A sea of soft sloped hills covered with vineyards, dotted with hamlets, castles and characteristic stone houses
The itinerary winds through the Lower Monferrato of the Casale region and is one of the tours of the project “Camminare il Monferrato” (Walking the Monferrato) which brings together 40 discovery tours of this fascinating landscape.
Starting point is Vignale Monferrato, a small village on top of one of the higher hills, capital of the Barbera and the Grignolino, which already in its old name place Vinealis recalls the extraordinary wine-making tradition of the territory. Besides the wine the village is also famous for the International Dance Festival “Vignaledanza”, which animates the summer season with a rich calendar of exhibitions by classical and modern dance groups in shows as well as in workshops; Carla Fracci, Rudolf Nureyev and Alwin Nikolais are only a few of the artist we have seen on the stage in Vignale. The event takes place in the spectacular Piazza in the village centre, in front of the gardens which lead to Palazzo Callori, the impressive old residence of the masters of Vignale, which inside contains precious decorations and in its characteristic cellars dug out of the sandstone houses the Enoteca Regionale del Monferrato (Regional Wine shop).
During the trek indicated by the white and red CAI trail marker 732 we pass through a variety of suggestive sceneries, open and sunny spaces with beautiful views of the surrounding hills and villages, cultivated fields, vineyards, stretches of hilltops and humid forests, which allow us to discover one of the most peculiar oddities of the Monferrato of the Casale region: the typical constructions in the so-called “pietra da cantone”. The Pietra da Cantoni is a very fine marlstone of a warm yellow colour, which originated between 15 and 20 million years ago during the period called early Miocene; due to its qualities of compactness and workability it was often used for constructions and today we can still see buildings entirely realized with this material: the traditional square blocks.
We recommend a short stop to admire the enchanting landscape from the panoramic terrace before we undertake the walk along Via Besso and Via IV Novembre to the Piazza Mezzadra; from here we follow the direction of S. Lorenzo and, in Regione S. Carlo, we continue along the dirt road. During the descent the suggestive shapes of the village dominate the landscape and keep us company.
We enter Strada Pasco, pass the farmsteads Merli and Interzenga and reach the valley floor, where we continue parallel to the provincial road and the upward stretch to the Cascine Coste. We go past them and towards Cascina Boschetto and then on to Cascine S. Siro through a series of crossroads and detours.
A walk between vineyards takes us to S. Lorenzo and from there to the Cascina Pomera, where we turn towards the valley. The suggestive environment of the valley floor accompanies us on the last stretch, going back up to our starting point. We then repeat the first part of our walk and again reach Palazzo Callori in the centre of Vignale Monferrato.