3 - 4
FATMAP difficulty grade
From the Villaromagnano swimming pool car park (1) take the asphalt road that goes up the Ossona Valley, turning right towards Carbonara Scrivia after about 500 m and then left after just over 200 m, following an easy dirt road on level ground.
Continue along a stream to the left, until you cross it and continue on the dirt road that runs through the fields, until you come to a wider dirt road that you take to the left.
After about 200 metres we arrive at the hamlet of Rampina (2) of Villaromagnano, which also gives its name to the climb that leads to the village of Montale Celli (this section also characterises the cyclostoric LaMitica).
It is a beautiful white road that runs along the ridge, between Valle Scrivia and Valle Ossona, surrounded by orchards and vineyards. Just before entering Montale (about 5 km from the start) we turn onto a steep dirt ramp and at its end turn left, continuing flat on the asphalt that leads us just below the farm Valli Unite (3).
We go around it taking the dirt road that comes off to the right near the last bend on the left. The bucolic environment allows us to admire the gentle slopes of the Tortona Hills, with a particularly satisfying setting in spring, when the peach and almond trees bloom, or in autumn during the harvest. We quickly cross the asphalt in Buffalora, just after Costa Vescovato (6.5 km from the start).
We follow it for just under 100 m, taking the dirt road that climbs to the left and that allows us to get around the town of Castellania - the birthplace of Fausto and Serse Coppi - from the north, skirting the cemetery and the village of San Biagio.
We come out on the asphalt road that leads to Sant'Alosio, we leave it immediately, following the white and red signs, arriving near the last inhabited centre of the Ossona Valley, where the asphalted road also ends. The passage under the ancient towers (4) is particularly suggestive, at least until we get onto the dirt road that leads from Sant'Alosio to the crossroads with the municipal road that goes down from San Vito to Garbagna in Val Grue.
Here, in fact, we pass under the radio/tv repeaters, which stain an otherwise unique and fascinating territory, as it is marked by the steep slopes of the gullies. We run along the coast, crossing a landslide area on a narrow track, bypassing the highest hill in the area, Monte San Vito.
Ignored the left turn downhill that leads to Sarizzola, and having continued uphill for a hundred meters along a vertical wall on the left, we turn right on a path that enters the woods just after a short stretch in the meadow, when the main turns left dry. Go down for a few dozen metres and then climb up, again on a sandy surface, with the gradient progressively increasing.
After a dry hairpin bend to the right, where the outcropping rocks appear, the last ramp leading to the previously abandoned main road awaits us.
We are near the Colletto di San Vito (5), a few meters to our right.
We turn left buckets in a slight descent, after a hundred meters we take the deviation not very evident on the right, which rises steeply and then immediately flatten.
We practically turn around, turning decisively to the right, when we arrive at the crossroads. We continue to climb with a high slope, until we are supported by our breath and our legs.
With a very last stretch of push we connect to the mule track that crosses the northern slopes of Monte San Vito, taking it left uphill.
You pedal easily for a hundred meters, then you climb decisively in the woods on a narrow path from the bottom that returns to compact soil with outcropping roots: it is still a challenge to be able to stay in the saddle! The intersection of the CAI 124 and the 139 path, which from Avolasca goes up to Monte Gropà, connecting the Alta Val Grue with the Val Curone, is just a short distance away.
At the grassy clearing we recover, and we climb to the right still with high slopes but more human.
When we get to the collar, we descend quickly and, always following the main road, we go straight on. Just after a narrow passage between the rocky plates, we leave our cycling ambitions and proceed to push for the summit of Mount San Vito (6), from which on days with clear skies you can admire a 360 ° view of the Tortona Hills, surrounded by the Apennines to the south, with the Po Valley to the north, framed by the Alps. We descend along the same path we took on the way to a grassy clearing where we follow the signs CAI 139 on the left: it is the mule track that goes around the south-western slopes of Mount San Vito.
After a last steep stretch with a hollowed out bottom, we return to the main dirt road, which goes around the hill first to the west and then to the south, in a clockwise direction. Follow it to the left, quickly reaching the asphalt near the village of San Vito.
We quickly take altitude with three hairpin bends, then the road flattens out next to the cucuzzolo of Monte Piasi, with its characteristic vertical wall.
On the right you can see the path to be taken uphill.
You enter the grove and leave it when the path flattens out, now you have to turn right, on a fast downhill track that comes out again in the open after a stretch between the trees.
Continue on the dirt road to the right, immersed in the gullies.
When we peel through the meadows, we ignore the very steep path that goes straight on and the dirt road on the flat left, following the main road that goes right.
We return to the woods and in a short time we find another steep ramp on a sandy bottom with outcropping rocks that leads us to the northern slopes of Monte Provinera.
It is only a short distance to the beginning of the descent, the so-called DH of Bavantore, a dive of just over a kilometre that starts with rocky cliffs on a sandy bottom, and continues fast and challenging until its end, where it unfortunately turns into a concrete ramp lined with vertical walls of the gullies.
Bavantore (7) is just around the corner, and we arrive on a comfortable white road. Now take the asphalt road that climbs to Sant'Agata Fossili.
After Sant'Agata (8) we descend towards Cassano Spinola, following the asphalt for about a kilometre, until we take a dirt road on the right.
This is the prelude to the descent of the Polveriera (9), about 4 km of dirt road and path that descends to the bottom of the valley with a course of ups and downs. Once at Cascinotto Rogoron (10), we just have to cut through the cultivated fields, with a long and enjoyable stretch on white roads alternating with short digressions on asphalt, passing through Cascina Galla (11) and Cascina del Convento (12).
We pass through some of the main villages of the Tortona Hills, such as Carezzano Superiore, Paderna, Spineto Scrivia and Castellar Ponzano (13), until we finally resume the asphalt road at Cascina Gatti (14) near Carbonara Scrivia (15).
From here we descend towards Villaromagnano (16), with the last 2 km separating us from the end of the itinerary. Variants - There are numerous options to make the San Vito ring more enjoyable, all around its peak.
Here you will find the most useful one if you don't want to cover the same stretches several times.
Basically, when you arrive near the Colletto di San Vito (5), you turn right and then take the next fork on the right, leaving the so-called totem on the left (a rocky spoon): the descent is relatively wide, but very fun, with its rocky outcrops and rocks moved on a sandy bottom.
Always follow the main one, which towards the end sees the bottom transformed into compact soil, before a final ramp that leads us outdoors, where the gullies return in all their glory.
Here we turn left and climb up a dirt road with an average technical surface - rocks excavated by atmospheric agents - until we reach the main white road.
We go back and turn left uphill, we return to the Colletto di San Vito, and we resume the itinerary continuing to the summit of Monte San Vito.