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The Path of the Romanesque

Berzano S.Pietro
Localita' sul percorso 
Berzano S.Pietro, Abbazia di Vezzolano, Castelnuovo Don Bosco, Morialdo, Colle Don Bosco, Serra, Capriglio, S.Giorgio (Bagnasco di Montafia), Montafia, S.Secondo (Cortazzone), Camerano Casasco, Chiusano, S.Maria, Brancalione, Sampignoni, Frinco, Madonna della Neve, Castell’Alfero, Calliano, Portacomaro, Scurzolengo, Castagnole, Montemagno, Viarigi
approximately 87 km
tempo di percorrenza 
5-6 days
difficolta' del percorso 

Cascina Anselmo (340 m) - S.Giovanni (340 m) - Berzano S.Pietro (390 m) - S.Giovanni Battista (460 m) – Abbazia di Vezzolano (440 m) – Castelnuovo Don Bosco (250 m) - Morialdo (270 m) - Colle Don Bosco (260 m) - Serra (280 m) - Capriglio (230 m) - S.Giorgio (Bagnasco di Montafia) (200 m) – Montafia (240 m) - S.Secondo (Cortazzone) (220 m) - Camerano Casasco (300 m) – Chiusano (260 m) - S.Maria – Brancalione (250 m) - Sampignoni (250 m) – Frinco (180 m) - Madonna della Neve (220 m) - Castell’Alfero (220 m) - Calliano (260 m) - S.Pietro (220 m) – Portacomaro (230 m) - Scurzolengo (240 m) – Castagnole (240 m) - Montemagno (250 m) - Viarigi (230 m)
Length: 86,8 km


The itinerary sets off at the southern part of residential complex of Casalborgone, in connection with the routes of the province of Turin. Then it winds west of the county road, until you reach the vicinity of the interesting Romanesque church of San Giovanni. Then you continue through the hills toward Berzano San Pietro. If you want, you can climb the hill above the village, where the church of San Giovanni Battista stands, which is a remarkable scenic point. If you look to the north from here, you can enjoy an entirely wooded hillside. It is a state-owned forest: the “Forest of orchids” for being specifically rich in these beautiful plants. Recently the forest underwent a forestry operation in order to conserve its biodiversity and enhance enjoyment. This is a very diverse environment: the characteristics of the part on the ridge are very dry and the soil is rather friable, which produces impressive gullies here and there. The plants and animals that live there have adapted to these conditions and are different from those found on the hillside. Species such as broom, flowering ash, oak, Scots pine give way to mesophilic species, such as chestnut, ash, cherry. Finally, the valley bottom, which is very damp and shady, is characterized by the presence of British oak, alder, white willow and brushwood containing sedges and mosses. You go back heading south, leaving the village of Berzano S.Pietro behind, and proceed on a rather twisting but pleasant rural context, all the way to the point where this trail intersects the Superga-Crea path. You can take a short detour and visit the Abbazia di Santa Maria di Vezzolano, one of the six emblematic monuments of the Piedmont Region and a jewel of Romanesque architecture. The impressive façade, the finely carved rood screen, the atmosphere of the austere cloister partially covered by frescoes, the sculptures of capitals and the architectural composition that amount to a cultural heritage are of primary interest and they certainly deserve to be visited without haste. Inside the Abbey, you can see the “Permanent Exhibition of Romanesque” organized by the Fine Arts authority of Piedmont, which offers the most complete documentation on Romanesque architecture that can be traced in Vezzolano. Now you go first in the wood, then across vineyards and small croplands and go down enroute to Castelnuovo Don Bosco. On this stretch you can see the sunny Romanesque church of Santa Maria di Cornaredo, which stands on a hill on the opposite side and the church of Sant’ Eusebio, which is also a wonderful example of Romanesque architecture in the province of Asti. You cross and pass the residential complex of Castelnuovo, and then go among pleasant hills and across the scattered houses of the hamlet of Morialdo. From here you can quickly access the Sanctuary of Don Bosco, where you can also visit the birthplace of the Saint, the great temple, the Missionary Ethnological Museum and the museum of village life, as well as other religious structures adjoining them. On the other hand, if you continue on the path in the green that crosses pastures and wooded strips, you will reach the hamlet of Serra and the residential complex of Capriglio shortly, whose local product of excellence is the Capriglio Pepper, a Slow-Food Presidium. As you move on, you get near the hamlet of Bagnasco, an ancient settlement that was once protected by fortified walls. The beautiful Romanesque church of San Giorgio is worth visiting, including the tiny cemetery of the village. Now the path leads you to Montafia, crosses the village and continues towards Cortazzone. Shortly before getting there, you can take a short detour, go uphill and visit the parish church of San Secondo, one of the major Romanesque monuments of the province. The exterior façades, made of brick alternating with sand bricks, suggestive decoration sculptures, the nice interior characterized by finely sculpted capitals cannot but evoke admiration and awe. The path continues around the village of Cortazzone, characterized by a massive castle building that stands in the center. Then the path goes on the hillside towards Camerano Casasco, near which you will meet the starting point of the path “The Lands of Camerano Casasco.” Further on the way, you will walk in parallel to but at a distance from the county road, all the way to the town of Chiusano, where the Romanesque church of Santa Maria is located. As you move on, you cross the county road and then climb up to the residential complex of Brancalione and then that of Sampignoni. The next section is characterized by large areas of woodland interspersed with some cropland and scattered farmhouses. This long stretch takes you all the way to Frinco, a village that you can easily recognize at a distance, by virtue of the massive castle overlooking the village. After you pass Frinco, you proceed to Castell’Alfero. At some point on this path, you will see the Romanesque church called Madonna della Neve. It is well preserved and very interesting owing to the particular texture of its walls and its precious frescoes. In Castell’Alfero, a point where you can observe the surrounding landscape is from the fortified walls in the upper square characterized by the church and the castle of the Counts Amico. It is now used as the Town Hall and the Museum “‘l Ciär”, with a collection of thousands of nineteenth - twentieth century objects and tools concerning rural life. Near the church, you will also find a tamburello court. Tamburello is a traditional sport in some villages within the province of Asti, and people still love and play it. Finally the village is also known for being the birthplace of Giovanni Battista De Rolandis, the creator of the Italian Flag, and Gianduja, the carnival mask that symbolizes Piedmont. As you go down to the valley and walk around the local industrial area, the itinerary continues northeast and climbs up to the village of Calliano. ts historic center is pleasant to visit and in particular the square with the parish church S.S. Nome di Maria, a work by Magnocavallo. The walk around the site where once stood the castle, offers significant glimpses on the landscape. As you leave Calliano behind, you continue in a southerly direction. A little later, you will see the Romanesque church of San Pietro. The walk continues towards Portacomaro and, on the outskirts of the village, a Romanesque church will not go unnoticed. It is dedicated to San Pietro, too. Once you arrive at the town, we recommend you take a walk in the oldest center, which is enclosed in an old fortified area, a part of whose fortifications are still visible. The Bottega del Grignolino is headquartered in some of the rooms built inside the tower and ramparts of the fortified area, which is dedicated to the promotion of the local wine with the same name. After you walk on a stretch in open countryside, now go up to the village of Scurzolengo. The fifteenth-century castle and breathtaking glimpses on the landscape are worth mentioning. After you cross the town, you continue along a winding path through the hills, and then you go uphill to reach Castagnole Monferrato. The village is equipped with recreational areas and this trail intercepts “The Path of Colli DiVini” at the village. Now you continue towards Montemagno, where the ancient churches of Santa Maria della Cava and Santi Vittore and Corona (11th century) stand just outside the town’s center. The tour comes to an end at the Village of Viarigi where you will see the beautiful tower, an old house in the center and the church of San Marziano that date back to the middle ages, located just outside the village.

Informazioni utili 
Hiking and MTB trail
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