For the last leg of this long circuit throughout the Langhe region, the itinerary takes you from Verduno, where a stop at its Belvedere vista point, looking out over Roddi, is certainly worth your time, and on to Alba, the “City of a Hundred Towers”, as you ride through more Barolo vineyards, past truffle trees and the castles and towers of the Roero region in the background beyond the Tanaro river. And don’t miss a detour of just a few kilometers to Pollenzo. The itinerary comes to an end in Alba, where you can enjoy the many wonders and treasures of this city after an unforgettable ride through the Langhe.
Verduno is a quaint, well maintained little village that features a true royal residence (now a charming hotel) in which the entire House of Savoy lived until 1909, when the estate was acquired by the Burlotto Family. It was in these wine cellars that, by order of the King, General Staglieno began the “modern-day” wine production of the Royal House’s Barolo, a dry, still wine aged in oak barrels. The Castello di Verduno Winery remains to this day in a sort of ideal embodiment of the amazing Bar to Bar tours through the Langhe from Barbaresco to Barolo (hence “Bar” to “Bar”), the two most prestigious of Italy’s red wines, given that the owner Franco Bianco is from Barbaresco while his wife, Gabriella Burlotto, is from Verduno.
From Verduno, if you look out towards the Tanaro Valley, you will see the Roero Castles of Pocapaglia, Monticello, Guarene and the Santa Vittoria Tower (the twin tower of the one in Barbaresco and which can just be seen in the background, beyond Alba, where the valley narrows and the Tanaro river bends to the east). Under this hill King Charles Albert had the monumental Cinzano wine cellars excavated, in order to create, in secret, one of Italy’s first Spumanti - sparkling wines - (the first was Gancia in Canelli) and to experiment with Vermouth, the father of all Italian aperitifs. Halfway between the two royal estates lies the neo-Gothic village of Pollenzo (erected on top of the former Roman city of Pollentia, where Flavius Stilicho stopped the Goths one last time, but it was futile given that, just a few years later, Alaric I conquered Rome, and Stilicho was executed by the inept Honorius) and its University of Gastronomic
Sciences and related Wine Bank, part of an ambitious, forward-looking project by the Slow Food organization. Finally, in front of you are the Langhe with the Barolo “crown” opening up between Roddi and Diano, with the Grinzane Castle in the middle, and the other towns arranged in a semicircle around Barolo. In a single glance, you can see all of the ancient fiefdoms of the Falletti Family of bankers; villages that are now dream destinations for most of the world’s wine lovers. Leave Verduno in the direction of Cantina Alessandria (descending from the castle towards the town hall and then keeping to the right). Once past the wine cellar, the road continues down towards the new hospital, at which point you will leave this road to take a trail to the right and into the woods. After about a kilometre, this trail comes out onto a cart track along the crest of the hill through vineyards. Continue on until you find a downhill trail (D2) on the left through lush vegetation, which will take you down to the Monvigliero - Toetto highway (Monvigliero is the Verduno’s most famous cru). Cross the asphalt and continue along the crest of the hill on a particularly pleasant trail, which heads back down at the end into Roddi on the Toetto road at the entrance to town. Roddi features an impressive castle that has been partially restored and is now home to the “Terra Academy”, the Alba White Truffle Cooking School, a project that is destined to grow on into the future. The Academy is definitely worth a visit both to learn more about the white truffle and for the poetry left behind from the poetry contests that have been held here for over twenty years. From Roddi, head down along Via Fontanassa to the base of the valley, marked by a roundabout with a votive chapel. Cross the main highway and continue on in the direction of Tanaro, then enter the bike trail to the right just over the channel of the Verduno - La Morra hydroelectric plant.
This spacious, flat trail follows the lazily winding river and then, after a few kilometres, runs parallel to the highway and then passes under it at a suspension bridge. At this point, the route turns back on itself and bends to the left towards the Ferrero Factory, where they make some of the best chocolate (and hazelnut) treats in the world! The “Ferrero Foundation” is very culturally active and hosts many important exhibitions and conferences, and their “Research Facility Pietro Ferrero” is world class. Soon you will see the red-brick towers on the horizon, along with the hexagonal walls of the historical part of Alba Pompeia. Take the ring road and then enter the town of Alba, where the cobblestone streets, bell towers, terracotta rooftops, wine bars, and shops evoke the age-old charm and unexpected surprises of the unforgettable Piedmont region.