The Barbera di Rocchetta Wine Route on a Bike
Its name is Rocchetta Tanaro, because for four millennia, on this river bank man has found a fertile and quiet place to dedicate himself to agriculture and trade. But it could also be called Rocchetta Barbera, because it was from here in the 1980s that Giacomo Bologna took up the challenge to introduce the world to a wine that until then had been considered a "wine of the people" and therefore, quite incorrectly, unworthy of attention. Or we could call it Rocchetta della Natura (Rocchetta’s nature) because it is the starting point of one of the largest Nature Reserves in the Province of Asti.
And that is exactly where this trail will take you: a 12 km loop that starts from the main square of Rocchetta Tanaro and continues on the plain for a stretch, then climbs and enters the woods of the Natural Park, reaches some hamlets between Rocchetta and Mombercelli and descends towards the valley. It runs through bends and ups and downs across a landscape that is charming in all seasons, amid the ever-present vineyards, crops where in summer you can enjoy the yellow of the sunflowers, fields of wheat and corn and, above all, it runs through the woods that slope down towards the Tanaro river to form the 120 hectares of protected area... Roads with little traffic, connecting small hamlets in a sequence of farmhouses where time flows with the rhythms of nature underpinning a network of excellence that, to this day, is the backbone of the economy of these lands.
The trail starts from Piazza Antonio Piacentino and once you get to the crossroads, since it is a loop, you can choose whether to turn right onto Via Sardi or left onto Via Roma. We decide to turn right to warm up the muscles on the plain and to come to experience the pleasantness of the woods of the Nature Reserve as quickly as possible.
Leave the village and, as you turn left towards Asti/Cerro Tanaro, follow the SP 27 road and then leave it at the next junction towards Sant'Emiliano. Once you have gone through the hamlet of Casale Gatt, the road starts to climb; once past some farmhouses, you will gradually enter the protected area. The road divides the large forest in two and if you wish, you can stop for a break to fully enjoy the beautiful scenery. The Rocchetta Tanaro Nature Reserve, the first to be officially created by a regional law in 1980 on land that largely belongs to the descendants of Marquis Mario Incisa, is a true oasis of biodiversity, highly appreciated by those who enjoy walking in the countryside for its outstanding nature value: chestnut, locust, oak and beech trees stand out among the tall trees, while the undergrowth is populated by over 100 varieties of grasses and flowers. There are also many species of fauna. In the silence of these hills live an incredible variety of birds, several mammals, amphibians and rare insects.
As you continue along the ridge, the landscape changes radically, expanding into vineyards and cultivated fields and you are now in the Mombercelli area, in the hamlet of Ronchi. Once you get to the crossroads, near the Chapel of Madonna di Fatima in Località Tocco, turn left onto Via Porizzi and continue along the SP 63 road until you reach Frazione Bricco, in the municipality of Belveglio. From there, proceed downhill and follow the signs to Rocchetta Tanaro where, after passing through Via Roma, you will get to Piazza Piacentino, the starting point of your trail.
Along the way:
Point of interest along the way
Piazza Antonio Piacentino
Piazza Antonio Piacentino