From castle to castle
- Written by Pietro Ramunno
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In the heart of the Roero, enjoy the scenery of the Langhe hills while traveling through this old trail that connects Guarene to Castagnito, through Castellinaldo to end at Magliano Alfieri. This walk takes you through the castles to the left of the Tanaro river.
Visualizza Andare di castello in castello in una mappa di dimensioni maggiori
Beginning at Guarene, park in Piazza Roma, the seat of the municipal building, and begin this castle-focused itinerary with the Palazzo Re Rebaudengo, a palace dedicated to contemporary figurative art that is open on Sundays (if running an exposition). Then, take a quick visit to the church of Santissima Annunziata. This is a fine example of religious Piedmontese architecture from the 1700s, and the view in front opens to the city of Alba. Continue on the grassy climb of Armando Diaz, then turn onto road IV Novembre as it skirts the park surrounding the Castle of Guarene. Pass the church of St. Pietro and Bartolomeo and continue to climb, keeping the castle – an example of Piedmontese Baroque architecture inspired by the architect Filippo Juvarra – to your left. Currently under reconstruction, this castle won’t be visible until spring of 2014. For hikers who love the greenery and tricks of perspective offered by the strict, geometrical design of carefully-planned gardens and hedges, don’t miss the Italian garden whose layout was planned in 1740.
Continue along the cobblestoned road of Alessandro Roero until the panoramic view; from here, take Via Casoli and follow it until Road 50. Continue for about 100 m (110 yds) until the junction. Go left along a ridge that leads through houses in the direction of Castagnito and admire the view of the hills that climb up to the communities of Madonna dei Boschi and Vezza-Villa. Near the road to the left that descends towards the “Borbore Spring,” or the Guarene lake, follow the right-hand path that leads towards the Bric San Licerio.
Passing by several new buildings, the trail bends to the left as it runs along a vineyard on the right. The view opens up to the Tanaro Valley and the hills of the Langhe. Follow the path until, below on the right, you can see a cluster of houses called San Giuseppe di Castagnito and, in the background, Magliano Alfieri in relief against the hills and horizon, our final destination. Continuing on ahead, find yourself in front of the community of Castagnito and its most notable buildings: a parish church, a confraternity building, and a community building. No manors or palaces dominate this place: tradition has it that the simple tower was constructed in the 12th century by the bishop of Asti. The summit of the hill was leveled off and expanded by the peasants, who transported the soil on their backs in wicker baskets. Today, Castelverde is constructed on what was the summit of the hill on a panoramic point.
Where the asphalt begins, take a right following the fenced-in area. To the left, the vineyards seem to fan out from Castagnito’s center, Castellinaldo prominent with its castle on the right. At the end of the straight asphalt path when the street turns to the right, the trail sign for S3 is posted on a vineyard pole, inviting you to venture into the vineyards. When the path finishes on a slight decline, find another sign that points you to the right, and enjoy the view as you pass by a hazelnut grove. Following more signs as you arrive in the community of Ronchieso, turn onto Road 50. Passing by the church of St. Sebastiano and Rocco (known also as the “Madonna of the People”), the trail continues to the hamlet of Castagnito, turning right in the direction of the community San Giuseppe. At the exit of the roundabout take a right and, after the church of St. Bernardo, turn to the left along the cemetery in the direction of the farmhouse (cascina) Tortorino.
Once at the fork, stay on the central road that goes through the vineyards. Bypass the Bric Zoanni on the right, meeting up with the asphalt road again. Descend towards the next fork and take the left hand path, venturing into the vineyards that, season permitting, are interspersed with flowering peach trees.
Here, you’re nearing lower Castellinaldo along Via Serra. Climb up towards the high part of the town on the left, and arrive at the Castle of Aynaldi, in whose stables you’ll find hospitality in the Bottega del Vino, managed by the Castellinaldo Winemakers’ Association. Straight ahead, crossing over Road 176, go by Agriturismo Mongalletto and once again find yourself among the vineyards. After a few dozen meters on the right, glimpse Road 176 at the bottom of the valley that rises to Magliano Alfieri. Descend through the farmland towards the junction a bit ahead.
Climb the hill, passing the Tenuta Gallarini on your left and, after the small votive construction dedicated to St. Michele, leave the signs for S.3 and instead head towards Magliano Alfieri, taking a right at the fork on Road 177 where it leads into Road 2. The trail levels out at the top and brings the countryside into view. Climb towards Via Asilo Alfieri and pass a parking space on the right that at one time saw many games of pallapugno. On the right is the Castle of Magliano, built starting in 1649, with its characteristic Baroque facade, a monumental entrance with a wooden door and its crowning masterpiece in sandstone, the grand staircase that leads towards the Room of Festivities, decorated in coats-of-arms of nobility that married into the family of Count Alfieri. The noble floor of the castle houses Musem of Art and Popular Tradition, as well as the pub/pizzeria Alfieri (furnished with ample dining space and an outdoors area ideal for summer evenings) and the restaurant Alla Corte degli Alfieri of Stefano Paganini, with high quality Italian cuisine in an elegant, striking atmosphere.