Alto Tanaro Tour, stage 1 : from Barchi to Chionea

1. Alto Tanaro Tour, stage 1 : from Barchi to Chionea

Archeology and history
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An easy stage mostly on well maintained mule tracks. The only fault is that neither Barchi nor Nasagò, the two nearby hamlets where the tour starts, offers any services.
This stage touches a number of picturesque villages, some partially renovated, others with a handful of residents, others abandoned now, but all with their own charm and rich in history. Of note the church at Albra, perfectly restored and in a magnificent panoramic position, also worth noting the painting in the Pilone delle Caranche; there are charming chestnut woods in Villaro and Valdarmella, and the Colla di Chionea offers open vistas.

1 point 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.


From Barchi cross the bridge over the Tanaro to Nasagò.
Cross the main road and climb up a mule track first, then back on the road, up to Santa Libera.
To the right of the church, a mule track continues uphill to San Giacomo di Eca (859 m, 0:35 mins from Barchi).
A beautiful mule track touches in succession of villages, Vacieu (fountain), Cariò (or Carià, 1155 m, fountain) and arrives at Albra (1078 m, 1:15 hours from San Giacomo di Eca).
Go to the right between the houses, then follow a path that takes you down into the valley of the Rio Peisino, which you cross.
Again on an easy mule track you reach Villaro (1038 m, 0:40 mins from Albra).
At the church you enter the asphalt road and turn right, pass through the hamlet of Lunghi (fountain) and descend on the tarmac. Go right and follow the road until the first bend, where you go left to Airola (1111 m, 0:25 mins from Villaro).
Beyond the village the path climbs through the oak grove up to the Pilone delle Caranches; once you reach an altitude of about 1180 m, go down to the left and cross the Rio Conche.
With a long stretch on a slight slope you reach the village of Perondo sottano, you cross the ruins and reach a panoramic rocky ridge, from where you go down to the left through the chestnut grove to the hamlet of Valdarmella (1045 m, 1:15 hours from Airola).
Here you find the surfaced road and climb to the right. Continue until you find a path on the left that goes down to cross the Torrente Armella on a wooden bridge.
Beyond the bridge the trail signs lead uphill through the hazelnut bushes to Colla di Chionea (1223 m, 0:55 mins from Valdarmella). From the pass you go down to the left, to Chionea.
Here you turn left again to the Church of Santa Maria Assunta (1104 m, 0:15 mins from Colla di Chionea).
The Chionea Refuge is located a few yards past the church, in the direction of Ormea, above the road to the left.

  • Departure : Barchi, Case Breo (670 m)
  • Arrival : Chionea (1104 m)
  • Towns crossed : Ormea

Altimetric profile

Access and parking

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

Parking :

Frazione Barchi di Ormea

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