Highlights and tour details
This route of about 40 km is the set of 2 close but different naturalistic scenarios: the Po Park (within which some sections of the VEN.TO cycling route are traversed) and the first hills of the Casalese Monferrato
Starting from the agriturismo Cascina Nuova, a well-known bike friendly accommodation, go along the rightside of the riverbank of the Po, following a segment of the VEN.TO cycle route for some stretches.
The initial part of the trail is an oasis of absolute peace but after a few kilometers the route changes abruptly, rising from the Po Park to the urban context of the city of Valenza, a world-famous city the for its goldsmiths and the century old tradition of gold. Following the path, after passing the town station on the left, follow the signs for San Salvatore Monferrato and at km 6.50 abandon the short stretch of the provincial route and turn left in the direction of Frescondino.
The path follows a hilly route through the first hills of Monferato and within a few kilometers, passes onto a short flat stretch to the first steep uphill climb that ends in the small village of Frescondino, completely surrounded by hills. Without leaving the main road in the direction of San Salvatore Monferrato, enjoy the view of the interesting naturalistic suggestions offered by the surrounding area and just beyond the famous Sanctuary of Madonna del Pozzo, you arrive in the central square of San Salvatore Monferrato (km 12,600 ) for a short rest after the only uphill present throughout the itinerary.
Back on the route from Piazza Carmagnola go all the way to Avalle and at the stop sign at the top of the uphill, turn first right and then immediately left towards Strada Molinara, a long road of nearly 2 km leading from the hills to the plains.
At the end of the gravel road, turn first right and then again after 400 meters, from this point is a ride along a flat section on dirt road of nearly 2,4 km. At the end of this stretch of road, turn left onto the provincial road leading to Mirabello and at km 18, 03 follow the signs leading to Villabella, a small hamlet of Valenza Po.
Once having quickly gone through the inhabited nucleus we follow the directions for Giarole where the second part of the route begins, almost exclusively flat until its conclusion.
The road linking Villabella to Giarole is surrounded by numerous poplars and these woods, characteristic of the river landscape, are well present until the last kilometer.
Once arriving in the small town of Giarole, one can take a short break to externally visit the famous Sannazzaro Giarole Castle (XII century), one of the few castles found in the lowlands of the province of Alexandria.
After the break, cross the village in the direction of Casale and shortly before arriving at the provincial road which links Casale to Valenza, turn right to take the road to San Zeno (km 23,7), after which, following a short uphill climb enter into the small village of Pomaro (highly recommended!) to admire the fabulous 12th Century castle
The route continues towards Valmacca and immediately before entering the hamlet of Rivalba (29,6 km), turn right and go along the canal to the left. From this point the route continues for about 5,5 Km along the right side of Po riverbank , which is on the official VEN.TO cycle route.
At km 35.20 abandon the cycle path to take the main road that leads to Valencia, once you reach the main road that links Valencia to Pavia (Km 36.40) turn left towards the bridge which goes over the River Po.
Go along for almost 700 meters, just before the “trattoria” located at the beginning of the bridge, take the downhill leading directly onto the riverbank right of the Po, where you can view the great river up-close in total security.
Now heading towards the end of this route, the main characteristic of this last stretch is the same feeling of peace and well-being that marked the route on its outset.
Along the river bank are elements which characterize the life within a river landscape, those being the fishermen's boats and colourful stilt houses (still inhabited) scattered amongst the many poplar trees present.
Going straight along the route, again resuming the last stretch along the right riverbank for almost 2km (always following the Ven.to cycle path) which leads us back to Cascina Nuova. Ivan Reitano
Points of interest
Description of the signs: present and true to the description of the route made on the site of Piemontebike.eu
Stages of the route and points of interest: Valenza : Duomo di Santa Maria maggiore; San Salvatore Monferrato: San Martino Church (XV cent.), San Siro Church(XVI cent.) ; Palazzo Cavalli di . Germano (XVIII cent.), Palazzo Carmagnola (XV cent.); Torre dei paleologi (XV cent.); Sanctuary of Madonna del Pozzo (XVII cent.); Santa Croce Hospital (XV cent.).
Giarole : Sannazzaro Castel (XII cent.).
Pomaro : Medieval Castel (XII cent.)
Departure, arrival and municipalities crossed
Alessandriasee on map