Highlights and tour details
You leave Alba on Viale Cherasca and, after crossing the bridge over the stream and the next level crossing, turn left onto Via Barbaresco which, about 300 m later, is interrupted to make way for an uphill dirt road (S2) that runs alongside a fenced property (be careful of the dogs) and leads to a steep wooden staircase. At the top you turn left on a paved road in the direction of the La Meridiana agritourism farmhouse, from which another uphill dirt road (S2) runs alongside the property and, entering the hill of Altavilla, keeps to the left among fields and hazelnut groves until a last climb to the right (S2) which takes you to the crest of the road, first paved and then gravel, which runs along the ridge between the fortresses of Tanaro and the small valley of the hamlet of Pertinace. This is the hill from which the partisans of the Langhe came down on 10 October 1944 to occupy the city of Alba, even if only for 23 days, when the Republic was declared, as Fenoglio recounts in his most famous story. Before us are the first hills of Barbaresco, all covered with vineyards and dotted with farmsteads with famous names: Rombone, Roncaglie, Pajoré, Marcarini...
The road near the last house, takes a dirt road junction on the right, which goes around the property and takes us through the vineyards beyond the hill to start the very steep descent (D3, but there are fences and safeguards) which, through the woods, descends to the Seno d'Elvio stream, almost where it enters the Tanaro. A small bridge allows us to cross it to continue on the flat between the river and the fortresses in an oasis of silence, scents and biodiversity. Some of the most prized truffles of the Langhe are collected in these fortresses, thanks to them being isolated and therefore, intact. The road skirts two signs dedicated to Fenoglio and after a couple of kilometres turns right at the second sign to reach Cascina Pagliuzzi, which we will leave on our right to take a small bridge over the Rio Sordo and return shortly after on the paved road near Cascine Pora.
We continue beyond the small station of Barbaresco (today it has become the winery of an Australian!) and we take the via della Stazione on the left that goes up into the natural amphitheatre of Martinenga: memories of the ancient Romans (the Emperor Pertinace was born here) and of the subsequent barbarian invasions echo in the place names and archaeological finds, while today the five crus of the hill (Pora, Fasèt, Asili, Martinenga,Rabajà) are among the most famous of the denomination.
You reach the ridge near the small Chapel of San Teobaldo where the path to the left of the road, runs parallel to it to reach the ancient village of Barbaresco, dominated by the exceptional medieval tower (the current one dates back to the 14th century, built by the Visconti family, now renovated and open to visitors) and literally immersed in the vineyards of Nebbiolo, the prince of the Langhe vines. A tour of the village is a must and tastings are absolutely unmissable! We leave the town from Via Cavazza (next to the Enoteca Regionale, in the small Confraternity di San Donato, today a not-to-be-missed secular temple of wine) to cross the provincial road and go down to the little village of Montestefano (another famous cru like the nearby Montefico, Cole and Ronchi): a sort of viewpoint towards the ancient village of Neive Alto. At the first house you turn left: a steep descent (D2) with hairpin bends, on a paved road and then on a dirt road to the bottom of the valley, where you turn right among the poplars of the enchanting little valley and, after about a hundred metres, left to first skirt the railway and then cross it on the concrete overpass. A few metres after you arrive at Cascina Principe, from here the paved road starts again, and you turn left and go as far as the crossroads with the provincial E road with the memory of Romano Levi in your pocket, we take our road again from where we left it to continue beyond the provincial road and take the uphill road (S2) towards Cascina Montà, which we leave on the left; after we continue uphill towards the top of San Cristoforo among vineyards and headlands, keeping to the left. We pass between the aqueduct basins on a paved road to resume the dirt road immediately after the last farmhouse and reach one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the area (there is also a giant bench by designer Chris Bangle!). From here you descend gently (D1) almost to the provincial road, but firstly turning left into a lane that then turns 90 degrees to the right to descend steeply (D3) down the provincial road. Turn left here and then right at the first intersection (Trezzo Tinella) and, after the bridge, take the lane on the right uphill (S3). Keep left towards Cascina Castellizzano, which stands out at the top of the hill: you can reach it by turning right almost at the top, at the last headland. The paved road then picks up again from Castellizzano and continues straight on towards the Chapel of San Stefanetto (another pleasant and panoramic place), from which you turn left to reach the ancient hamlet of Bongiovanni (an example of a small fortified village with houses along both sides and which once had gates to bar the road at night) which is one of the two historic villages of Treiso (the other is Cravè, beyond the church square). Treiso is often mentioned by Fenoglio (here there was the first recruitment of partisans escaping from Alba in order to avoid military service in Salò) and it was also a place of inspiration for Piero Masera, the first modern photographer of the Langhe (his famous "Mattina sulla Langa" was displayed at the Venice Biennale). In addition to the famous Barbaresco, the hill that makes an arc from Treiso to Madonna di Como is renowned among gourmets for producing one of the Langhe’s most fragrant and persuasive Dolcetto wines.
Points of interest
Alba: Urban Towers, Noble Palaces, Teatro Sociale, "Alba Sotterranea" Alba Underground Archaeological Trail, Beppe Fenoglio Study Centre - Barbaresco: Medieval Tower, Cavazza Museum, Enoteca Regionale del Barbaresco - Treiso: Bottega dei Grandi Vini, Rocche dei Sette Fratelli -
Source: Unione dei Comuni della Langa del Barolo, Comune di Serralunga d'Alba, Comune di Barbaresco
Itinerary code: BTM
Recommended period: March - November
Access by public transport: Yes
Provinces crossed: Langhe Monferrato e Roero