Attention, please, web site updated at 31/12/2015.

The Occitan paths

Through the valley, by following nature and local culture

The Occitan trails are divided into fourteen stages from Villar San Costanzo rising to Chiappera, along the left side of the valley, down the other side up to Dronero. The path is indicated by red and white panels with poles, and yellow markings on the ground.

  • Number stages: 14
  • Difficulty: for average hikers
  • Difference or level +7.300 / -7.300 m
  • Signposting: white-red stakes and yellow notches
  • Suitable for families
  • Suitable for bikers
  • (+39) 0171 917080
Description of the stages

For some years now, the Maira valley has been transformed into a sort of Eden for mountain lovers, with 200 kilometers of marked trails between 600 and 2,700 meters above the sea level, which attracts more and more Italians hikers and especially foreigners. Germans and Swiss, in particular, have a real fondness towards this territory. The merit of this boom is attributable to the stages of the Great Crossing of the Alps that winds in the valley trails and the Occitan trails, a loop trail balcony that offers hikers an average level of concentrated training, difficult to find elsewhere in nature, history and art. This route was originally structured about twenty years ago, when a careful synergy between institutions, residents and foreign lovers of the Maira valley gave impetus to the restoration of the ancient trails that connect one village to another. It was then that the birth of the Occitan trails, still active, has developed and brought forward the project. Over the years has consolidated and made these trails a desirable destination for many hikers. Today there are more than fifty stopping places and inns, mostly family-run, offering hospitality, countless opportunities for leisure and a popular gourmet dining options along the way. It is important to say that one of the key texts on the Maira Valley, written by two Swiss journalists in 1999 and unfortunately only available in German, focused on the combination of hiking and gastronomy, as the title suggests: appetizers high und Wege ("appetizers and ancient paths").

Map to the itinerary
Stages of the itinerary
Villar San Costanzo / Sant’Anna di Roccabruna

Travel time: 5h
Difference or level: 700 m
From the nature reserve of Ciciu (605m), where according to legend, the Roman soldiers were chasing the holy and then were turned to stone, you pass through the villages of Cervetto and Foresti, and then on a forest road you can reach the sanctuary of San Costanzo al Monte, site of the martyrdom of San Costanzo and interesting example of Romanesque-Lombard territory; continue along the plateau of Ciabot, where you will come back on the trail. Over the Fontana dell’Asino (now dry) and houses Arduini, from the township Oggero you go back up to the Castle. You have to take the dirt and uphill road, in order to reach the panoramic Rocca Castlas. With a flat stretch, you will be led to Sant’ Anna di Roccabruna (1.252 m).

Sant’Anna di Roccabruna / Pagliero di San Damiano Macra

Travel time: 200 m
Difference or level: 2h 45’
From the chapel of St. Anne, you will go on driving on paved road and then down a path in the woods, up to the bell tower of the village Roi. Still on trail path you will reach Mostiola and climb up to the houses of Molineri di Pagliero. The track to the right, is connected to the road that connects San Damiano Macra to Pagliero, town hall until 1716, where the stage ends near the church (1.015 m).

Pagliero di San Damiano Macra / Alma di Macra

Travel time: 3h
Difference or level: 700 m
From Pagliero you will proceed in the direction of the cemetery until the township of Scombe. Go past the church of San Sebastiano and continue until Fracchie. Once passed the Grange Rubbio and the crest of Mount Rubbio, you can descend to the valley. After a short climb you reach the chapel of San Bernardo and Camoglieres, township of the ancient town of Alma, which is now part of Macra, near which is now set up a rock-climbing gym with a via ferrata (992m). After a short distance, you will have the chance to stop in the village of Bedale.

Alma di Macra / Stroppo

Travel time: 5h 30’
Difference or level: 900 m
The path winds along a stretch of dense villages full of significant buildings. From Camoglieres you take the Path of the Ciclamini in the direction of the village Villar, touching Bedale back up to Langra: a picturesque setting, surrounded by a thousand blooms. From here you can go up over the ruins of the huts in the direction of West and, after Costa Cucce, you come to the valley of Centenero and Caudano, in the territory of Stroppo. Continuing on the path you reach the church of San Peyre, a real jewel of art and architecture of the fifteenth century. From here you can continue towards Cucchiales, on the right path you will easily reach the villages of Ruata Valley and Morinesio, with the nearby Sanctuary of Santa Maria in a very panoramic position. Possibility of stopping in both townships. In the township of Cucchiales, worthy of note is the "barma del Diau ", the cave of the devil. You then reach Ciamino and then continue towards San Martino Inferiore (1,400 m). Before arriving in San Martino Inferiore, a variant comes off and reaches the villages of Paschero and Bassura, where there are possibilities of stopping.

Stroppo / Elva

Travel time: 2h 30’-3h
Difference or level: 500 m
From the suburbs of the town of Stroppo, you head towards the hill Bettone; you will continue through a clearing that leads to the chapel of St. John on the hill. From here you can divert to a rest stop or continue on the path down towards Elva. Pass the villages Isaia and Mattalia you will be arriving to the church of Elva (1.637 m). You will have a possible chance of stopping in the hamlet of Serre and Clari.

Elva / San Michele di Prazzo

Travel time: 3h
Difference or level: 300 m
From the square township of Serre, you will take the paved road and go back for a stretch on the road leading into the valley. On a secondary road, you will come to the villages of Villar, Clari and Dao. You climb up to reach Chiosso Superiore, and from there, you head towards the valley of the Gias Vecchio and reach the opposite side of the valley, by crossing a stream. You ascend the hill of San Michele, and then descent, to the Allemandi village, before reaching the village of the Chiesa, the capital of San Michele di Prazzo (1.333m). You will have te possibility to stop in the villages of Allemandi and Chiesa.

San Michele di Prazzo / Ussolo

Travel time: 4h
Difference or level: 600 m
The stage takes place entirely in the municipality of Prazzo, led to the current boundaries in 1928 with the merger of San Michele, Ussolo and Prazzo. The first stretch, uphill, leading to the village of Castiglione, perches in a panoramic position on a rocky promontory. A steep climb leads through the woods just below Punta Albeno and then down on the other side for lawns up to touch the township of Vallone. On the road you can continue up to Ussolo (1.337 m), a characteristic village that has been set for some filming of the famous film The Wind Blows Round by Giorgio Diritti. You will have the possibility to stop in Prazzo, a township that is reached by a variant.

Ussolo / Chiappera

Travel time: 6h
Difference or level: 850 m
From Ussolo, along the road, you will reach Vallone and from there you will go up to the Hill Grangette and then arrive to Saraceno. Once you pass the grange Serri Soprana, which comes off a variant that allows you to get down on the Borgo Villa Acceglio, where there are possibilities of stopping, you will take a dirt road to the right, which leads to the Vallone Traversiera (also called valley Mollasco) and then Lausetto . From here, take a trail and you will come to the chapel of Sant Maurizio and, once you have passed the turning for Ponte Maira where there are possibilities of stopping, you will arrive to the vantage point of the spreader Saretto. There is a possibility of stopping also in the township of Saretto. Then you can go down to Chiappera; possibility of stopping again, upstream of the town.

Chiappera / Chialvetta

Travel time: 5h
Difference or level: 700 m
From Chiappera continue in the direction of the cemetery, and at the first bend down, take the path that runs along the southern side of Lake Saretto. Once you get to the source of the Maira, at the first bend uphill in the woods after the bridge camping, take the turnoff to the hill Ciarbonet. The effort you have put in the climb, which is long but also shaded, is now rewarded by the splendid panorama of the peaks of the upper valley Maira. It is strongly recommended to take a detour to the nearby summit of Mount Midia, on a cliff above Acceglio. On the other side, go down the road that runs through the Valley of Unerzio and you get to Viviere, then Pratorotondo and finally Chialvetta (1.494m). A visit the ethnographic museum Misoun d'en Bot ("the home of an old time") is worth, in which you can closely observe more than a thousand items related to employment, housing, and crafts of the Occitan. You will have the possibility to stop in Viviere and Chialvetta. From Chialvetta comes off a variation that exceeds the hill Soleglio Bue and falls down to Preit di Canosio.

Chialvetta / Gardetta

Travel time: 3h 30’
Difference or level: 950 m
From Chialvetta you follow the stream uphill to Pratorotondo and continue up to Viviere, following a run of the previous stage. Instead of turning towards the hill Ciarbonet, you stay along the main trail, going towards the valley of Prato Ciorliero and Grange Resplendino. On the other side of the river you will find the remains of a barrack, the first approach with other fortifications dating back to the period before the last world war that may be encountered in this part of the route. The area was once the theater of military exercises. Some forts have been excavated in chalk outcrops, with sinkholes and sinkholes caused by the karst. You then go to the step of Gardetta along the rich fields of "gias" and pastures. At the pass of Gardetta you must stop to admire the horizon of Canosio, the valley where the sharp ridge of the Rocca la Meja stands with its walls of the Dolomites, while behind him stands the imposing Monte Oronaje. You can take advantage of the relative brevity of the stage for a detour to the right along the military road that leads to Passo di Rocca Brancia and Colle Oserot. Returning to Passo Gardetta, you will soon reach the refuge of Gardetta (2.335m), former military shelter now renovated and reachable by car. There is a possibility to stop at the hill of Preit (2.083m).

Gardetta / Marmora

Travel time: 5h 30’
Difference or level: 500 m
From the refuge of Gardetta you go down on a dirt road until you reach Grange Ciampasso in the vicinity of the hill of Preit, then continue on the slopes of Rocca La Meja. Not far away, where a short detour brings you to the plaque commemorating the company of the Alpini in January 1937, where they were caught and killed by an avalanche. Following the wide trail you reach the next hill of Margherina and then the hill of Ancoccia. Over the pass you descend briefly on the beautiful pastures of Bandia and then up the hill of the Mulo, from here you descend into the valley of Marmora using the path that runs along the road that connects the villages of Marmora with the Col d'Esischie. From the Ghetto village turn left to walk along the beautiful Lake Resile and you come into the valley of Marmora. You will have the possibility to stop in the villages of Arata, slightly distant from the path, Finello, Vernetti, Torello and Brieis. From Marmora comes off a variant, just before the township of Torello, going down to Canosio and, after the hill of San Giovanni, reaches Prazzo Superiore.

Marmora / Albaretto di Macra

Travel time: 3h
Difference or level: 400 m
The first section of the route takes place through some of the villages of the municipality of Marmora: once you leave the village, consisting of groups of houses and well-restored features that preserve interesting architectural and artistic testimonies, from Borgata Superiore, you will be proceeding in the valley in the direction of Bassura. Following the ridge of the mountain Buch dell'Encucetta you will reach the hill, which separates a variant that falls on Bassura di Stroppo through the Medieval bridge over Maira. If you prefer following instead the classic route, Albaretto can be reached, an ancient town which is now part of Macra and where, in the township Palent (1.463m), is the stopping point. For those who wish, here comes off a variant of the path that leads to Bassura Aramola through the township of Stroppo. Another variation, from township Serremorello, falls in Bedale, capital of the Macra (bus stop).

Albaretto di Macra / Celle di Macra

Travel time: 2h 30’
Difference or level: 200 m
The first part of the route passes through the villages of the ancient town of Albaretto. From Palent you go down to Aramola and then you can go further down to gain an overview of the fraction of Collar, from which we recommend a short detour to reach the crest of the Castle, where since 1958 a marble statue recalls the Madonna of Lourdes. Once at the church of Serremorello, you can proceed downhill to Chiatignano and then you will enter the town of Celle di Macra passing through the villages Sagna and Combe. Continuing, near the township Mattalia the trail branches: the main track continues to Paschero and the Church (1.270m), where there are possibilities of stopping. A variant then goes down to Bassura, always down, to the already mentioned township Bedale (800m) to close the excursion: in this case, the travel time increases by about 1h 30 '.

Celle di Macra / Cartignano

Travel time: 5h
Difference or level: 150 m
This stage allows the reunification with the lower valley, where the itinerary had begun. From Borgata Chiesa you can take the old mule track at the Museum "Seles" of Itinerant Crafts and you will soon reach Castellaro, from where you will continue for Soglio Soprano and Serre Paglieres, in the municipality of San Damiano Macra. Through Filoira and Bedale, with small ups and downs, you get to the hill of Santa Margherita and the underlying hamlet that has the same name in the town of Dronero. The route continues downhill on asphalt up to Falcone and then left on the road to Messore through the hill of Teje, you will be arriving in Cartignano.

Cartignano / Dronero

Travel time: 3h
From Cartignano continue on the paved road to Ponte Bedale. From there you get to Tetti and take the road to the right and downhill, reaching the pedestrian and bike path in Ponte Olivengo. You will be keeping to the right and from there you will reach the town of Dronero. With a detour to the left, go about 400 meters and you will reach the Devil's Bridge and you will reach the center of Dronero with the possibility of stopping places.

Accommodation and rest stops

The route takes you through the villages and the municipalities of the valley. The receptivity is an inner on to the locations of high altitude, for which reference should be made to the tourist offices of the territory that will know how to guide you on the basis of structure types and the possibility of spending.

Comunità Montana Valli Grana e Maira - IAT valli Grana e Maira
Place Dronero, piazza XX Settembre 3
Info (+39) 0171 917080;;;
Altri uffici turistici
Place Acceglio, borgo Villa
Info (+39) 0171 99424; (aperto da giugno a inizio settembre)