When you are in Monferrato, you should consider taking an hour's walk, easy and comfortable, which will take you to the centre of one of the core areas of the UNESCO World Heritage Wine Landscapes, the Nizza Monferrato area. This is a fairly undemanding loop trail, marked out by the Strada del Vino Astesana, all on asphalted roads through vineyards, hazelnut groves, woods and fields with views to marvel at.
Nizza Monferrato, founded at the time of Barbarossa, in the valley crossed by the Belbo river, is a charming and lively commercial little town. It is surrounded by splendid hillsides planted with vines, mainly Barbera: they are among the best and most appreciated hills to the extent that, with the 2014 harvest, they were granted the "Nizza DOCG" appellation, rewarding the work of many producers, the primary custodians and creators of this harmonious and fascinating landscape.
Just take a short walk and all this will be before your eyes. Reach Piazzale Giovanni Falcone, where you can park your car, and continue onto Via Oratorio (SP. 40). Pass the Guardia di Finanza (Italian finance police) barracks, which you will find on your left.
A little further on, you will pass by the large Don Bosco Oratory, a former convent bought at the end of the 19th century by San Giovanni Bosco, founder of the Salesian order, to become the seat of the Congregazione delle Figlie di Maria Ausiliatrice (Congregation of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians). The building is currently home to a number of local associations. It is a large, multi-faceted complex that also hosts a theatre, classrooms and football fields, as designed by Don Giuseppe Celi, who was its director for 50 years and whose music students included a very young Umberto Eco, who lived in a house near the oratory during the war and attended it actively.
Once past this large building and wondering how many of these hills and landscapes we find in the great semiologist's novels, after 250 metres you turn left onto Strada Annunziata. A 1.6-kilometre-long route that climbs between villas, vineyards, vegetable gardens and hazelnut groves that will take you to the most scenic point, before you start descending towards the valley.
You will get to the junction with the SP 17 (Cremosina road). Turn left and continue straight ahead (the road will change its name to Via 1613), and you will go back to the square. If you have time, we recommend a diversion onto Via Don Celi (on your left) to visit the Giardino dei Giusti (Garden of the Righteous), a place conceived for culture and relaxation.
Along the way:
Point of interest along the way