Villanova d'Asti - Colle Don Bosco
From the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Grace you will reach the beautiful structure of Casale’s Mill. From here the trail crosses an arboretum and then it goes along the "bealera viva" - a small canal that feeds the mill since 1400 - in a beautiful forest of black alders, colored in spring by yellow Caltha palustris blooming. You walk through the woods on country roads along Rio Traversola until the Riding Club of Cascina Mainito, then you go up to the Colle Don Bosco.
Technical description: From the Sanctuary you reach the cycle path, heading to the “Madonna della Serra” Sanctuary and then down to the Casale’s Mill. From the car park, take the path by the poplars wood and then turn left and take the path in the forest that runs alongside the "bealera viva" for about 1500 m. Then turn right at the cart road, you cross the bridge and turn left on the cart road in the wood that leads to Cascina Mainito. Finally you reach Colle Don Bosco.
Technical tips: Hiking cloths recommended: layers, backpack, shoes with non-slip sole, hat and sunglasses.
Public water fountains: At Villanova (in the garden of the Sanctuary) and 100 m from the Casale’s Mill. There is a fountain in the village of Savi, near the Church of San Marco (little digression). Three fountains in Colle Don Bosco.
Its foundation dates back to 1248, but since Roman time is attested the presence of settlements. Towards Poirino, in Borgata Corveglia, around Lombard ruins called "old court", settled the Benedictine nuns creating a monastery (now a hotel) recently restored to its former glory. The territory surrounding Villanova was the scene of fierce clashes between French and Spanish in the seventeenth century, but the massive "star" walls always protected it.
Neoclassical style with a central plan and two side flanks, it was built starting from 1860 on the site linked to the apparition of the Virgin Mary to the eighteen years old girl Mariae Baj in 1802, while she was herding cattle near a water source, later considered effective against malaria. In 1823 Giovanni Bosco went to Villanova with his mother Margaret to drink the water from the spring and recover from illness. Don Bosco returned there in 1871 to celebrate the first anniversary of the inauguration of the church.
The first documents that testify the existence of the mill dates back to the XI-XII centuries and its activities continued until 1993. The mill - today an accommodation - was powered by the "bealera viva" stream and it made a great nineteenth-century iron wheel with a diameter of 4.20 m work, capable of generating an output of 6 horsepower. Interesting the inside of the mill, still perfectly preserved, and the milling museum.
City of departure: Villanova d'Asti
Departure: Santuario della Madonna delle Grazie
City of arrival: Castelnuovo Don Bosco
Arrival: Colle Don Bosco
Length (Km): 12
Type of Itinerary: Half Day
Difference in height (m): 145
Difference in downhill (m): 0
Highest point (m): 269
Lowest point (m): 192
Duration (h.): 3