Asti - Sanctuary of Crea
An itinerary that will take you to discover some of the green oases in the province of Asti, up to the hills of Alessandria and on to the Sanctuary of Crea, one of the Sacred Mounts of Piedmont, which since 2003 have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. A plunge into the Basso Monferrato, among gentle slopes, wide valleys, woods, meadows, vineyards and plenty of history as testified by castles and perched villages, almost magical, as if they were suspended in a very distant time. A wide-ranging trail also enhanced by a generous nature, rich in biodiversity and relaxing landscapes that help you forget fatigue, the kind of fatigue that you might feel a little bit: the trail marked out by the CAI section of Asti is 30 km long and includes some uphill stretches, with an estimated journey time of around 7-8 hours.
It departs from Asti, find the parking lot near the sports field in Via Marello and reach the Romanesque-Gothic Maria Ausiliatrice church in Viatosto (dating back to the 12th century, it can be visited), which overlooks the surrounding countryside and offers a 360° view of the Rilate Valley and the city. At the junction, turn right to reach Valmanera. Here you will come across a tiny church and a small village school, which is now the headquarters of a charity cultural association. Follow the CAI trail signs that will take you into the Callianetto countryside (the Gianduja mask was born in a casot, a farmhouse in this countryside) and then towards Castell'Alfero, the birthplace of Giovanni Battista De Rolandis, the patriot who, with Zamboni, created the rosette of the national tricolour at the end of the 18th century.
You go partly on asphalt, partly on dirt roads, past houses, through woods, poplar groves, streams and small lakes to reach the Asti-Montiglio provincial road which, of course, you do not follow, but soon leave behind, then you cross the railway tracks and continue on a dirt road that runs alongside the railway and then turns right to reach the bridge over the Versa stream. You will cross it and walk along the stream to the next bridge and then reach the hamlet of Perrona. Another stream, this time the Viazza, which you cross and follow until you reach the station of Penango.
Continue until you join the Alfiano Natta - Moncalvo road and follow the signs to Castelletto Merli, then turn onto a path that climbs up to Borgata Bassignana. Once you reach it, continue towards Ponzano: a few more ups and downs and you will be on the historic Superga - Crea pilgrimage route. You join the road coming from Moncalvo and turn left towards Crea, which is now quite close. Built in 1589, it stands on an extraordinary panoramic hill, one of the highest in Monferrato (455 metres above sea level). From here it is possible to enjoy a gentle hilly landscape with the splendid silhouette of the Piedmontese Alps in the background and it is part of the Riserva Speciale Sacto Monte di Crea (Sacred Mount of Crea Special Reserve) , a protected area created in 1980 and with a surface area of 47 hectares. Here you will find a refreshment point and, if you wish, you can continue with a visit to the Sanctuary: 23 chapels and countless statues with an itinerary of 2.5 km and an estimated visiting time of 1.5 hours.
Along the way:
Point of interest along the way
Via Ugo Foscolo
Strada Santuario di Crea