Highlights and tour details
Distance: 76 km
Time: 6 h
Recommended period: spring and autumn
Itinerary: From the railway station of Vercelli take the flyover of Corso Gastaldi, via Donato and continue for the small town of Olcenengo. After crossing the town, continue in the direction of Casanova Elvo, to reach the hamlet of Vettignè from where it is possible to see the silhouette of the homonymous medieval castle that stands out on the rice paddies. Vettignè was built in the 15th century at the crossroads between Via Svizzera and Via Francigena and its name preserves the remains of that historic period: in fact, it comes from the term vectigal, namely the duty that wayfarers had to pay to obtain the right of way. Taking the road again, you reach Santhià in a short time: the town deserves a stop if only to admire the Collegiate Church of Sant’Agata, famous for the polyptych by Giovenone, with its 12th century Roman bell tower. From the first spring sun to the mild autumn days, it is not rare to see some pilgrim venturing along the via Francigena which takes from Canterbury to Rome, for a total of 3000 km. On the ring road of Santhià, follow the signs for Biella as far as Cavaglià where you follow the direction for Viverone. From a distance, you can make out Roppolo with its castle and church, another fundamental stage of the Via Francigena. The route continues overlooking Lake Viverone, the third largest of Piedmont shared between the provinces of Turin, Biella and Vercelli, and coasting it for 5 km you reach Alice Castello, to continue in the direction of Tronzano V.se. This stretch sees the intersection of the Naviglio of Ivrea, the Depretis Canal and the Cavour Canal, essential sources for the rice cultivation in the area of Vercelli. From here, you cross the towns of Crova and Salasco, with its lake that is the destination of fishing lovers, to then reunite with SP11 at Cascine Strà, from where you then follow the signs to return to the starting point.