Suitable for: children aged 6 or above
Not suited to strollers (younger kids should be carried in a backpack)
Elevation gain: +180 metres overall
Distance: 8,5 km overall
Estimated time: 3 hours overall
Route type: loop on asphalt, dirt road and grassy tracks
Starting altitude: 175 metres
Minimum altitude: 155 metres
Maximum altitude: 265 metres
When: in spring, autum, low-snow winter
A very relaxing loop route through vineyards and rolling hills featuring magnificent views of the entire Monferrato Astigiano area.
You start your walk in Piazza Rossino, north of the town centre and behind the parish church dedicated to Saints Cosmas and Damian. Right next to the church you turn onto Corso Roma which takes you to the old town centre, marked by a beautiful pavement. If you turn around you can see the parish church and its eye-catching decorated façade. It is located where, in ancient times, there was the chapel around which the fortress of San Damiano was built. Right next to it there is a second church, the Confraternita della Santissima Annunziata (Confraternity of the Most Holy Annunciation) dating back to the XVI century. The bell tower, a circular tower whose base is the only remain of the 14th century castle, is even more peculiar.
You walk along Corso Roma, surrounded by porticoes and cobblestones, and you cannot help but notice the layout of the side streets which are perfectly perpendicular and still cobbled to underline the ancient layout of the centre, exactly as it appears on the maps of the 18th century. You cross Piazza della Libertà, which overlooks the Town Hall and where there is a refreshing ground-level fountain as well as the Enoteca Colline Alfieri dell'Astigiano and you continue to walk until you reach Piazza Camisola, at the end of the old town.
You turn left and walk at the centre of the raised tree-lined avenue, a remain of the ancient ramparts, then go down a staircase to Piazza 1275 where you will find to the left the Foro Boario (multifunctional site). The route continues straight ahead, across the car park in Piazza Papa Giovanni XXIII, to turn right onto Via Borbone which, slightly downhill, will take you out of the town centre. Please ignore all the junctions up to the one indicated by the "frazione San Luigi" sign which takes you to the left on a flat asphalt road running through the fields. A bridge will take you across the Rio Borbore and straight onto the asphalt road. When you reach the first crossroads you keep to the right while at the second crossroads, marked by a row of vines supported by giant crayons, you go to the left as you start to climb.
The landscape until now has been mainly characterised by maize and hazelnuts, now the rows of vines are getting closer and closer. By moving uphill, you reach the hamlet of San Luigi and the superb panorama that can be enjoyed from the square in front of the church with the homonymous name which overlooks the hills towards Govone and San Martino Alfieri.
You leave the church behind you and continue on the asphalt road that unwinds along the hilly ridge and then becomes a dirt road pleasantly running across the vineyards. After a bend to the left you leave the dirt road and continue to the right along the track that runs alongside a vineyard, continuing gradually and offering magnificent views of the rows of vines. Should you have any doubts you can go straight on along the dirt road now slightly downhill and turn right just ahead of some houses on a slightly uphill dirt road. Both routes will reconnect later on.
Now take the slightly uphill dirt road ("Corricollina" wooden sign). When you overlook the opposite view turn right onto the dirt road that is often bordered by hazelnut trees and which takes you to the ridge of the hill in front of the one you have previously crossed.
At the first junction you keep to the right while at the second one you turn left, always following the most visible dirt road that runs along the ridge and begins to descend crossing a thicker vegetation of hazelnut trees, woodland and uncultivated land. Once you are among the vineyards again you have to pay attention to the track that turns sharply to the right and goes steeply downhill, with a fast elevation loss, and take you to a dirt road at the bottom of the valley.
Turn left and proceed gradually along a more rural environment filled with poplars until you reach the bridge you have already crossed on your way up. From here you can walk back on the same road.
This hiking tour is also suitable for sporty-type prams, however it should be avoided after heavy rainfall because of mud. There are two bizarre metal "giant chairs" near the cemetery.
Several fairs are scheduled in San Damiano and you can taste the Sandamianesi (sweet pastries made with a hazelnut wafer wrapped around some cream, chocolate and hazelnuts) at "La Barbera incontra", the Regional Truffle Fair or La Fiera Storica del Cappone Nostrano.
Le informazioni contenute non impegnano la responsabilità di autori, verificatori ed editori del percorso a causa delle possibili variazioni dello stato di percorribilità degli itinerari proposti.