Alongside Pellizza da Volpedo, other legends linked to QuartoPiemonte travel on two wheels. And riding up and down the roads of the Tortonese hills it soon becomes clear why. At least four cycling legends were born here. Costante Girardengo, Giovanni Cuniolo known as Manina, Luigi Malabrocca, “black jersey” of the Tour of Italy and, last but not least, the great “Heron” Fausto Coppi. The cycling vocation of this territory can best be appreciated starting from Castellania Coppi, where Fausto and his brother Serse were born. To retrace the roads of the “Campionissimo”, just follow the routes of “La Mitica”, the cycling event with vintage bicycles that celebrates Coppi and his lands every year. This event is also the result of the obstinacy and passion of a group of young people who in 2012 decided to promote the Colli by focusing on slow cycling, made up of white and “silent” roads, where you can train like the greats, but also ride with family and friends, with a MTB or an e-bike.
For those who love to run or walk, there are four UNESCO hillsides to cross and over 450 km of trails, carefully marked and suitable for all abilities. Unpaved roads, between rows of vines and ditches softened by mulberry trees, hill routes and trekking in the woods. The rediscovery and maintenance of these wellness highways is a recent achievement, thanks to a number of willing associations that love sport and nature, including Azalai, founded by Checco Galanzino, the first man who in 2007 managed to run, in less than a year, 1000 km in the four most inhospitable deserts on the planet, and who has decided to live and train in these hills. Azalai takes its name from the Salt Caravans used by the Tuareg people to cross the Tenerè Desert. A journey that has been repeated since time immemorial and that recalls the fascinating Salt Road that passes through QuartoPiemonte, the ancient route followed by mule drivers to cross the Apennines and arrive in Liguria. Accompanied by wayfarers, pilgrims and long caravans, traders travelled along these routes carrying dried fish, oil, cereals, and salt, the most precious of goods because it was used to preserve food. Today, these paths offer fabulous trekking opportunities, practicable in all seasons. Open glades, full of a thousand flowers, alternate with woods of laburnum, beech and juniper trees, in an environment that has remained incredibly pure and uncontaminated. The Ezio Orsi Refuge (1,397 m) allows you to take a break before arriving at the Ebro plains, the highest peak and most suggestive panoramic point in the entire province of Alessandria. From here, on a clear day, your gaze can travel freely and lightly along the Alpine arc, as far as gently touching the sea.