The Tanaro Ciclovia: from Priola to Ponte di Nava - Alta Via del Sale

The Tanaro Ciclovia
from Priola to Ponte di Nava

THE ITINERARY

This is a cycle-pedestrian route created specifically for this use and therefore closed to motorized traffic.

THE PATH

The cycle route is a newly built cycle path, almost entirely paved (two sections between Barchi and Ormea and between Cantarana and Ponte di Nava are still to be asphalted). It is a real green artery, a greenway, connecting Priola, Garessio and Ormea continuing to Nava with a very slight difference in height between the 500 meters of Priola and the 803 meters of Ponte di Nava on a development of about 26 km .
Along the route, which enters the furrow of the Alta Valle del Tanaro with a smooth and shady path, there are panoramic springs and stopping points that increase the amiability of pedaling or walking. An ideal itinerary for families that allows you to see the valley from a different perspective and to travel in a calm and sustainable way.

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Garessio
    Garessio, a town rightly included among the most beautiful villages in Italy, is located at the center of a thick crossroads of roads; some of them pre-Roman memory, followed for millennia the same routes, those that lead from the lower Piedmont to the sea.
    There are four districts in which the city is divided: Borgo Maggiore, Poggiolo, Ponte and Valsorda. Starting from the bottom we meet the Borgo Ponte, stretched along the course of the Tanaro that cuts the neighborhood in two. Here is the seat of the trades and shops that follow each other along the state road and in the streets that go towards the bridge, which plows the bed of this restless river. In the Borgo Ponte stands the parish church of S.Caterina, designed by the famous architect Francesco Gallo. In the Borgo Maggiore there is the beautiful Palazzo Comunale on which stands a civic tower and whose central nucleus was built in the XIII century. The Borgo has its oldest part marked by the remains of the walls in which the city gates opened, two of which are still perfectly preserved: Porta Jhape and Porta Liaziolorum. In this neighborhood you will find the beautiful Romanesque Church of Santa Maria in Ripis, dating back to the 12th century and the most recent parish church of the Assunta. Also in the village stands the Confraternita di San Giovanni, with a characteristic octagonal Baptistery next to it. Also this building has very remote origins and here it is represented, every four years, a very suggestive sacred drama called Il Mortorio, written in 1433 and inspired by the Passion of Christ and his Deposition from the Cross.
    Going up the slope towards Calizzano, we reach Valsorda. The district is located on the ridge that slopes towards the lower part of the city and is dominated by the imposing dome of a sanctuary dedicated to the Madonna. The characteristic of this religious building is a record: it is in fact the first dome built in Italy in reinforced concrete, and this happened in 1924. The territory of Garessio is very extensive and also extends to the north, up to Mount Mindino and the hill Casotto. Born as a Charterhouse probably before the year one thousand, it underwent many transformations over the centuries, the last of which was designed by the architects of the real house of Savoy and became the Hunting House of Vittorio Emanuele II.
  • Ormea
    Ormea is a very extensive municipality, rich in hamlets where for centuries intense pastoral activity has been practiced and agriculture on the side with the cultivation of buckwheat, potatoes and chestnuts.
    The mountain cheeses and these simple products of the earth have always been the basic ingredients of a very original cuisine, which has preserved some truly unique characteristics over the centuries. The ormeasca cuisine represents in some way the trait d’union between that of lower Piedmont and that of nearby Liguria and among the most original dishes certainly stand out the “tultei”, particular tortelli filled with “cin”, a stuffing of potatoes and sautéed leeks, flavored with aromatic herbs and roasted on the wood-burning stove. What about the “fozze” a kind of bread made from the mixture of flour and milk, and the lasagne d’Ormea or buckwheat polenta, then the constant presence in the menus of the restaurants of a prized “Ormeasco”, wine that bears this name even if produced on the nearby Ligurian side, and it will be understood that the city can be a real paradise for gourmands.
    But Ormea, a city rich in history that is lost to the remote era of the Saracen invasions, can also attract many other reasons; it would be enough to think of a walk to the more than twenty fractions of the City to make the happiness of those who love walking in the mountains, but there is much more for outdoor lovers with the possibility of trips that go to the shelters at altitude and to the beautiful peaks and the mountain pastures that surround them, perhaps along the Ormea Balcony along all of its 40 km of marked trails. The search for historical traces of the city passes through a look at the imposing walls of the ancient castle of which remains a massive ruin that dominates the town, to continue through the maze of narrow streets, all paved, which intersect thick and suggestive for the village , until you reach the splendid façade of the richly decorated XIIIth century House of the Marquis and the Parish Church of San Martino built on top of what was once the city gate on which a beautiful Romanesque bell tower rises.
    The characteristic Casa Museo, an old traditional house in which a very rich ethnographic museum is set up, is worth a visit.
    The parks and gardens of the city are all decorated with sculptures of well-known contemporary artists made with the precious black marble of Ormea and certainly deserve a visit, as well as the round Saracen Tower that rises threateningly over the cliff overlooking the Barchi hamlet.
    Also worth seeing is the Church of the Madonna degli Angeli, the Chapel of San Mauro, the Chapel of San Rocco and the Sanctuary of the Madonna dell’Albareto.
    Ormea is also the terminus of the historic railway line coming from Ceva.
  • Ponte di Nava
    Ponte di Nava, fraction of Ormea, takes its name from the bridge on the river Tanaro, on the road that leads to the homonymous Hill. Here in ancient times passed the border between the Republic of Genoa and the Duchy of Savoy and successively between the Republic of Genoa and the Kingdom of Sardinia. Currently it is located on the border between Liguria and Piedmont.

GEOGRAPHICAL AREA INTERESTED

The cycling and pedestrian path crosses the Municipalities of Priola, Garessio, Ormea, up to the Nava Bridge.
The itinerary is completed with other cycle paths on the area, allowing tourists to make detours on the territory and / or continue along other sections, among the main ones are:

  • L’Anello di Caprauna through the Colle S. Bartolomeo (cycle-hiking route for MTB)
  • L’Anello delle Salse which connects Upega with the Valle D’Arroscia, and then reach Nava through the Colletto delle Salse (cycling route for road bikes)

Total length: The cycle path runs along the course of the river Tanaro, for a total length of 26.6 km and favors the use of the lower valley between the Municipalities of Priola (fraction Pievetta), Garessio and Ormea to reach the bridge of Nava.
The starting point, at Pievetta, is located at 537 meters above sea level, the maximum altitude reached (on the cycle path) is 803 meters.

Difficulty and distance: It is a cycle path closed to vehicular traffic, which can be used all year round. The moderate height difference makes the track suitable for a family type of user. The route is easy, practicable by everyone, partly on asphalt, partly unpaved.
Generally annual fruition, weather conditions permitting during the winter period.

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