way
Via San Rocco