Highlights and tour details
From the car park of the pools of Villaromagnano (1) take the paved road that goes to Valle Ossona, turning right towards Carbonara Scrivia after about 500m, and then left after just over 200m, following a flat dirt track. It continues along a brook to the left that you cross over and continue along the dirt road that runs through fields, until it merges into a wider road on the left. After about 200 meters, you reach the hamlet Rampina (2) of Villaromagnano that has the same name as the hill that leads to the hamlet of Montale Celli (this stretch is also part of the historical bike race, LaMitica). It is a beautiful country road that runs along the ridge between Valle Scrivia and Valle Ossona, surrounded by orchards and vineyards.
Just before entering Montale (about 5 km from the start), turn onto a steep dirt ramp and when it comes to an end, left, continuing along a flat asphalt road that leads us to the agriturismo, Valli Unite (3). Go past it, via the dirt track that branches off to the right near the last bend to the left.
The idyllic setting allows us to admire the gentle slopes of the hills of Tortona, and the surroundings are particularly rewarding in the spring, when the peach trees and almond trees are in bloom, or in the autumn during the harvest.
Quickly cross the tarmac road at Buffalora, just after Costa Vescovato (6,5 km from the start ). Follow it for just under 100 m, taking the dirt road that climbs to the left and allows us to bypass the town of Castellania - hometown of Fausto and Serse Coppi - skirting the cemetery and the village of San Biagio. When you arrive at a tarmacked road that leads to Sant'Alosio, leave immediately, following the red and white trail until you reach the last town of Valle Ossona, where even the asphalt road ends.
The passage under the old towers ( 4 ) is particularly striking, at least until you reach the dirt road that leads from Sant'Alosio, to the crossroads with the road that from San Vito descends to Garbagna in Val Grue. Pass under the radio / TV towers that obscure an otherwise unique and fascinating landscape, with its steep slopes and ravines.
Continue along the coast, crossing a landslide area on a narrow track, bypassing the highest hill in the area: Monte San Vito. Ignore the deviation to the left that descends into Sarizzola, and continue uphill for a few hundred meters passing a vertical wall on the left. Turn right onto a path that enters the wood just after a short stretch through a field, where the main road turns immediately left.
Descend for 10 meters or so before climbing again along a sandy surface with a gradually increasing slope. After a sharp bend to the right with rocky outcrops, you come to a final ramp that leads to the main road. Colletto di San Vito ( 5 ) is a few meters to the right. Take a sharp left, slightly downhill. After a hundred meters or so, take the deviation to the right (not easily visible), which rises steeply before flattening out. Turn virtually turn back on yourselves, taking a decisive right, when you reach the crossroads.
Continue up a steep slope, for as long as your stamina and legs allow. A final burst of energy takes us to a track that crosses the northern slopes of Monte San Vito, on the left and uphill. Continue smoothly for about one hundred meters and then climb steeply through the woods on a narrow path that turns into a compact earth surface with visible roots: it is not easy to stay in the saddle!
You are almost at the intersection of CAI 124 and 139, which from Avolasca climbs to Monte Gropà, connecting the Alta Val Grue with Val Curone. The grassy area allows you to get your breath back before you climb right, up steep but more manageable slopes. Once you arrive at Colletto, descend quickly and continue straight on.
Just after a narrow passage between rocky plates, continue to push to the summit of Monte San Vito (6). From here, on a clear day, you can enjoy a 360 ° view of the Tortona hills, surrounded by the Apennines to the south, Po Valley to the north and framed by the Alpines.
Go back down the same path you came on until you reach a grassy area, at which point follow the indications for CAI 139 on the left: it is the trail that curves around the southwestern slopes of Monte San Vito. After a final steep stretch, return to the main gravel road, which goes first west and then south, anti-clockwise, around the hill. Follow round to the left, until you shortly reach a tarmacked surface near the village of San Vito. Quickly climb three bends, before the road levels out next to the very top of Mount Piasì, with its characteristic vertical wall. The uphill path is visible on the right. Enter the woods and as the path opens up, you leave it. Continue right, on a fast downhill track that leads into the open after a stretch of trees. Continue on the dirt track on the right, immersed in the ravines. When you reach the fields, ignore the very steep path that continues straight on and flat dirt track on the left, and follow the main road that continues to the right. Go back into the woods until you find another steep sandy ramp with visible rocks that leads to the northern slopes of Mount Provinera. You are almost at the start of the descent, the so-called DH Bavantore, a nosedive of just over 1km that begins with rocky, sandy surface, and continues fast and challenging until it ends. After that, it unfortunately turns into a cement ramp flanked by vertical walls of the ravines. Bavantore (7) is close by, along a gentle road.
Now take the tarmacked road that goes up to Sant'Agata Fossili. After Sant'Agata, (8) continue down towards Cassano Spinola, following the tarmacked road for about a kilometre, until you come to the dirt track on the right. This is just before the descent of the Polveriera (9), about 4 km of gravel path that goes up and down to the bottom of the valley.
Once you reach Cascinotto Rogoron (10), cut through the fields, along a long and enjoyable stretch of dirt roads that alternates with brief stretches along a tarmacked surface, going through Cascina Galla (11) and Cascina del Convento (12). Have a wander around some of the main villages of the Tortona hills, such as Carezzano Superior, Paderna, Spineto Scrivia and Castellar Ponzano (13), until you finally resume the tarmacked road at Cascina Gatti (14) near Carbonara Scrivia (15). From here, descend towards Villaromagnano (16), for the last 2 km of the route.
Variations - there are various different options that make the route around San Vito more interesting. Here you will find the most useful route if you want to avoid doing the same stretch more than once. Basically, when you near the Colletto di San Vito (5), turn right and then take the next junction on the right, leaving the so-called totem on the left (a rocky summit): the descent is relatively wide but fun, with its rocky outcrops and stones. Follow the main road that towards the end turns into a compact surface, before a final ramp that leads us into the open to find the gullies are back in all their glory. Here, turn left, and climb a dirt track with quite a difficult surface (that has been excavated by the elements) until you get to the main dirt road. Turn back and left uphill, back to Colletto di San Vito, and continue along the route towards the summit of Monte San Vito (6). Cristiano Guarco
Points of interest
places passed through: 01_swimming pools of Villaromagnano 156 m, 02_Rampina 212 m, 03_Agriturismo Valli Unite 329 m, 04_Sant’Alosio 468 m, 05_Colletto San Vito 570 m, 06_M. San Vito 684 m, 07_Bavantore 369 m, 08_ Sant’Agata Fossili 423 m, 09_La Polveriera 312 m, 10_C.to Rogoron 225 m, 11_C. Galla 199 m, 12_C. del Convento 204 m, 13_Castellar Ponzano 185 m, 14_C. Gatti 174 m, 15_Carbonara Scrivia 178 m, 16_Villaromagnano 161 m
Departure, arrival and municipalities crossed
15050 Villaromagnano (AL)
Alessandriasee on map