Alps2Riviera Randonnée

The Alps2Riviera Randonnée stretches for about 600 km from the Biellese Alps to the Ligurian Sea.

From the Alps opposite Mount Rose to the seaside along the Liguria Riviera, come and discover Piedmont and Liguria: the variety of their landscapes, food and wine, the stories of cycling Champions and legendary races (Pantani, Coppi, MilanoSanremo…), the culture, and experience the contact with locals.

A 6 stages bike experience to be enjoyed with your friends, family, fellow bikers… Or come alone and meet new friends along the route!

Discover the mountain roads marked by the mythical exploits of the “Pirate” (Pantani), in Northern Piedmont, the “squared sea” of the rice fields in the Vercelli and Novara provinces, the hills of Monferrato, where Fausto Coppi was born and trained, Langhe, the great Barolo and Barbaresco red wines and the white truffle of Alba, the Cuneo area and Tanaro valley, the fortifications of the Nava pass. Enjoy the final descent to the Liguria Sea and relax in front of the sea!

Each stage: a new landscape, a new challenge, a new experience, every day!

Stage 1

The first stage of the Alps2Riviera Randonnée takes place along the Biella area, between Bielmonte and Sandigliano.

Bielmonte (Oasi Zegna) – Sandigliano (BI)
Km 82,00
Height difference: +1250 m – 2410 m

We start! From Bielmonte in Oasi Zegna, Alps2Riviera starts from the main square, with a magnificent view of the plains and the hills of Monferrato in the background, hills that we will then cross in the next stages. The first part is downhill (14 km) towards Valle Cervo and the village of Rosazza, the most mysterious village in Biella, full of architectural symbols, linked to fascinating mysteries.

The road from here climbs up the opposite side of the valley passing through the first of the various sanctuary that we will meet, the Sanctuary of San Giovanni. Hard climb (7.8 km – D + 655 m average gradient 7.8%), but it is repaid, after passing through a small tunnel, by the top view of the Sanctuary of Oropa, the largest Marian Sanctuary on the Alps.

After a stop for a coffee or a hot chocolate, we continue on the road called “Il Tracciolino”, with a constant, grandiose view of the plain at your feet. In a mountain and wild environment, we will then arrive in La Bossola and continue straight until a fork on the left that will take us downhill to Netro, reaching another magnificent scenic road that, passing through pretty villages, will take us to Graglia, Muzzano and then downhill towards Biella.

But before arriving in the city, we will leave the state road to go up, on the left, towards Sordevolo, where, every 5 years, a famous representation of the Passion of Christ takes place, and then Pollone. Crossing this pretty village, we will reach the entrance to the Burcina Natural Park. Crossing the hills of Biella we will arrive in Biella, passing through the medieval streets and the historic buildings of the Piazzo, the oldest part of the city. The stage will end in Sandigliano for a well-deserved rest at a hotel in the area.

Stage 2

The second stage of the Alps2Riviera Randonnée takes place from Sandigliano to Casale Monferrato.

Sandigliano (BI) – Casale Monferrato (AL)

Km 110,00

Height difference: +680 m – 880 m

Leaving the mountains of Biella, the first 30 km of the second stage will cross the hills south of Biella for an easy and enjoyable route crossing Borriana, Mongrando and at km 8, turning left Vermogno, home of the local associations of gold panners and headquarters of two World Gold Research Championships.

We are next to the Natural Park of Bessa, an ancient open-cast mine during Roman times. Then we approach Salussola and then leave it, turning right, for Frazione Prelle. The road, totally free from traffic, crosses the Serra, the longest moraine hill in Europe and reaches Zimone, at the top of the Serra, from where you will enjoy a magnificent view of Lake Viverone at your feet.

We descend towards the lake, we pass near the Castle of Roppolo and, from this point, the stage becomes totally flat up to our destination. We then cross the Biella plain up to Cavaglià and, crossing the A4 motorway, you will reach Santhià, San Germano Canavese, arriving in Vercelli, along with a part of the Francigena cycle path. We are going through what is named “The squared sea”, because of the numerous rice fields that, filled with water, transform the territory into so many squared paintings, clearly visible from an aeroplane and home of many bird species.

We enter Vercelli (72 km) and we continue our stage through the agricultural villages of Prarolo (Castello), Pezzana, Caresana (Sanctuary of the Madonna del Morone), Motta de ‘Conti (ruins of the fortified palace) and Terranova. Flowing the Po and Orba River Park, we will arrive at Casale for check-in and overnight in a hotel in the area.

Stage 3

Casale Monferrato (AL) – Serravalle Scrivia (AL)

Km 137,00
Height Difference: +994 m – 868 m

It is the longest stage of Alps2Riviera, but perhaps the most full of emotions and memories for cycling fans: the arrival in Castellania, the birthplace of the Great Airone, the great, unforgettable champion of Italian and world cycling Fausto Coppi!

We leave Casale and cross the villages of Pomaro Monferrato (12th-century castle), Castello di Sannazzaro, Giarole. The route begins to climb towards San Salvatore Monferrato, where we can climb up to the historic tower. From here a pleasant descent brings us back to the plains to get to Alessandria. To visit the Citadella, one of the greatest examples of military architecture of the eighteenth century, one of the few still existing and best preserved in Europe.

Leaving from Alessandria, passed by Marengo (battle between Napoleon and the Austrian army) and Castelceriolo, you walk 4 km alongside the embankment up to Piovera, characterized by a massive fortress.
Between Alluvioni Cambiò and Sale we ride the beautiful tree-lined cycle path. After passing Castelnuovo Scrivia (castle dominated by a crenellated tower 39 meters high), the route winds along country roads to Viguzzolo and then to Tortona.

We cross the centre of Tortona and Villaromagnano along the cycle path to Costa Vescovato, enjoying the beautiful landscape without worrying about the traffic.
From here begins the signs that will lead us to Castellania, the birthplace of Fausto and Serse Coppi. A visit to his house is worthwhile, whose rooms have been turned into a museum dedicated to the Great Heron. We then go down towards Novi Ligure. In Novi the Museo dei Campionissimi awaits us for a very interesting visit to the history of Italian heroic cycling in Coppo, Bartali, Girardengo. Then we reach Serravalle Scrivia for dinner and overnight stay.

Stage 4

Serravalle Scrivia (AL) – Alba (CN)

Km 122,00
Height difference: +2080 m – 2140 m

Shorter stage of the previous one, with a higher level difference, but with hilarious ups and downs, with steep but short climbs. Departure from Serravalle Scrivia to reach Gavi, famous for its namesake white wine, its Castle, the amaretti, the ravioli (they are said to have been invented right here).

Let’s enjoy the flat path up to Capriata d’Orba, which preserves some remains of the X-XII century fortifications. Following uphill the course of the Orba river, you arrive shortly at the foot of the Rocca Grimalda. A very short but steep climb leads us to his Castle. A downhill road then leads us to the gates of Ovada, from where the panoramic Strada Costa, from the locality of Santo Stefano, leads us gently uphill and then down to Carpeneto, also with its Castle (not open to visitors).

The route continues towards Trisobbio, one of the oldest villages of Monferrato, where the castle is worth a visit. After a few slightly undulating kilometres, we climb towards the small village of Morsasco, dominated by the Castle which can be reached via a narrow alley.
After about 11 km we reach Acqui Terme (its Thermal Baths, Villa Ottolenghi, the Paleologi Castle, and the remains of the Roman Aqueduct).

The 17 km ups and downs that separate us from Nizza Monferrato, the capital of Barbera wine, will make us cross the winegrowing landscapes of Langhe, Monferrato and Roero decreed by UNESCO, in 2014, a World Heritage Site. So here we are approaching, passing from Castagnole delle Lanze, first to Neive and its fascinating network of buildings and streets, then to Barbaresco, places of production of Barbaresco, the great red wine of Piedmont. And then we will reach Alba, the capital of the Langhe, famous all over the world for the Barolo and for the renowned white truffles. A well-earned rest awaits us in one of its hotels.

Stage 5

Alba (CN) – Ormea (CN)

Km 97,00
Height difference: +1564 m – 990 m

We now enter the vineyards as far as the eye can see, where the greatest Italian red wines are born, castles, villages and towers perched on the hills, cities rich in history and art, next to villages of few houses. We leave the historic centre of Alba, with a medieval layout and circular shape (it is nice to walk among the picturesque towers and strongholds and then come across the great churches, the Duomo and especially San Domenico, one of the most beautiful Romanesque-Gothic monuments in Northern Italy).

First on the flat then slightly uphill, we arrive after 11.5 km at Castigliole Falletto and its Castle. We are following the Tanaro river that will accompany us to the finish line. A few miles, first downhill and then slightly uphill, separate us from Barolo and WIMU, the Wine Museum in the Barolo Castle, to give you an experience halfway between culture and wine tourism. Then jump to Monforte, in an enchanting position, with the houses of the old part all leaning on the slopes of a steep hill.

The descent to Dogliani, which gives its name to the DOCG of Dolcetto wine, about 7.5 km, will make you recover for the next climb (about 12 km, but only steeper up to Lovera) to get to Murazzano that, in addition to giving the name of the great PDO cheese, preserves one of the most interesting historical centers (remains of the only windmill of the Langhe).

We are in the Alta Langa, with its wooded nature, hazel groves and cheeses whose variety is truly able to satisfy every taste. From Murazzano we will arrive in pleasant descent to the ancient medieval village of Ceva, with the characteristic porticoed streets of the historical centre. The last 38 km in light, constant ascent will lead us to first cross Priola, then Garessio and finally arrive at Ormea, the final destination of the day.

Stage 6

Ormea (CN) – Sanremo (IM)

Km 78,5
Height difference: +1225 m – 1966 m

Last stage with the final dive to the sea! From Ormea, a village with a curious heart-shaped perimeter, still following the Tanaro valley, the road climbs steadily for about 10 km passing through Nava and arriving at Colle di Nava, a passageway between Piedmont and Liguria on the Maritime Alps. The Colle di Nava is home to 5 forts that in the past have played a fundamental role in Italian history. We will pass by the Central Fort, the largest and most preserved, in excellent condition and open to visitors. After having sloped and entered the Liguria Region, we expect a long descent (11 km) to get to Pieve di Teco.

At the centre of the Valle Arroscia, the town offers visitors a historic centre with magnificent medieval porticoes and here we can stop to refresh ourselves before the last effort of our Alps2Riviera, the climb that will take us to San Bernardo di Conio. After passing Pieve di Teco, a short stretch of Strada Statale 28 will take us to leave the Statale on the right to start our last climb: 18.3 km with an average gradient of 5%.

Fatigue and sweat will be rewarded by the almost 27 km long descent through the Ligurian Alps, which will take us effortlessly and with maximum fun to the sea! Through the villages of Carpasio (Lavender Museum) and Montalto Ligure (historical centre, very clean and gracious, a labyrinth of narrow streets with an ancient taste).

Finally, we will feel the sea air and the sea of ‚Äč‚ÄčArma di Taggia finally shows itself. 12.5 km separate us from Sanremo, in the centre of the Riviera dei Fiori, our final destination. We ride on the new cycle path next to the sea, obtained from the old railway line. Arrival in Sanremo and end of the adventure on the roads of the Alps2Riviera!