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The Path of Water

Cantarana railway station
Localita' sul percorso 
Cantarana, Bricco Grosso, San Nazario, Loc. Bonoma, Serramezzano, Bricco dell’Oca, Cantarana, Arboschio, Bricco Barrano, Serralunga, Arboschio, Cantarana.
approximately 18 km
tempo di percorrenza 
1 day
difficolta' del percorso 
easy, stretches equipped for persons with disabilities.

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The path offers discovering the territory of Cantarana, by means of its perhaps most distinctive element: water. The name Cantarana is probably of Celtic origin and makes reference to the existence of water courses. The water is still present abundantly in the hamlet of Bonoma, where there are headwater fields that are used to supply most of the drinking water consumed in the city of Asti. Tales of local tradition speak of carts that used to sink in the dusty land, which are fully reclaimed today, also owing to the lowering of the water layer, which used to be very superficial. The way of water is one way, but not the only way to perceive the local culture and traditions of the people, who worked in the construction of projects connected to the aqueducts, particularly since the end of the nineteenth century till the first part of the twentieth century. Documentations consisting of images, available at local municipal facilities, old tools, special parts, valves, instruments and, especially, wells dug from the late nineteenth century to the first part of the twentieth century, are an important, essential asset to understand the traditions and the evolution of this world. But this path is also rich in examples of everyday life and minor history. Votive piers and chapels are the most evident emergencies of that past. Before the birth of the historic center, the population lived mainly on ridges, in villages and along the roads that crossed the hills between San Damiano and Tigliole. The feeling of religiousness was very present and permeated the harsh life on the fields as well as moments of celebration that culminated in the rite of the guardian saint. The course is basically divided into two parts. The center is the village of Cantarana. The first part is easily accessible from the train station (Villafranca - Cantarana) as you go toward the seat of the Pro Loco (organization for the promotion of the territory) located in the center of Cantarana where major municipal services are available, in addition to a wide parking lot. The local Pro Loco is very active and organizes festivities and trekking activities during the year.

Leg 1: Cantarana (155 m) - Bricco Grosso (260 m) - San Nazario (200 m)
Length: 4 km

From the organization for the promotion of the territory of Cantarana, proceed in a northwesterly direction initially along Marrone Valley that creeps among the hills of Bricco Grosso and Villafranca. The road leads to the interception with the municipal road of Bricco Grosso, at a point where you can enjoy a beautiful view. Then it descends gently toward the above mentioned Bricco farms. Later, it reaches the church of San Nazario, which is worth visiting for some paintings and for the harmony of shapes. A variant to the circuit, which is also suitable for people with disabilities, owing to the fact that overall it is rather plain, pleasant and easy to walk, follows the valley of Valmaggiore stream and then reaches the headwater fields of hamlet of Bonoma. From here you return to the organization for the promotion of the territory of Cantarana using a route that passes near Cascine Campia and via del Martinetto, named after an old workshop, whose tilt-hammer was driven by water.

Leg 2: San Nazario (200 m) - hamlet of Bonoma (179 m) - Serramezzano (300 m)
Length: 4 km

From San Nazario you soon reach Villafranca - Ferrere county road and follow it for about 150 m. Now, continue towards the headwater fields of Bonoma that can be reached after crossing Valmaggiore Stream. The path goes around the large area, and allows you to see the infrastructure built. It is interesting to book a visit to the aqueducts. This will both make you gain awareness of the importance of water resources and see some of these historical artifacts, such as some reservoirs that are still present, and equipment that date back to the early twentieth century, when the construction of this aqueduct began. The aqueduct spans the way to the town of Asti from this area. The project was organized by Engineer Medici and exploited the difference in the altitude between the area of Bonoma and the city of Asti, the abundance of water and continuity of supply. An old washhouse is located little before the headwater fields of Bonoma. It was used by the local population back then. Now the path goes uphill heading south towards Serramezzana. It crosses woods that conserve a rich variety of native species, and here one can encounter the “garden of orchids”. It is not a cultivated garden, but a slight slope on which some species of wild orchids grow, which enjoy absolute protection under law, like all other species of orchids.


Leg 3: Serramezzana (155 m) – Bricco dell’Oca (235 m) - Cantarana (155 m)
Length: 2,5 km


This path is almost exclusively downhill and it will take you down to the village, walking on the ridge which is interesting owing to the presence of numerous votive piers along the way, the church of the Trinità and the glimpse into the village of Cantarana from the top of the Bricco dell’Oca.


Leg 4: Cantarana (155 m) – Arboschio (165 m) - Bricco Barrano (250 m) – Serralunga (160 m) - Cantarana (155 m)
Length: 7,3 km


From the village of Cantarana, where there is a fountain which people drew water for daily use by tradition, keep walking crossing the yard of the organization for the promotion of the territory, then on a stretch next to an old channel (Bealera), which was built in ancient times to power the Briolo mill, towards Serralunga, which is just a few hundred meters away. From here, the municipal road starts off after a short stretch of the county road, heading Bricco Barrano. You will encounter some interesting votive piers along the way. The Church of S.Pancrazio is located close to the road. It is a building of some interest, and now it is used as a sanctuary. At Bricco Barrano the old town center and the church of San Donato deserve some attention. Then you continue downhill on the road with little traffic, which takes you to the hamlet of Serralunga. Today the village has lost a lot of the historical features that made it famous for being the residence of a count: the Count of Serralunga. Traces of the original layout of the hamlet are still perceptible. The final stretch of the circuit is essentially flat and, initially, it runs along the base of the hill. Then it arrives at the hamlet of Arboschio and from there, you arrive at the center of Cantarana shortly.

Informazioni utili 
Hiking, MTB and horse trail
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