Where the Apennine Mountains begin

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A mountain bike ride or a Vespa getaway in the heart of medieval Tortona of the Curone Valley offers unspoiled nature between the Ligurian Apennine Mountains and Padana Plains.

Visualizza Dove comincia l'appennino in una mappa di dimensioni maggiori

Starting at the town of Fabbrica Curone, visit the Gothic-Romanesque parish church. Simple and austere with a wall structure built entirely out of stone and river rock, its foundation dates back to the 9th century. Fabbrica Curone grew from this church, like the monastic outpost of San Colombano in Bobbio. In the village of Lunassi is a museum depicting the traditional farmer’s life, with harvesting tools, equipment, and other machines on display to document the difficult life of a hardy population that managed to make a living out of the land’s less-than-fertile soil.

Exit Fabbrica Curone in the direction of Tortona and follow the road for Gremiasco. This pretty town of the High Curone Valley conserves the ancient Castle of the Marchesi of Malaspina, once lord of this zone. Today, the castle is a private residence. From the ring structure built into the roof, one theory states that this fortress once housed administrative offices for justice, with prisons constructed in the great tower.

Gremiasco includes a number of communities with scenic trails that creep along the ridge of the Apennines and its badlands, where steep tracks of clay and rocks have eroded over time by placer mining. If you’re looking for an experience off the beaten path, visit Castagnola, a town interspersed with stone buildings. From here, Trail 103 will take you to Serra del Monte by way of hazelnut groves, oak, and black pine forests.

Continue on this road until you arrive at San Sebastiano Curone, a small town born from commercial byways and noted for its fairs and open markets – like Artinfiera in September, dedicated to artists and gastronomy; and the National Truffle Fair, held the third Sunday of November and started as a promotional event for its excellent white and black truffles from the Terre del Giarolo. In San Sebastiano, take a break in Ristorante Corona, a historical place managed by the Fontana family for over three hundred years, now a part of the Historical Locale Association of Italy. The menu is refined and traditional, strongly connected with the territory.

From San Sebastiano, proceed north towards Musigliano and the archaeological site Guardamonte. Ancient Ligurian settlements, fossils, terracotta artifacts, and the remains of a rudimental, fortified village have been uncovered.

Passing the Agriturismo Guardamonte, continue on until Cà del Monte, noted for its panoramic views. From here, we suggest you continue towards Cecima for a visit to the Astronomic Observatory: the staff there lets you take an astral trip to see the stars.

Last modified onTuesday, 26 February 2013 09:41
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