Acqui Terme – Alice Bel Colle – Ricaldone – Cassine – Rivalta Bormida – Castelnuovo Bormida – Sezzadio – Strevi – Acqui ( distanza indicativa 50 km circa)
RICALDONE, first mentioned in a document dating from 1137, where it was described as being surrounded by uncultivated lands, grassy meadows, woodlands and vineyards. To visit is the Church of SS. Simone & Guida which dates back to mid 16th century and preserves valuable paintings and frescoes, and the chapels of the Madonna del Rosario and San Giuseppe. In 1995 the Luigi Tenco Cultural Association was founded (the songwriter’s buried in the village cemetery).
From Ricaldone follow a small road n°. 235 that travels through the heart of the vineyards until you arrive in CASSINE which preserves one of the most well preserved medieval villages in the entire Acquese area. An atmosphere from another time is felt, among splendid buildings, ancient churches, numerous medieval and 15th century houses with facades in terracotta, where the precious Church of San Francesco emerges – one of the few significant examples of Gothic Lombard Architecture in Piedmont with Cistercian derivations. Palazzo Zoppi a fine 14th century building, already of the Visconti, with its court of honour characterised by lower Gothic arches. Also of importance is the Romanesque Church of S. Giacomo, with a 15th century bell tower. Not to be missed is the Medieval Festival which takes place on the 1st weekend in September.
The itinerary continues along the plains before arriving at Sezzadio, a large village that preserves the splendid convent complex of Santa Giustina, made up of Abbey, villa and other buildings situated 2 km from the village (sign “Baida”). The Abbey was founded around 722 by the King of the Longobardi, Liutprando. In 1033 it was expanded by the Marquis of Sezzadio, and reached its peak between the 12th and 13th centuries, remaining possession of the Benedictines until 1474. The legend narrates that Aleramo was born here, founder of the Alto Monferrato territory. Also to visit is the parish church of Maria Immacolata, considered to be one of the best works by Giuseppe Gualandi.
From here continue towards CASTELNUOVO BORMIDA, an agricultural village that extends along the banks of the Bormida river, characterized by the impressive Castle complex (private, external visit) founded towards the end of 10th century beginning 11th. Also to visit is the 16th century Church of the Madonna del Rosario and the Church of San Rocco. Each year, a vast number of feasts are organized such as: in May the “Festival of the Tagliatelle” and in July the impressive “Chess in Costume”.
Afterwards, continue for RIVALTA BORMIDA, situated in the lower valley, on the right hand side of the Bormida river, formed by a built-up area that developed upon a river terrace, and by several hamlets situated on the hillsides. To visit is the well preserved historic centre with Palazzo dei Torri, the House of Biorci, the Houses of Vicolo Baretti, the Parish church of San Michele and the Oratory of San Sebastiano.
From RIVALTA continue across the lands of the Moscato vines, towards STREVI, which is divided into two parts: one located on the plains and the other on the hillside. In the highest part the old walls, two towers and a medieval bridge are still preserved. The Castle is located here from the 1300s (now the town hall) and the baroque style Parish with a Romanesque bell-tower. In the lower part is a 16th century villa and the Bishop of Acqui’s residence dating from the 1700s.
To highlight is the production of confectionery such as torrone (nougat) and amaretti.
From here you may return to Acqui Terme (2km ).