Across hills and through vineyards: exploring the Barolo castles
This circular route starts from the historical centre of Monforte, then winds around the area’s vineyards and hazel groves to pass through the villages of Serralunga d’Alba and Castiglione Falletto. Leave your car in Monforte’s central square and take one of the little narrow lanes that wind through the village’s historical centre, or ‘Saracca’ up to the top of the village. Here, you will find yourself close to the castle and Horzowsky amphitheatre, where in the summer a jazz festival is held, and from where you can admire a splendid view over the Alps. Now continue through the Ginestra hamlet with its celebrated Barolo crus, and down towards the valley and the village of Serralunga d’Alba. Once you have crossed the Talloria stream, you begin a very scenic part of the route through Serralunga’s world renowned vineyards and past the Collaretto hamlet, until you come to the edge of the medieval village itself.
After a visit to the Serralunga’s historical centre with its medieval jewel, the marvellously austere and virtually intact castle - and the local wine store, ‘Bottega del Vino’! -you can start off again in the direction of Castiglione Falletto, across the I Vei hamlet, until you get down to the valley floor. Keep to the right for around a kilometre along the (fairly quiet) road, until the left turn to Castiglione Falletto. This road will take you up a steep hill covered in the vines of the Villero cru. Don’t forget to visit Castiglione’s attractive historical centre and its own wine shop (another ‘Bottega del Vino’). The road out of the village is beautifully scenic, passing along the crest of the rocky hill with superb views over vineyards and hills.
When you come to the Bussia Soprana hamlet, turn left onto an un-metalled road which will take you through vineyards and woods until you get to a stream and a little natural fountain. This is the start of a flat stretch of terrain until you arrive at the last, steepish part which takes you up to the originally Romanesque cemetery chapel of Santo Stefano. After a short pause for breath, you start out again towards Perno, with its castle. As you are nearing the centre, turn right onto the main road and then immediately left onto another partially metalled road which will take you up again to a hill top which then joins up with the high part of the village of Monforte, the first village of the route.
If you now retrace your steps down to the lower part of the village, you come to the square where you left your car. Don’t forget to take advantage of the wonderful choice of restaurants and inns that the village offers for a well-deserved repast, or a stroll around the shops to choose some local delicacies to take home with you.