Visone – Grognardo – Morbello – Cassinelle – Cremolino – Prasco – Morsasco – Orsara Bormida – Strevi
The itinerary takes place in a rural landscape and then continues among wooded hills with breath-taking views overlooking the Ligurian Apennine mountains and the Ovadese territory to return back to Acqui T.
among vineyards and castles.
You may begin your tour from the Bagni area (located the other side of the river Bormida 1 km from the city centre), and follow the S.S. Ovada-Genova, where shortly afterwards you’ll reach the village of VISONE (161 metres a.s.l.) an ancient feudal village, with the first news dating from the 10th century. From the main lane follow via Castello, where at the end are the ruins of the castle and the old defensive walls dating from the 11th century, where the fine tower comes into sight. Return along the main lane where at the end lies Casa Rossi with a frescoed loggia. Shortly afterwards on the right is the cemetery where the remains of a Romanesque apse belonging to a Church dedicated to San Pietro is located (11th century). Nearby in the surrounding area are various quarries for limestone mining. Typical is the production of torrone/nougat. Patron saints are SS. Pietro and Paolo (29th June). Festival of the « Busie » takes place on the last Sunday of May.
From Visone the itinerary continues towards Morbello (see indications from the village centre) along the valley of the Visone stream; you’ll reach the village of GROGNARDO (200 metres a.s.l.) surrounded by vast woodland areas still completely intact. In the village a 16th century residential building is preserved once property of the Beccaria-Incisa of Grognardo family. On the hill to the south lie the ruins of the castle. Patron saint is Saint Andrea (30th November).
Continue to MORBELLO (402 metres a.s.l.) in a territory that is entirely mountainous and hilly. The village is made up of various localities: Piazza, Vallosi and Costa. Not far away from the village are the ruins of the Pallavicino Castle with its square tower, whereas in Costa locality are spectacular natural caves with stalactites and stalagmites (not open to the public). Patron saints are San Sisto and San Rocco (12th August). The chestnut festival takes place on the 3rd Sunday of October. Typical is the production of amaretti.
The road continues uphill and downhill among pleasant scenery that leads to CASSINELLE (387 metres a.s.l.) between the Arnione and Caramagna valleys, with a beautiful view extending across the Orba valley and all the Ovadese landscape. The parish church of S. Defendente and N.S. of Loreto of 17th century origins preserve a wood carving by Ceretti (1460). Patron saint is Santa Margherita celebrated on the first Sunday in August.
From Cassinelle descending into the Orba valley you’ll arrive in Molare (226 metres a.s.l.) renowned for its traditional polentone feast originating from 1730. The village preserves the Palazzo of the Counts Tornielli built in 1834, where previously the castle was situated. In the cemetery you can visit the 13th century Church of S. Maria of Campale with a rectangular shape apse and fragments of frescoes. At 3 km is the Sanctuary of Madonna delle Rocche, an 18th century construction, that owes its existence to an apparition of Our Lady that took place in the 16th century. From here you can continue to lake Ortiglieto (9 Km) a striking basin of the Orba stream, surrounded by a spectacular unspoilt forested landscape.
Return to Molare and follow the road direction Cremolino, and shortly before arriving in the village on the left hand-side a road branches off that leads up to the Sanctuary of the Bruceta, a Romanesque construction that dates back to the 12th century, located in a delightful panoramic position, once entitled to N. S. of the Grazie and later to the “Bruceta”, named after the location that was burned down by the Saracens around the year 900. From here continue towards CREMOLINO (405 metres a.s.l.) a village of medieval origins, that preserves in the highest part the imposing castle built by Tommaso Malaspina at the beginning of the 16th century, retracing the original plans of the 14th century castle, protected by angular towers of which one still stands in a polygonal shape. The castle was presumably the power of a fortified village, in fact still today the only access is by following a spiral road on which various fine medieval houses are found. The village was protected by defensive walls and still preserves a medieval door with traces of battlements and a noble coat of arms. The patron saint is the Madonna del Carmine and the feast takes place on the 16th July. Typical is the production of Dolcetto di Ovada wine.
The itinerary continues towards Prasco, and from “Prasco stazione” on the main road turn left towards the highest part of the village, until you reach the cemetery that preserves the 12th century Romanesque Church of San Nazario and S. Maurizio, and afterwards you’ll arrive in PRASCO (245 mt. a.s.l.) with its 16th century Castle, already documented in 1192, feudatory were the Malaspina, De Regibus, Spinola and Piuma, the latter are still the current owners-Gallesio-Piuma. The patron saint festival is on the 8th September. Typical is the production of Dolcetto wine.
Return to Prasco Station, and follow the indications towards Acqui T. After the railway crossing continue straight on until you see the sign for Morsasco; turn right for MORSASCO (328 mt. a.s.l.) – the village is dominated by the Pallavicino Castle, already of the Malaspina, built during the medieval period then modified during the 17th and 18th centuries and again in 1916 and 1920. Some older parts are still visible like the entrance tower, originally equipped with a drawbridge. You may visit the castle during Castelli Aperti. Near the cemetery is the Romanesque Church of San Vito with 14th century frescoes of which S. Vito and other saints and our Lady with a baby, recently restored. The patron saint San Bartolomeo is on the 24th August.
From here, continue to Orsara Bormida, with its imposing castle, originally a watch tower constructed around the year 1000, later transformed into a castle in the 14th century. Its grandness is intensified by the wealth of various artistic elements: period paintings and sculptures. Not far away you may visit the oratory/peasant’s museum and the parish church of San Martino with 17th century frescoes and paintings by Ivaldi and Monevi.
Return back to Acqui Terme passing through Strevi, the heart of production of Moscato and Brachetto d’Acqui vines. To visit is the 14th century castle (today seat of the Council) surrounded by 15th century defensive walls and a moat along with elegant noble 14th and 15th century buildings.
The parish church of San Michele has been restored and enriched by the Architect Caselli and by the painter Ivaldi of Ponzone known as “il Muto/the Mute”. Inside you may admire a wonderful reproduction of the Archangel San Michele by Guido Reni.
Return back to Acqui (2km)
back to Acqui (2km)