BTB - Variant 5A
Variant of the Leg 5, from Serralunga to Monforte by way of Castiglione Falletto for a somewhat different point of view over the landscape that surrounds you.
When you get to Serralunga from Cerrati, turn left towards the town, then, just before the road narrows, head down the paved road to the right at the crossroads for Garombo. At the end of the village, the paved section of road ends and the dirt road descends quickly down into the valley through a few curves and the vineyards of Margheria and Le Turne. At the base of the valley, keep to the left and, after crossing the bridge, turn right again onto a paved road and follow along the base of the valley below Perno until you can see the hilltop village of Castiglione Falletto.
Just before a curve to the right, which would take you across another bridge, leave the paved road to the left onto the headland trail of the Scarrone vineyard, stretched out below the Falletti castle like an embroidered dress.
The road rises steeply through several curves and vineyards to the medieval village. Since the road makes a loop around the entire village, it doesn’t matter which direction you take, but we recommend going to the right in order to get a better idea of the ancient geometry of the glacis and moat. The massive castle with its beautiful, cylindrical tower in the middle of the courtyard essentially defines the village itself, with the church and a few old, aristocratic homes being relegated to barely a couple of streets. In Castiglione, there is also a municipal wine cellar that often organizes wine tastings and tours. Leave the village along the paved road and keep to the left in the direction of Monforte.
The road will begin to rise up to the crest of the watershed where you can see, to one side, Perno and, to the other, the vineyards of the Barolo wine country nestled between Monforte and Castiglione. It was along this road that the Giro d’Italia once held the Barbaresco-Barolo time trial, which proved to be one of the event’s most thrilling stages. Once past the Monforte city limits, leave the paved road near the Favot,and head down to the left through the vineyards of Rocche di Castiglione then continue through the woods and past the farmhouse along a false flat. Once past the Favot, the road makes a sharp turn to the right and into the brush of the gorge (which is not very pronounced here) to then come out at the base of Santo Stefano, an ancient Romanesque parish that looks out towards the castles in Perno and Castiglione and was a popular stopping point for pilgrims and other travelers of these hills. The climb through the vineyards along the headland trail is very steep but rewarding due to the mystical tranquillity of this tiny parish.
The hill descends gradually out before you towards the quaint village of Perno and its castle (now more of an aristocratic palace), where Giulio Einaudi would meet in the summer with his editorial team way back in the 1970s. You will want to take a break here before taking on the steep climb up the mule track, which cuts through the curves of the paved road, heading to the left immediately outside the town and running along the edge of the new cemetery. You will come out above the town just before a switchback. This is one of the most panoramic spots anywhere in the Langhe, as it looks out over La Morra, Verduno and Roddi in the Barolo wine country, Castiglione directly in front of you, and the church of Santo Stefano and the Perno castle in the foreground looking almost surreal. To the right, there is the endless series of the rolling Serralunga hills with its castle pressed up against the darker hills of the upper Langhe. It’s a view that is as stunning as it is unexpected. Continue along the paved road for a few hundred meters and then, past the crossroads for Castelletto (where the 16th century church and the ancient cemetery are worth a visit), head down to the village of Gramolere, where, at the large purple bench, you will follow the markings on the walls of the farmhouses. Once past the houses, head from the courtyard onto the country road to the left, which runs along the hillside through woods and vineyards before meeting up with the main highway after a couple of kilometers. After a few curves along the paved road through the woods, you will see a crossroads to the left along a gravel road, which rises gradually up the Ginestra hillside to just before the public pool. Head down to Monforte from atop the Saracca (the old part of town that is hanging practically vertically to the rocky hillside).
Along the way:
Point of interest along the way