Alto Tanaro Tour

Alto Tanaro Tour

Archeology and history
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This long circuit is mostly on easy paths, mule tracks or even little roads. The sixth stage is different, as the route follows faint tracks in places. But this is a "new" route and the whole route will soon be in ideal conditions.
This trek has considerable change in height going from 600 m in Garessio to almost 2200 m at Colla Rossa. It passes through a variety of environments, from broadleaf woodland to conifers and high pastures. The human mark on the territory is also obvious, the left side of the Tanaro valley has a number of villages and alpine hamlets. And the sea, which is always on the horizon between Rifugio Don Barbera and Garessio.

7 points of interest

  • History and historical trail

    Eugenio Arduino

    Among the various artists who decorated churches, houses and shrines, Eugenio Arduino is certainly worth remembering. He left numerous testimonies in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is credited with having painted, among other things, San Martino on the facade of the Parish Church in Ormea.
    Also the art work of the Pilone delle Caranche, dated 1902 but still fairly well conserved, bears his signature.

  • Small heritage

    The Museum of Memories

    A small ethnographic museum has been set up near the church a few years ago, the Museo dei Ricordi, where hundreds of everyday objects from the past decades are on display: tools, furniture, clothes and many other small pieces of memorabilia.

  • Fauna

    The short toed eagle

    The short-toed eagle, Circaetus gallicus (from the Greek "kirkos" = falcon and "aëtos" = eagle, the adjective "gallicus" refers to that area of France called Gaul), is a very special eagle. In fact, it nourishes only of reptiles and in particular of serpents, which it searches for on the sunny slopes of the Mediterranean regions and of the Alpine valleys. His hunting technique is also particular for an eagle, because it consists in hovering motionless in mid-air, in the so-called "holy spirit" flight. Long-range migrant, it is a species native to Africa.
  • Architecture

    The Chapel of Sant'Erim and the Selle Refuge in Carnino

    The Chapel of Sant'Erim (Chapel of Sant'Elmo) was built following the saint's apparitions here to groups of shepherds. Tradition has it that a mass was celebrated here every year on the day the cattle went up to the mountain pastures.
    The Rifugio Selle di Carnino was built from a shepherds hut by the Ligurian Section of the CAI . It was used until the Second World War when it was seriously
    damaged and definitively abandoned.
    [A. Parodi, R. Pockaj, A. Costa - Nel cuore delle Alpi Liguri, collana Sentieri e Rifugi, Andrea Parodi Editore, 2012, p.42]

  • Cross-border

    The Colle delle Selle Vecchie

    This was an important pass in past ages, probably on one of the salt routes, it was widely used by the shepherds from Briga in their transhumance towards the pastures at the foot of the Marguareis Massif.
    The place name refers to the "selle", or "cellars" for the preservation of cheeses, once evidently present in the surrounding area. The cellars are generally stone buildings, with a barrel vault, covered and insulated with grass clods to ensure constant temperature and humidity inside.
    [A. Parodi, R. Pockaj, A. Costa - Nel cuore delle Alpi Liguri, collana Sentieri e Rifugi, Andrea Parodi Editore, 2012, p.34]

  • History and historical trail

    The Colle di Nava blockade

    The Colle di Nava blockade was built between 1880 and 1888, to prevent transit on the easy pass that connects the Valle Tanaro with the Valle Arroscia. The square had five forts: the Central Fort and the Bellarasco Fort near the pass, the Richermo Fort on the left, the Pozzanghi Fort and the Montescio Fort on the right (at a considerable distance from the other works), as well as a series of semi-permanent field batteries. The armament was small and medium calibre in all the forts.
    [Le Fortificazioni delle Alpi del Mare, pp.49-50]

  • Mountain pass

    Migration over the Bocchino di Semola

    Migratory birds make long journeys between nesting sites and wintering sites. Many migratories reach Europe from Africa in March, some using the position of the sun and the mountain ranges as a reference (diurnal migration), and some the moon and stars (nocturnal migration). The return journey takes place in the months of September and October. The Bocchino di Semola is an important passage in the migratory routes that cross the border between Liguria and Piedmont.
    [On-site information panel, text by Fabiano Sartirana]


The Alto Tanaro Tour starts at Barchi di Ormea and runs a complete circuit around the valley. It might have seemed more obvious to start in Garessio, but as there is no stopover accommodation in Barchi, the idea was abandoned. The fact that the stages start and end close to the valley bottom and that there is a public bus service in Valle Tanaro makes it possible to start or end the walk almost anywhere. Cutting it to the length you prefer starting with the full nine stages.
Precisely because of the variation in height it is difficult to indicate an ideal season, probably between September and October after checking that the stopover accommodation is open. If hot weather doesn't bother you, apart from years with a lot of snow you can do the route from late spring onwards, when Rifugio Don Barbera opens, and even earlier for the lower stages. The stopovers are often in managed refuges and at times in hotel accommodation in the villages in the valley.
  • Departure : Garessio, Fraz. Barchi, Case Breo (670 m)
  • Arrival : Garessio, Fraz. Barchi, Case Breo (670 m)
  • Towns crossed : Ormea, Briga Alta, La Brigue, Tende, Cosio di Arroscia, and Garessio

Altimetric profile


Is in the midst of the park
The national park is an unrestricted natural area but subjected to regulations which must be known by all visitors.


Mondovì – Imperia line Autolinee RT Piemonte SrL
Riviera Trasporti Piemonte S.r.l.
Viale Piaggio 38 - 12078 Ormea (Cn)
Telephone Switchboard: 0183.7001
Email contacts

To reach Barchi you need to book a taxi:

Access and parking

From Ceva climb the Valle Tanaro past Garessio. As you come into the hamlet of Nasagò turn left, pass under the railway and cross the River Tanaro on the road bridge, into Barchi Breo. Just over the bridge on the right there are a few car parking spaces.

Parking :

Frazione Barchi di Ormea

More information

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