Trekking - GTL

GTL - Leg 16

This brief route runs from the village of Feisoglio to Niella Belbo and is also a part of the Bar to Bar itinerary, so pay close attention to the signage in order to stay on your chosen itinerary. You may at times feel as though you’re lost, but you’re not! It’s simply that this area is so beautiful that it has been included in two different itineraries.

 

Situated atop a rolling crest along the right side of the Belbo Valley, Feisoglio overlooks Serravalle (or Villa, to be precise) in the same way that Niella overlooks Bossolasco and that Cravanzana faces Arguello and Cerretto. The village has maintained this atmosphere of days gone by, especially as you wander its narrowest streets to the church square, its elegant confraternity to one side overlooking the fragrant, fertile valley below.

Go past the town along the paved road and then head left at the first (marked) crossroads. This road will soon turn to unpaved and head to the right. Continue uphill into the woods a bit further and then come out into the open onto the watershed. The breeze coming in from the sea (that locals actually call in Piedmont dialect “marin”), will rustle through your hair and fill your nostrils with Mediterranean fragrances.

After about 2 km of paved road, turn left. After a brief descent, turn immediately to the right, nearly in a U-shape, to return to the stone track. Continue through the fields to the panoramic crest of the hill. Keep going until the next paved section and continue straight to the “Spianata dell’Amore” (Clearing of Love), which isn’t a place for young lovers to park, but rather refers to a medieval legend of the brave knight Leone (you’re actually standing on Monte Leone), who fell in love with the local farm girl, and this was the place where their love blossomed.

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Of course, this does point to the talent of medieval explores to find beauty! This clearing is open to the elements on all sides and features a giant bench designed by Chris Bangle, where you can take in the full 360° of this marvelous landscape. The Church of San Giovanni, made of austere Langhe stone, awaits you at the next crossroads. From here, head down the slight incline to the village of Niella Belbo.

One thing Niella shares with the other villages on the right-hand side of the valley (with the notable exception of Cravanzana) is the destruction of its castle in the 17th century. Despite this loss, the village retains a number of important signs of its medieval past, which give you an idea of the fact that the town was armed by the Del Carretto Family to clamp down on the valley, together with Bossolasco on the opposite side, in order to control the San Benedetto passage. One such sign is its squat, stone tower with its hut-like roof, which may have been, given its lack of height, more a part of the castle’s fortification than an actual watchtower. Then there is the medieval archway known as the “Arco dei Francesi” (French Arch), which is very similar to the one in Novello with stone machicolations and pointed arch. The nickname comes from the fact that more than 10,000 of Napoleon’s soldiers came through this archway during his first Italian campaign as they headed to conquer Alba following victory in the Bormida Valley.

Niella also features the chapel of San Rocco with frescos in its apse that are protected behind glass (as the rest of the church no longer exists) and, of course, a stunning view over the Alta Valle Belbo as well as the Bormida Valley further off in the distance. Beyond Bossola Pass, there is the Murazzano Tower overlooking the Tanaro Valley, while to the south the Cadibona wall blocks the Ligurian sea from view.

As you leave in the direction of Mombarcaro, don’t miss the elegant Santuario della Madonna dei Monti, a spectacular sanctuary erected in the early 1700s, perhaps by the architect Francesco Gallo from Mondovì. In the somber Baroque style typical of the Piedmont region, this stone building features brick details and has just one nave. Within the sanctuary, recently restored frescos from the 15th century point to a possible replacement or expansion of a previous chapel. At an altitude of 860 metres (2,822 ft), it is the highest sanctuary in the Alba diocese, and it is here that, every year, a summer bonfire (like those described by Cesare Pavese in his novel “The Moon and the Bonfires”) is held to celebrate the Nativity of Mary (September 8th).

loghi

COVERED AREAS

Langhe

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GENERAL INFORMATION

Departure
Feisoglio
6 Via Roma
Italy
Arrival
Niella Belbo
SP31
12077
Italy
Type of trail
Linear
Distanz
5.4 km
Difficulty
Intermediate
Estimated Time
1:45 hours

ACCESSIBILITY

Along the way:

Picnic area along the trail
Fountains / water points along the trail

Point of interest along the way

Departure:
Feisoglio
6 Via Roma
Cuneo
Italy
Arrival:
Niella Belbo
SP31
12077 Cuneo
Italy

    Suggested Itineraries

    The stages of this itinerary

    Back to the main itinerary
    • Stop 0
      GTL - Grande Traversata delle Langhe
      Castino -> San Benedetto Belbo
      240km - Demanding - 52:00h
    • Stop 1
      GTL - Leg 1
      Castino -> Cortemilia
      8.5km - Intermediate - 2:00h
    • Stop 1
      Variant 1A
      GTL - Variant 1A
      Castino -> Santo Stefano Belbo
      14.3km - Intermediate - 4:00h
    • Stop 2
      GTL - Leg 2
      Cortemilia -> Bergolo
      5.2km - Intermediate - 1:30h
    • Stop 2
      Variant 2A
      GTL - Variant 2A
      Pezzolo Valle Uzzone -> Santuario Todocco
      5.5km - Intermediate - 1:35h
    • Stop 2
      Variant 2B
      GTL - Variant 2B
      Cortemilia -> Bric della Croce (Perletto)
      5km - Easy - 1:45h
    • Stop 3
      GTL - Leg 3
      Bergolo -> Prunetto
      9.2km - Intermediate - 2:40h
    • Stop 3
      Variant 3A
      GTL - Variant 3A
      Bergolo -> Pezzolo Valle Uzzone
      3.1km - Intermediate - 35m
    • Stop 3
      Variant 3B
      GTL - Variant 3B
      Bergolo -> Torre Bormida
      6.2km - Intermediate - 1:25h
    • Stop 4
      GTL - Leg 4
      Prunetto -> Gottasecca
      7.5km - Intermediate - 2:10h
    • Stop 4
      Variant 4A
      GTL - Variant 4A
      Prunetto -> Monesiglio
      9.7km - Intermediate - 2:05h
    • Stop 4
      Variant 4B
      GTL - Variant 4B
      Monesiglio -> Bricco Ronchetto (Mombarcaro)
      4.5km - Intermediate - 1:30h
    • Stop 5
      GTL - Leg 5
      Gottasecca -> Saliceto
      11.5km - Intermediate - 3:35h
    • Stop 5
      Variant 5A
      GTL - Variant 5A
      Gottasecca -> Confine Ligure
      5km - Intermediate - 1:00h
    • Stop 6
      GTL - Leg 6
      Saliceto -> Mombarcaro
      19km - Intermediate - 6:00h
    • Stop 7
      GTL - Leg 7
      Mombarcaro -> San Benedetto Belbo
      4.5km - Intermediate - 1:20h
    • Stop 7
      Variant 7A
      GTL - Variant 7A
      San Benedetto Belbo -> Murazzano
      5.5km - Intermediate - 1:45h
    • Stop 8
      GTL - Leg 8
      Murazzano -> Bossolasco
      10km - Easy - 2:45h
    • Stop 9
      GTL - Leg 9
      Bossolasco -> Serravalle Langhe
      6km - Intermediate - 1:45h
    • Stop 9
      Variant 9A
      GTL - Variant 9A
      Serravalle Langhe -> Cerretto Langhe
      7.5km - Intermediate - 1:50h
    • Stop 9
      Variant 9B
      GTL - Variant 9B
      Cerretto Langhe -> Arguello
      4.5km - Intermediate - 50m
    • Stop 9
      Variant 9C
      GTL - Variant 9C
      Arguello -> Lequio Berria
      4.5km - Intermediate - 1:25h
    • Stop 9
      Variant 9D
      GTL - Variant 9D
      Lequio Berria -> Benevello
      8km - Intermediate - 2:10h
    • Stop 10
      GTL - Leg 10
      Serravalle Langhe -> Albaretto della Torre
      5.8km - Intermediate - 1:45h
    • Stop 11
      GTL - Leg 11
      Albaretto della Torre -> Benevello
      10km - Intermediate - 2:15h
    • Stop 12
      GTL - Leg 12
      Benevello -> Pavaglione (Castino)
      4.7km - Intermediate - 1:30h
    • Stop 13
      GTL - Leg 13
      Pavaglione (Castino) -> Castino
      7.7km - Easy - 2:30h
    • Stop 13
      Variant 13A
      GTL - Variant 13A
      Pavaglione (Castino) -> San Donato (Mango)
      13.7km - Demanding - 4:00h
    • Stop 14
      GTL - Leg 14
      Castino -> Cravanzana
      7km - Intermediate - 2:50h
    • Stop 15
      GTL - Leg 15
      Cravanzana -> Feisoglio
      5.5km - Intermediate - 1:45h
    • Stop 15
      Variant 15A
      GTL - Variant 15A
      Torre Bormida -> Cravanzana
      2.8km - Intermediate - 45m
    • Stop 15
      Variant 15B
      GTL - Variant 15B
      Bric del Cucco (Cravanzana) -> Torre Bormida
      5.7km - Easy - 1:50h
    • Stop 16
      GTL - Leg 16
      Feisoglio -> Niella Belbo
      5.4km - Intermediate - 1:45h
    • Stop 16
      Variant 16A
      GTL - Variant 16A
      Villa (Serravalle Langhe) -> Feisoglio
      5.1km - Intermediate - 1:45h
    • Stop 17
      GTL - Leg 17
      Niella Belbo -> San Benedetto Belbo
      5.5km - Intermediate - 1:20h

      Suggested Itineraries

      • Trekking - Langhe
        Trekking
        Langhe
        Loop
        Partenza: Cossano Belbo
        Arrivo: Cossano Belbo
        Intermediate
        16 km
        4:00 hours
      • GTL - Grande Traversata delle Langhe
        MTB Touring Routes
        Langhe
        Linear
        Partenza: Albaretto della Torre
        Arrivo: Benevello
        Demanding
        10 km
        1:00 hours
      • GTL - Grande Traversata delle Langhe
        MTB Touring Routes
        Langhe
        Linear
        Partenza: Niella Belbo
        Arrivo: San Benedetto Belbo
        Demanding
        5.5 km
        18 minutes
      • GTL - Grande Traversata delle Langhe
        MTB Touring Routes
        Langhe
        Linear
        Partenza: Pezzolo Valle Uzzone
        Arrivo: Santuario del Todocco
        For experts
        5.5 km
        40 minutes
      • Trekking - Monferrato - Fontanile
        Trekking
        Monferrato
        Loop
        Partenza: Fontanile
        Arrivo: Fontanile
        Easy
        23.5 km
        9:00 hours
      • Cammino dei fossili
        MTB Touring Routes
        Monferrato
        Linear
        Partenza: Montiglio Monferrato
        Arrivo: Tonco
        Easy
        10.4 km
        2:30 hours