Alto Tanaro Tour, stage 2: from Chionea to Quarzina

2. Alto Tanaro Tour, stage 2: from Chionea to Quarzina

Archeology and history
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A short route, but pleasant and interesting, almost all on good mule tracks. Splendid colours if you are doing this stage in Spring or Autumn.
A stage of unquestionable charm, for the variety of scenery, the villages, the century old chestnut woods, for the vistas that open out from La Colma as far as the sea. We advise  a visit to the Laghetto del Lao, which hosts a colony of Alpine newts.

2 points of interest

  • 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.

  • Small heritage

    J Aboi

    On Monday of Carnival week , groups of young people from the hamlets of Chionea and Chioraira, wearing a black hat with coloured ribbons sewn on, or disguised as women, wandered around playing music, singing and begging through the various hamlets of Ormea. They collected food from the residents, transporting everything by donkey. The Abois, as they were called, were hosted by the local inhabitants and on Sunday they organised a banquet with what
    they had collected in the previous days. This ancient tradition fell into disuse in the 1950s, following the abandonment of the villages. It was revived in 2005 and continues thanks to research carried out by the local CAI section.
    [Piemonte Parchi n.163 febbraio 2007, pp.36-37]


From the Chionea Refuge (about 1107 m), go up towards the Church of Santa Maria Assunta. Take the surfaced road that goes down to the left of the church,
leaves the village and becomes a dirt road; at the first junction follow the mule track on the right that leads to Porcirette sottane (1094 m, fountain).
Cross the village and continue on the mule track which brings you close to the church of Case Rian.
Before the church, turn left, go through the village, drop down to Rio Chiapino cross it and climb up the opposite side. You get onto another flat mule track,
which you follow to the left; when you reach a paved road go left again and you enter the hamlet Chioraira (1097 m, 0:45 mins from Chionea, fountains).
Between the houses, take a dirt track to the right and, a little further on, take another right onto a dirt road. Going up with long hairpin bends, you pass the
villages Rizzi, La Costa, and you get to Stalle Colletto (1312 m). The road ends, take the mule track to the left which, after a stretch in the woods, you leave,
taking a path on the right. The path gains altitude and it enters the dirt road that goes up from Aimoni. Follow it to the right and you will reach the open
pastures of La Colma (1500 m, 1:35 hours from Chioraira).{Here we recommend a diversion to the nearby Chapel of St. John the Baptist and the small Lake of
Lao, about fifteen minutes away.} Continue on the dirt track next to which there is a signpost (south-east) and at the next junction keep right.
Once you reach the edge of the wide pasture ridge, the track begins to descend. Cross the dirt road coming from Aimoni seen earlier and continue the long
descent on an old mule track bounded by dry stone walls.
Pick up the dirt road again and go left for a hundred metres: here you take the mule track that breaks off to the left of the road and leads to Brignacchi. Between
the houses (fountain) there is a paved road that goes down to the village of Quarzina (1326 m, 0:30 mins from La Colma). The Quarzina Refuge (1319 m) is
situated along the asphalt road to Ponte di Nava.

  • Departure : Chionea (1104 m)
  • Arrival : Quarzina (1326 m
  • Towns crossed : Ormea

Altimetric profile

Access and parking

From Ceva go up the Valle Tanaro to Ormea. At the end of Piazza della Libertà a small surfaced road goes up to Chionea and Chioraira. At the first fork turn right for Chionea.  Only a few parking spaces are available here.

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