GTL on a MTB - Variant 16A
A variation of the GTL, this section takes you down from the crest of Serravalle and back up to the crest of Feisoglio and Cravanzana. It starts at Bricco San Michele along the section that runs from Serravalle to Cerretto Langhe.
From the centre of Serravalle Langhe, continue along the main highway in the direction of Bossolasco until you reach the crossroads for the hamlet of Villa. Continue to the left along the crest of the hill until you pass a farm. Right after the next farmhouse, head down off of the crest along a dirt road to the right. After running along the retaining wall of the farmhouse, this road enters the woods and continues down to an intersection on the crest. Turn left and cross a gorge. After a short climb, head down to the left. This road, which still has its stone retaining wall in places, heads down after a number of switchbacks to the base of the Belbo Valley. Cross the ample field in the centre of the valley and continue on to the vegetation marking the next hillside. Turn right and head up until you reach the Belbo river. Cross it and head up the opposite bank along a road that runs alongside a hazelnut grove to the right and up to the old Feisoglio mill. Continue up between the farmhouses to a wayside shrine and then through vast hazelnut groves to the church of San Rocco.
Head down to the right for a few metres and then back up towards the village, which you can now see in the distance. Right after a small rest area, cross the main highway and continue on for a few metres to the left, where you will find a faint, old stone trail that heads up to the right and which will take you to Cascina Moretto, then right back to the main highway. Head up to the right and then immediately to the left through the houses and alongside the remains of the castle walls. Turn left again and you will soon reach the village square.
Situated atop a rolling crest along the right side of the Belbo Valley, Feisoglio overlooks Serravalle (or Villa, to be precise). This long strip of village runs parallel to the massive Church of San Lorenzo, which looms over the village in the same way the castle surely once did just to the south, although now only a few stones of the foundation remain.
A truly incredible number of castles, towers, fortresses and churches were lost in the 16th and 17th centuries, but even more remarkable is how much remains to this day and which gives us an idea of how these hills will have appeared to a wayfaring merchant in the 1400s — a faithful representation of the Middle Ages with hundreds of castles embellishing hilltop villages, the houses of which cling to the castle walls, like children clinging to their mother. Elsewhere reduced to mere legend, the Middle Ages were a time of rival squires, their toll stations dotting the landscape, as well as of monasteries and abbeys seeking to bring order where there was only conflict, of roads that were more like mule tracks, of nearly inexistent bridges and of fields cultivated as much as was possible between the many wars and invasions and with the limited knowledge of the times and workforce made of oxen and families.
Feisoglio was no exception, sculpted by war and by the devastating plague of the 1630s, as evidenced by the current, monumental church erected by those who survived. The church incorporated a small castle chapel, the remains of the castle itself, providing both space for the new church and its building materials.
Along the way:
Point of interest along the way