Family Outings - Monastero B. and Bricco del Moro
A hike in-between history and nature starting from the alleys of Monastero Bormida marked by the tower and ancient monastery to walk among the stones of the beautiful medieval bridge, and then climb up to the "small peak" of Bricco del Moro through open pastures and charming woods.
From the large car park in Viale Indipendenza, near the sports centres (toilets), head towards the centre to cross the provincial road and reach the "Puntet", an ancient bridge, now underground, which leads to the former town entrance. Once you have passed the stone arch you reach the square which is divided between the Town Hall and the 18th century church (toilets and fountain). You bypass the massive ancient monastery, which became a fortress over the years, passing by the original tower separated from the rest of the building and united only by a characteristic raised bridge. Then you go down onto Via Cesare Battisti and reach the ancient medieval bridge over the Bormida river of Millesimo.
You cross it and turn around to enjoy the view of Monastero Bormida and continue straight on the asphalt road, which is equipped with sidewalk, towards Roccaverano and follow the sporadic red/white 5T signposts as well as the old yellow diamond-shaped signs. Continue on the main road beyond the cemetery, among fields and vineyards, walk by a votive pillar until you reach the little church of San Rocco (17th century) where the sidewalk ends. Just past the little church you have to pay attention to the junction to the right (wooden sign) that will make you leave the asphalt to continue on a path that initially descends and then continues parallel to the provincial road. Once you reach a wider dirt road just follow it and go right past a small stream, the Tatorba.
Continue straight uphill, passing through woodland and vines, while the view appears over Monastero Bormdida and the small church of San Rocco you have just passed. You will find the asphalt near some houses, follow it to the left until the end of the buildings and turn left onto the dirt road that starts to climb steadily again along a sunken stretch. You reach a junction with three routes, two of which go left: both routes are good, the only difference is that one is a path and the other a dirt road. Actually, they meet again shortly after to join another crossroads which you have to follow to the right. You pass by some other little houses and continue to the left until you reach a ridge where you can enjoy the view on both sides (panoramic sign).
Shortly afterwards you get to a junction with no signage. Turn right and you will find the signs after a while. A further junction will take you to the left, this time downhill. Don't worry, it only goes down for a little bit and then the road becomes flat as it passes through chestnut trees. It climbs up again a little bit and becomes flat again until you see the actual summit that you will reach after a short descent as you proceed along the path straight ahead. Walk along an open pasture that will offer an open view towards Bubbio and take the path to the left that goes up into the woods (sign 5T).
The actual summit can be reached with a short deviation from the main path, but, honestly, such a deviation is not necessary, it is better to continue along the main path which, after a nice flat stretch, arrives at a panoramic sign. Here the path 5T turns left and starts to descend steeply. You leave it and continue on the flat path until you reach some meadows and see the panoramic view promised by the sign.
The building overlooking the town, and which today houses the Town Hall, was originally a monastery founded in 1050 by Benedictine monks who came from the abbey of Fruttuaria (San Benigno Canavese) called by Aleramo, Marquis of Monferrato, in order to till the surrounding lands. However, it appears that a monastery of Longobard origin already existed in ancient times and this is proved by the cult of Santa Giulia, patron saint of the town to this day, and by the original name of the village known as the Monastery of Santa Giulia. The lands that the Benedictine monks found were called "deserta loca" or "Marquisate of Vasto", i.e., devastated land due to the countless raids by the Saracens. They built the bell tower, the church (where today there is the arch connecting the tower and the castle), the monastery and the bridge.
It is one of the most important medieval works in the valley to connect the Langa to the sea as it was the only bridge that could be crossed all year round. The small chapel that is now in the centre of the main arch was originally a guard post where the transit toll was paid. It has gone through centuries of floods unscathed, including the 1994 flood when parapets, asphalt and the little chapel were torn apart, but not the arches that survived fearlessly. . . ".... undamaged over the centuries, because of that cement, where the friars spread the lime with the egg white; and with yolks they made eggnog...” (Augusto Monti, writer, teacher, politician born in Monastero Bormida in 1881; his students included Cesare Pavese, Giulio Einaudi, Massimo Mila, Leone Ginzburg, Salvatore Luna, Giancarlo Pajetta, Franco Antonicelli, Vittorio Foa, Tullio Pinelli). The monks left in 1393 when, with the transformation into a fortress, a feudal life began for the village.
Franco Vogliono and Annalisa Porporato
Along the way:
Point of interest along the way