Roa Marenca, an e-bike tour from Mondovì to the Sea
150 kilometres in three days. From the Piedmont Alps to the Ligurian Sea. If you have more than a day to spare, we invite you to pedal for three days on an e-MTB through Liguria and Piedmont. Along this itinerary, you’ll discover traditions, cultures, and local flavours. It’s October 8th, and I’m ready to hop on the e-MTB, which will be my faithful companion for these three days.
- Day 1 – From Prato Nevoso to Ormea.
I meet the group that will accompany me for these three days, nine other women like me, lovers of bike excursions, slow and sustainable tourism. We familiarize ourselves with the e-bikes assigned to us and set off for the first 50 kilometres of our tour from Prato Nevoso!
It’s my first time using an electric bike. First impression? WOW! It feels like I can reach all my goals, and, most importantly, we dispel a myth. Even with an e-MTB, you use a lot of energy!
And just when I feel the need for a break, we find ourselves in Val Corsaglia, welcomed by the scents of a typical local bakery with its freshly baked products. After 15 minutes, we’re ready to continue. Between steep ascents and descents, I take a moment to admire the beautiful landscapes of the Piedmont valleys, which are slowly taking on their typical autumn colours. After taking some pictures to remember this adventure, we reach the Località Bertola farm with its animals, an ideal place for a family outing.
We recharge a bit, just like our e-MTBs, and the last bike kilometres of the day await us. We take a tour of the Pra di Roburent area, have a final tasting of the delicious Beppino Occelli cheeses in the Borgo of Valcasotto, the cheese village. For today, we put our bikes aside. We save our last energy to visit the Royal Castle of Casotto, an architecturally splendid structure, impossible not to make a stop here at sunset. After the guided tour, we cover the last kilometres, this time by transfer, to reach the heart-shaped village of Ormea, where we spend the first night.
- Day 2 – From Ormea to Castelbianco. Let’s ride! From Piedmont to Liguria.
Shower, breakfast, backpacks, and we are ready to hit the road on our e-MTBs! We start with a nice ride along a cycle and pedestrian path that connects Ormea to Garessio. We take the road leading to the Colle di San Bartolomeo, and it’s incredible to think that in centuries past, this same ancient route was used by merchants to reach the nearby Liguria! Pedal stroke after pedal stroke, we notice the vegetation slowly changing, making way for scenic viewpoints that, on clear days, allow us to see the coastline and the Ligurian Sea. Fortunately, the weather is on our side, and we can even make out the profiles of the Savona municipalities that await us at our destination.
During this “scenic break,” I immediately notice the signs for the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri. That’s the path we are about to intersect, and we have lunch in the company of dishes prepared with exquisite locally sourced ingredients at Rifugio Pian dell’Arma in Caprauna (CN), a reference point for Alta Via hikers. We warm up with the sun and some fantastic roasted chestnuts before heading into the last kilometres in Piedmont. In the afternoon, we continue our journey towards the Sanctuary of Madonna del Lago and the town of Alto, where we meet the locals who welcome us with stories related to the nearby Tanaro and Pennavaire Valleys.
For today, the e-MTB route ends here, but we continue our tour in the first two Ligurian municipalities: we explore the medieval villages of Zuccarello and Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena to discover the artistic and cultural treasures that Liguria holds. Now it’s time for dinner: we head to Ristorante Albergo da Gin in Castelbianco. A burst of flavours welcomes us, from chocolate tagliolini to a delicate beef carpaccio. It’s hard to describe the excitement my taste buds felt! We recharge our strength and the e-MTB batteries for the final day.
- Day 3 – From Bardineto to Finalborgo. Last ascents, last descents, and we pedal towards the sea.
We wake up in the heart of the Val Pennavaire. After a fantastic breakfast, we head into the woods of Bardineto to start cycling through the Savona hinterland. The first goal of the day: Colle dello Scravaion. Along dirt and asphalt roads, we reach the town of Bardineto, surrounded by chestnut groves that gradually give way to immense beech forests.
A light lunch at Ristorante MariaNella, where we taste typical local products: vegetable and pumpkin pies, cold cuts, and cheeses. After this traditional meal, we are ready to tackle Colle del Melogno. The colours of this forest leave me speechless: I find myself in the Barbottina Nature Reserve, where the main natural feature is the towering centuries-old beech trees that reach over 50 meters in height. The fallen leaves in the forest give the impression of running on a red carpet, and I can assure you they are incredibly soft! Remember to always pay close attention to the road if you don’t want to end up like me, slipping through the leaves. The only positive aspect is that I got to see the beech trees from a different perspective.
Arriving at the Forts of Melogno, there are only a few kilometres left to our final destination. We pass through the towns of Rialto and Calice Ligure: a break with the famous ice creams from Gelateria Pastorino, and then we continue on to Finalborgo. We descend along the dirt road that passes near Castel Govone and joins the famous Beretta Road: a road that, in centuries past, extended from Finale Ligure all the way to Austria (hence the name “Via dell’Imperatrice”).
My journey ends here, welcomed by the Ligurian Agri-Food Salon featuring typical Ligurian products, and a question echoing in my head: when’s the next e-bike tour?