GTL - Leg 13
From Beppe Fenoglio’s Pavaglione to Castino through the most authentic heart of the Alta Langa.
This section starts in Pavaglione, the setting of Beppe Fenoglio’s “Ruin” and a lovely destination for an escape from city life. From here, you can also head to the Langhe wine region and the Bar to Bar itinerary. Beyond the hamlet to the left, the trail heads back up to the crest and runs through the trees to the small San Bovo cemetery. Once back down on the paved road, you will reach the remote, romantic village of Castino, immersed in the woods.
San Bovo is a favorite stroll among Alba locals, who know how to find a friendly home with an eatery, rooms and a café or wine bar, as well as horse stables for a ride through the Belbo Valley. Mushrooms and truffles hide in the woods and steep hills here and the best spots are protected jealously and written down in secret, encrypted notebooks like a witch’s book of spells (and legend has it that the spirits of witches inhabit these Langhe woods).
From the end of the main square in San Bovo, take the dirt road that heads steeply to Rio Grazie (the last bit is paved, keep to the left). Across from you an old Castino Nunnery can still be seen, although it is now a private farmhouse, and up to the right, on the crest of the hill, you can also see the San Martino Monastery (now a farm for livestock). A Benedictine Monastery also awaits in town. Cross the river in a U-shaped curve (with a sign for San Bovo) and follow the dirt road to the left into the Belbo Valley.
Cross the state highway onto Via Molina and cross the bridge over the Belbo river. Head up the paved road for about a kilometre to an old fortified house, complete with sentry box and medieval archway with a coat of arms.
From here, take the steep, paved mule track to the right to the village of Castino, passing through fields and hazelnut groves. (The track will cross the asphalt a couple of times, but runs as straight as you would expect from a mule track.)
Along the way:
Point of interest along the way