Among his many words Walt Whitman also said: "Keep your face always turned towards the sun and shadows will fall behind you". Words that have probably inspired people in Alta Langa for the Sunflower Trail, so called because, just like the flower celebrated by Van Gogh, it will take you chasing the sun, from dawn to dusk, and your shadow will be bound to chase you.
While the kilometres are many, about 26, be sure to keep your spirits up because this hike is so enthralling that you will not feel tired. So, please step into the unspoilt nature of these lands and into those places that inspired the writer Beppe Fenoglio, who set his most famous stories here. Breathe amid lush vegetation and valuable botanical species, enjoying the archaic landscapes unchanged by time that unfold with every hillock you conquer.
It is a loop trail starting from Niella Belbo, passing by the borders of the neighbouring villages of Mombarcaro, San Benedetto Belbo, Feisoglio and Gorzegno, for what promises to be quite a challenging ride. We suggest you should tackle it with a little training, bearing in mind that the refreshment points are relatively few and you will only find bars and restaurants at the start and finish area.
The village welcomes you with its medieval history as witnessed by the square-plan tower, some remains of ancient walls and an arched stone renamed the "arch of the French", in memory of the Napoleonic soldiers who passed through here in 1796. Walk to the Chapel of San Bernardino where you will find a picnic area, the start of the trail and the Way of the Cross that continues up to the Church of San Giovanni. Step by step you will get to the romantic "Esplanade of Love" and the giant blue bench to be able to contemplate the Bormida Valley.
On dirt tracks, ups and downs through the woods and crossings of asphalt roads you continue until you reach the Montaja spring. You will pass fields, clearings, dry stone walls and a few hamlets where life flows to the rhythm of the seasons: Poggi, Zampé, Tevola and Piancanale are some of their names. There are panoramic views to be enjoyed all around. Pass by the Church of the Santissima Trinità and the industrious farms on the outskirts of San Benedetto Belbo. Again plenty of nature and here you are on the trail that will take you back to Niella Belbo.
Along the way:
Point of interest along the way