Mountain bike & E-MTB tours on old military roads and single trails
Marmora-Vernetti, Valle Maira, Piemonte, Italy
From the plain of Cuneo in Piedmont, three main valleys, parallel to each other, stretch across the maritime Alps towards France: the Stura Valley (principle town Demonte), the Maira Valley (principle town Dronero) and the Varaita Valley (principle town Sampeyre). The Stura Valley and the Varaita Valley have a road connection to France – via the pass Colle della Maddalena or the pass Colle dell’Agnello – whereas the Maira Valley does not have a road to France. Therefore, there is far less automobile traffic in the Maira Valley. Because of its vicinity to the Mediterranean Sea, this area has a mild climate, despite its alpine location.
The higher regions and the secondary valleys are characterized by a vast migration. In the community of Marmora in the Maira Valley, for example, there are only 25 citizens that are still living there all the year round. In1861 there were still l088 citizens living at Marmora and in 1951 only 446! The reason for this mass migration is the emigration to France and overseas, as well as the rural depopulation because of the industrialization and the movement of labor into the region of Turin (FIAT etc.). Therefore agriculturally active areas were abandoned. Previously cultivated fields became meadows. The area was soon overgrown with shrubs and trees, a development that has been continuing up to now. Although the area is only 100 km away from the city of Turin, the Maira Valley is a forgotten area of Piedmont. Thanks to increased tourism in the last few years, the migration is being counteracted. This refers to the individual tourism, people who spend their holidays here: Hikers and bikers in the summer and ski and snowshoe tours in winter.
The family-run Pensione Ceaglio that is located in Vernetti, is an ideal point of departure for tours on mountain bikes, trekking bikes or road bikes. Mountain bikers profit from a far-reaching network of old military roads. In combination with that network, there are old trade roads (border trails) and farm and alpine trails. Several hiking trails add also to the diversity of the landscape and the technical demands of the tours. A huge variety of unforgettable tours can be made from May to the beginning of November starting directly from the Pensione Ceaglio in Marmora-Vernetti or using the Pensione Ceaglio's transport service to reach another starting point. For example, the tour over the highest ridable pass in the western Alps is an extraordinary experience (La Colletta at the Monte Bellino, 2,830 m) or the ride on the miles long single trail through thick ash and beech forests to the ruins of an old mill at the Rio Albert. The landscape's process of transition can clearly be observed.
Hardly any other region in Europe offers such a variety of trails in an unspoilt nature, from trails in the alpine upland to high alpine trails, as it does the Maira Valley! The Pensione Ceaglio provides its guests with detailed descriptions of 20 tours (761 km, 28,610 meters of altitude). The tours are some of the most beautiful ones in all of the Alps.
The former military roads and mule tracks in the Maira Valley are ideal also for E-MTB.