In the Lands of the Saints of Piedmont
A loop trail steeped in history and testimonies of the saints of Piedmont who have worked hard in the social sphere and have left a significant legacy that is still relevant today.
Our loop trail begins in Castelnuovo Don Bosco. In the hamlet of Becchi we find the house where Don Bosco was born, the Sanctuary and, a little further on, the Colle Don Bosco with its imposing basilica. From the village, which is the birthplace of San Giuseppe Cafasso, of Blessed Allamano and of Cardinal Cagliero, we pass through the old town and go up towards Albugnano along the provincial road. Once we are in the village, next to the parish church, we climb up to the Belvedere Motta, a place that was dear to Don Bosco and his pupils, and it offers a splendid panoramic view overlooking the whole of Piedmont.
This is the most demanding part of the trail, as the ascent requires a fairly constant effort to be made with fresh legs at the start of the loop. Nevertheless, your efforts will be rewarded when you get to Vezzolano, the heart of local Romanesque architecture and a popular resting place for travellers along the Via Francigena. Once you have put down your bike, a visit to the magnificent Abbey of Santa Maria is a must.
Once back in Albugnano, after the highly recommended detour to Vezzolano, our loop continues through a landscape of remarkable beauty and glimpses over the many hilltop villages of the area. Along the route you will pass through Schierano, a hamlet of Passerano Marmorito, the birthplace of Pope Bergoglio's great-great-grandfather in 1816. As you keep cycling, you will reach Cerreto d'Asti. Here it is worth stopping to visit the Romanesque church of S. Andrea di Casaglio.
Next, the trail continues in the direction of Pino d'Asti, but first it reaches Mondonio, where it is possible to take the upper road and ride through the hamlet of San Domenico Savio (a short detour leads to the small Romanesque church of Santa Maria di Raseto).
Once past Pino d'Asti, you will cycle towards Capriglio, the birthplace of Don Bosco's mother, and then continue the loop towards Colle Don Bosco, along the panoramic ridge and the so-called "Strada dei Papi", the Popes’ road (by adding 12 km to the trail you can take a detour to see the Romanesque church of San Giorgio, in Bagnasco).
The itinerary ends with the return to Castelnuovo, while the wonderful nature of the hills you crossed will fill your eyes and the treasured spiritual places you visited will be in your heart.
Along the way:
Point of interest along the way