We are in the heart of the Maira Valley, Piedmont's area, still little known by mass tourism.
Steep slopes and wonderful waterways reveal breathtaking views and yet authentic mountain atmosphere.
Nature is wild and uncontaminated, there are no ski lifts or other installations that could spoil the beauty and tranquility of nature.
In the villages of the Valley there are, between the green meadows, churches and homes of important medieval frescoes. Our itinerary starts in Ponte Marmora, hamlet of Marmora's municipality.
We take the street towards Acceglio. We continue on the paved road up to Prazzo Inferiore, here we take the turning to San Michele.
After just over 7 kilometers from the start we reach the characteristic village of San Michele where we suggest you stop to admire the church and the front building with a beautiful and distinctive frescoed facade.
Upstream of the town we turn right and follow the signs first for the township of San Vittore, then to that of Allemandi.
At the entrance of the village, we turn right onto a grassy path that passes between the houses with a few rather challenging ramps. We continue straight thus arriving in a wonderful larch. We ignore the two forks to the right and arrive near the St. Michael hill. From here we take the GTA path northbound until we reach a crossroads.
We are at 2013 m above sea level and now we begin to climb down through hairpin bends. At km 14.3 we have a short climb and then suddenly a challenging and fun path that leads us to cross the Rio Maggiore. We reach the village of Chiosso; when we cross the paved road we take the left. The road leads us into the village of Elva, in the center there are two bends, then we head first to Mattalia and then to Isaia.
Here the asphalt ends and we find ourselves at a crossroads: turn right to reach Varua. Now the last and perhaps the most challenging ramp of the path awaits us; we arrive on the San Giovanni hill, next to the characteristic circular church. The next stop is the Bettone hill that we reach with a fascinating descent and a small climb up. We take the bend to the left and we reach the paved road again.
Then we take a very nice single trail, following the yellow-blue paint marks. We arrive to the village of S. Martino Superiore, turn left at the intersection and we take the right. We continue our descent and head right into the path for MTB that we follow through. We go right and after a bend to the left we take the so-called "Napoleon's street".
We urn right at km 27.5 and follow the path for a few kilometers. We turn right and get to the starting point
To rest and enjoy the peace of the mountains we suggest you to stay in the beautiful eco-village Sagna Rotonda, an ancient village that was recovered in an eco-friendly way.
Author: Chiara Marras
Cover image: Ponte Marmora, photo by robramone via Flickr