Alba Asti via Roero
Two-hundred towers in two, a long and fickle river, in between the splendid hills of Langhe Monferrato Roero. Asti and Alba: enemies - friends, practically promised partners.
This is not a movie, although it could well be. It is the story of two cities that, for centuries, waged war against each other and only in the most challenging moments found harmony and joined forces to defeat a greater enemy. History repeats itself, alliances and diatribes that have marked the course of events for centuries.
This is a straight trail which can be combined with the ASTI – ALBA via Langhe route and, therefore, can turn into a loo. It is 38,6 Km long and will take you along roads that have been trodden for centuries by troops and banners, by knights and noble commanders: ups and downs full of history, among landscapes that have never lost their charm and many small, industrious villages with castles and manor houses which underline the strategic role of these hills.
The trail begins in Alba's living room, specifically in Piazza Michele Ferrero. Walk along Via Roma and reach Viale Torino, at the end of which you will turn right: the roar of the Tanaro river flowing under the bridge will remind you that you are leaving the city centre. At the roundabout, follow Corso Asti and at the next roundabout, take the fourth exit onto Strada Tagliata and then turn left onto Strada Forcellini, which will take you to Frazione Osteria and Frazione Castelrotto, where you will join the SP 50 road towards Guarene: the first of the Roero villages you reach after just 6.5 km.
Guarene, which became one of the Touring Club's Orange Flag municipalities in 2020, welcomes you with its elegant Castle and has some interesting surprises in store, like Palazzo Re Rebaudengo, home to the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation's Museum of Contemporary Art, where the park and the rooms, once used by the nobility, now host highly appreciated contemporary art exhibitions.
Continue along the ridge to reach Castagnito after about 2.2 km. The landscape becomes more and more enchanting and other beautiful villages are ready to welcome you. Places where you can stop for cultural breaks and enjoy the Tanaro valley which, down below to your right, is bustling with commercial activity. Keep going along the SP 50 until you reach the crossroads that will take you onto the Variglie road that climbs up to 320 metres, sloping down towards the village of Castellinaldo: small, among hills planted with vines and, lest we forget how disputed these lands were, overlooked by a massive castle.
Next, you leave Castellinaldo along via Magliano Alfieri until you reach the SP 176 road, which you will shortly leave to turn right onto a secondary road (Località Valcolmuto) which continues as Via S. Silvestro and climbs up to Priocca. This village, famous for its wines, which are also valued thanks to an ultra-modern sensory museum (the Wine Experience Museum), can be spotted from afar thanks to the unmistakable, 40-metre-high bell tower of the parish church of Santo Stefano.
As you leave the village, with a small detour you can reach the precious Pieve di San Vittore dating back to the 11th century. You will feel as if you are entering a private home, but for centuries it has stood on that hilltop observing the progress of the world. The SP 235 road will take you to your next destination: Govone. On the way up you will come across the parish Church of San Secondo and the charming Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, at the foot of the magnificent Castle. Not just any castle. It was the favourite residence of King Carlo Felice and his bride, Queen Maria Cristina. A manor house included in the circuit of the "Royal Residences" of Piedmont and recognised in 1997 by UNESCO as an "Artistic and Cultural Heritage of Humanity". It is well worth a stop, even if just to admire the geometry of the 18th-century garden that surrounds the building.
Stay on the scenic road that runs along the ridge (SP 8) surrounded by Roero vineyards and you reach San Martino Alfieri. Here, too, a lot of history emerges among its houses and from its castle, which was transformed into an elegant Baroque residence between 1696 and 1721. It was here, namely in the hamlet of Saracchi, that Francesca Armosino, Giuseppe Garibaldi's second wife, was born. She hosted the hero of the two Worlds in her home in 1880. Whereas in the Marelli hamlet there is the house where San Giuseppe Marello grew up.
Next, you continue along the SP 8 road, which descends gently and then rises again towards Antignano, a village that welcomes you with a road that runs between houses and farmhouses, with the 17th-century Church of San Rocco and, in Piazza IV Novembre, the main place of worship: the neo-Gothic parish Church dedicated to the Beata Vergine del Carmine. Antignano is also famous for having kept alive the cultivation of the prized 8-row flint corn (an ancient variety with a lower yield but very high quality, from which flour to make polenta and tagliatelle is stone milled). The SP 8 road, through hazelnut groves, fields and poplar trees, then descends towards the Tanaro valley and passes the foot of the municipality of Revigliasco, famous for the production of delicious cherries. A little further on and you will be in the Variglie area, soon afterwards you will reach Asti through Corso Alba. From there, after crossing the bridge over the Borbore river, which here flows into the Tanaro, you will easily reach the city centre.
Along the way:
Point of interest along the way
Corso Luigi Einaudi
Piazza Michele Ferrero