The Roccaverano Loop Trail
Amidst peaks and gullies: a trail in the heart of the Langa Astigiana, marked out by the CAI, which starts from the suggestive Roccaverano and reaches Mombaldone passing through small hamlets, surrounded by charming landscapes and suggestive erosion furrows.
The trail starts in Piazza Barbero, right at the foot of the 30-metre-high round tower and the remains of the Marquis del Carretto's castle: all that remains of a strategic defensive manor. Through its elegant mullioned windows (some of which can be seen) and embrasures, if necessary, weapons could be placed to defend against frequent incursions due to its strategic position to control the Apennine passes. The landscape that unfolds before your eyes shows all the beauty and variety of these high hills: plenty of dense woods, crops and pastureland which are essential for the production of the renowned Robiola di Roccaverano cheese.
Start your downhill walk following the signposts of the 5 Towers Trail (5T) and reach the provincial road. Two hairpin bends and continue on the flat land as far as the hamlet of San Giovanni, where we highly recommend you stop to enjoy the eponymous Romanesque church. Its interior contains one of the most important late-Gothic fresco cycles in the Asti area.
You continue towards the hamlet of Vengore: here you should take a diversion to reach the spectacular square-based tower, but the CAI route does not include this and continues downhill, before turning onto a narrow dirt road. At a junction, turn right and take a path that goes through the woods and then gives way to the typical gully environment, characterised by broom bushes, European smoke trees, a few downy oaks, Scots pine and manna ash. A wide ledge, secured with ropes in the most demanding points, takes you over a very deep gully. You will walk on a ground consisting of greyish flakes of disintegrating rock, the ideal environment for the growth of thyme and helichrysum, as well as some wild orchids, including the rare and protected “Adriatic lizard orchid” (Himantoglossum adriaticum): a wealth of flora that will accompany you for most of the trail, even through the vast meadows that you will pass before reaching Case Colla and then the Ovrano stream in the valley floor.
Beyond the stream you will find the road that leads to Mombaldone, listed as one of the "Borghi più belli d'Italia" (Italy's most beautiful villages): a snapshot of the Middle Ages that has been handed down to us, with its original cobbled streets and stone houses with heraldic coats of arms on their portals.
Once you leave Mombaldone, continue along a minor asphalted road halfway up the hillside, through cultivated fields, farmsteads and wooded areas. You will come across the ruins of the small church of San Rocco and, proceeding uphill with a few bends, you will reach Cascina Mazzurini with a splendid view of the gullies. Leave the road and take an uphill path: in the first stretch you will pass through bushland with typical Mediterranean flora. The next stretch will take you into woods with many chestnut trees.
Once you reach Case Piantivello, you will certainly see the remarkable restoration of the typical Langa stone houses and then continue towards Garbaoli where, from the centre of the village, you will take a dirt road and, leaving the hamlet behind you, you will reach the SP 124 road.You continue along a ridge, passing by Bric Lebre, then Bric Alto, Bric delle Forche and soon you will be in Roccaverano.
Along the way:
Point of interest along the way