Highlights and tour details
After passing the Church of San Rocco, the village of Carema and the basin, covered with vineyards, appear, into which you descend along narrow steps at the base of a rocky wall. Cross the vineyards and enter the village. At a T-junction with a fountain, turn left to reach the small square with the town hall. Passing in front of the church, you go past the last houses and go along some agricultural tracks bordered by the characteristic "tupiun" (vineyard pergolas). Descend as far as Ivrea-Aosta SS 26 main road, where, paying attention to the traffic, you turn left to go for about 1 km, skirting the bank of the Dora Baltea in the intermediate stretch. You then skirt a craft trade area and, near some maritime pines, leave the main road and turn left to follow a small side road that leads to the hamlet of Airale. At the first houses of the hamlet, leave the small road to the left and continue straight ahead along a dirt road that, after a few hundred metres, crosses a campsite and the Chiussuma, a stream that descends from the Colma di Mombarone. You are now near Torre Daniele and, following a cobbled road, you pass between the bell tower and the church and enter the old centre of the hamlet. After the last houses, head towards the main road, and before you reach it, turn onto a country road that runs parallel to the busy road for a long stretch between vineyards and extensive meadows. At the end, turn left and follow a cobbled mule track between dry stone walls that passes through the vineyards and enters Cesnola. After the church of the hamlet, you reach a fountain with a basin formed from a single block and turn right and then left to leave the last houses and pass the isolated church of San Rocco. You cross a stretch of countryside on a dirt road until you reach the abandoned church of San Sebastiano, on the outskirts of Settimo Vittone. The stretch that follows is a little articulated, but by following the VF signs you can correctly go over the crossroads between roads and mule tracks. Generally, you turn left and follow: a small asphalt road, a mule track, a short stretch of the road that goes up to Trovinasse and another part of the mule track that leads to the small square of the church of Madonna delle Grazie upstream from the centre of Settimo Vittone. After crossing the road, skirt a hillock with an ancient village (you can reach the church and the 11th century baptistery of San Lorenzo with a short diversion) and turn left passing at the base of an old wall. After leaving the old village, cross some meadows and reach a small asphalt road. Turn left here and, after a short climb and descent, follow a narrow path at a crossroads, skirting some protruding rocks. With a non-cyclable stairway (there is an exposed section but with protective barriers) you descend into the area of Montestrutto, with the outline of the castle visible at the end of a rocky ridge near the bed of the Dora Baltea. In an open environment, you cross some vineyards and at the end of them pass under the vault of an old building of the ancient village of Montestrutto - "Sottopasso di Teit". When you reach a small road, turn left and climb up it, first on an asphalt surface and then on rock. Once past the summit, with an excellent view of the castle of Montestrutto, the plain, the Dora Baltea river and the opposite slope, descend along a non-cycling path into an area with numerous examples of sheepback rocks. Entering the wood, you pass some narrow passages between walls and protruding rocks and descend along a steep mule track that leads to the centre of Montestrutto. In the middle section, there is an excellent view of the castle and the adjacent church. In the little square, turn left and, on the flat, leave the village along a wide road with "tupiun" at the edges. On the left, large parts separate from the vertical rock walls, where numerous rock routes are marked out, which represent an ideal environment for climbing enthusiasts. At the end of the "tupiun", follow a grassy track that becomes asphalt to the left that crosses wide meadows and gradually approaches the rocky slope. Enter the hamlet of Ivozio and, after a small church, follow a small road for about 1 km until you reach the church of San Germano in the homonymous hamlet. Turning left, you reach the area of the former breweries and, behind the rocky ridges, turn right to take the Balmetti road "the mountain that breathes". Along the road here, there are many buildings up against each other and directly against the rock. These are cellars that take advantage of the very rare natural phenomenon of air that constantly comes through the cracks in the rocks all year round. Leaving Balmetti behind, continue in the direction of Borgofranco (from Balmetti to Ivrea there are many stretches in common with the Alta Via and the connecting itineraries of the AMI) and when you reach the road for Nomaglio-Andrate, turn right. At the first crossroads turn left to reach the tower gate of Borgofranco. Turn left after the church to follow a little road that leads to a small square. Go straight ahead to a T-junction, where you turn left and then immediately right to take a road that leads out of the village. After a few hundred metres at a fork, where there is an old stone road sign, follow the road on the right that enters the woods. Further on, just before a drainage canal, turn right again to follow a forest track. After crossing a brook, continue on the flat until reaching another brook that runs along the edge of the wood at the foot of a slope. Turning right, go past the junction with the mule track that descends from Lago Nero and, after passing the ruins of a power station that used the water fall of Lago Nero, continue at the foot of the slope for about 1 km. After passing a furnace, you enter Montalto Dora and, on the left, you can see the medieval castle for a short stretch. When you reach the town hall square, continue on the left to pass the residence of Villa Casana, which until a few years ago housed a monastery of Benedictine Cistercian nuns. The remarkable architectural complex is surrounded by a large park and, in fact, as you leave the village and head towards the castle, you begin to skirt the gardens of the villa and can admire the centuries-old Atlas cedar, listed as a monumental tree, through a gate. Continuing along a cobbled road, with views of the castle above and ever nearer, you go up to the small church of San Rocco. After a few vineyards, you reach a crossroads and a picnic area with educational panels on the peculiarities of the castle, which stands at the top of a rocky peak. Following the main road, you skirt the slopes of the ridge with the castle and pass the Periadriatic Seam, the scar of the earth's crust caused by the collision of two continental plates, the European and African. Geologists recognise a section of this seam right on the level of the walkway. A slight descent leads to a depression where Lago Pistono can be seen through the vegetation, especially in winter. At the nearby fork, turn right to reach the lake and after the tributary, turn right and, before an inn, left to enter the woods. A beautiful path runs along the eastern edge of the lake from an enviable position and with panoramic views, in an exceptionally pleasant environment. The path joins a dirt road and following the right-hand branch you reach a fork where the Chapel of Santa Croce stands in the middle of it. Continuing to the left, pass a few residential houses and, after a small wetland area, turn left at a fork with an AMI signpost and start to climb up a steep little road. After going over the hill, a descent leads to the crossroads at the chapel of San Pietro Martire. At the next crossroads, turn left and take a mule track that leads downhill to the car park of a tourist/residential complex. For a short stretch you can see Lago Sirio and the linear profile of the Serra moraine. When you reach a link road, turn left and before a stop sign turn right to start going along Via Sant'Ulderico, in a beautiful residential area. You go for more than 1 km along this road that descends to Ivrea and before reaching a commercial area, you can see the outlines of the castle and the cathedral of Ivrea in front of you. At the first crossroads turn left and at the nearby traffic lights turn right to pass at the foot of the castle and towers. At the next crossroads with traffic lights, turn left and immediately left again to enter the historic centre of Ivrea by passing through two arches. After the second arch, go up a small road which, starting at the base of one of the castle towers, leads to a square with an excellent viewpoint over part of the city and the bell tower of the town hall. This route ends near the cathedral.
Points of interest
In Carema: Gran Masun In Settimo Vittone: Pieve and Baptistery of San Lorenzo In Borgofranco: the Balmetti (natural wine cellars) in Montalto Dora: the Castle and the Archaeological Park of Lake Pistono in Ivrea: the Castle of the Four Towers, the Cathedral of the Assumption, the Church of Sant'Ulderico, the Shrine of Monte Stella (Three Kings' Chapel), Tower of Santo Stefano, the Church of San Bernardino, the Church of San Gaudenzio, the Church of Santa Croce, Maam the open-air museum of Olivetti architecture, the Tecnologic@mente Museum Workshop, the Historic Olivetti Archive, the National Archive of Enterprise Cinema, the Pier Alessandro Garda Civic Museum
Carema is reachable by private means from the motorway exits of Pont Saint Martin (3 km) and of Quincinetto (3.5 km) or along the SS26 of Valle D’Aosta. The intermediate stage of the itinerary is the city of Ivrea, which is reachable from the motorway tollbooth of the A5-Torino-Aosta.
Itinerary code: VFC
Access by public transport: Yes
Classification: Medium and low mountain provincial
Provinces crossed: Torino