ALESSANDRIA CITTÀ DELLE BICICLETTE
A WORLD TO PEDAL
We must not condemn cycling to decadence, and with it the bicycle, for our sigh dated nostalgia of the times gone by, when in our country it was thought that the Italian-French-Belgian competitive village was the world. We don't have to be only Italians, when there is a world to pedal.
Gian Paolo Ormezzano at the Museum Alessandria Città delle Biciclette
A PIEDMONT TO DISCOVER
If there is a place to start to experience exciting stories here, right from Museo AcdB, you are on the right track.
You will discover it by bike through simple itineraries on the paths or on the roads mapped with more challenging routes, letting yourself be guided by history or following the advice of an itinerant portal: www.piemontebike.eu.
You'll find your ideal track anyway. You will choose it among the geo-thematic ones present in the site that has been realized by Alexala with the Piedmont Region and the Local Tourist Agencies or wandering alone on roads with little traffic.
You will find your way and she will tell you about a Piedmont to pedal really within everyone's reach, which invites you to rediscover the mystical peace of sanctuaries and votive chapels set in centuries-old woods, the slow flow of streams and rivers, along valleys with soft lines overlooked by hills full of vineyards and orchards to the Piedmontese mountain valleys with more inaccessible landscapes.
In addition to history, there is the landscape, there is nature, there is the contemplation of a world that is a sin not to pedal.
Land of cycling
If you want to pedal between three places of memory that pay homage to bicycles and champions in a territory that has cycling in its DNA, between Novi Ligure, Castellania and Alessandria there are, in order, Museo dei Campionissimi (Coppi and Girardengo), the one dedicated to Fausto Coppi in his hometown and Museo AcdB (acronym for Alessandria city of bicycles) which tells the story of the first bicycle to arrive in Italy in Alessandria in 1867.
Then, all with their noses up, without exaggeration - Colli Tortonesi - here is Castellania Coppi, here is Casa Coppi. An open-air museum. A place that pedals through memory. As unique and mystical as the birthplace of Fausto and Serse Coppi must be.
THE MUSEO DEI CAMPIONISSIMI
There is no city in the world that has been the birthplace of so many characters of national and international importance in the sport of cycling as Novi Ligure, and it is here that you will find Museo dei Campionissimi, dedicated to the history of cycling and cycling, inspired by the protagonists after whom it is named the Campionissimi: Costante Girandengo and Fausto Coppi.
Inaugurated in 2003, the museum was set up inside an early 20th century industrial shed next to the city centre. A special central "track" divides and organizes the exhibition space with 40 bicycles that narrate the technical evolution of the vehicle, from the first example in wood to those in carbon fiber.
There is also a tribute to cycling champions, with Girardengo's Maino and Coppi 's Bianchi bikes, but also the bike of Giovanni Gerbi, the legendary "red devil" and pioneer of the Giro d'Italia, and then the Legnano bikes of Bartali and Massignan, the Bianchi bikes of Gimondi and Pantani, right up to the very special bikes made for Moser's records and the Specialized racing bike on which Mario Cipollini won the world championship in 2002.
While you visit the museum, the biggest sporting feats told by vintage films run on mega-screens and in this area there is also a curious exhibition of the bicycles of the trades.
But the history of cycling is also a story in pink that starts from mythical characters like Alfonsina Morini-Strada the "devil in a skirt", to the most modern champions of the 21st century like Edita Pucinskaite.
Castellania, the moral capital of world cycling, is an open-air museum with evocative large images that, in every corner of the small ancient village, pay homage to his beloved son.
Casa Coppi, reopened on 2 January 2000 as a museum of affection and memories, tells the story of Fausto Coppi, of the boy, the man, the champion. Walking through his rooms, seeing his things, breathing that air.
An intense emotion that reaches the heart and renews, step by step, the palpable and poignant memory of an admirable athlete known and revered in every corner of the world: the Champion, he alone and forever.
The book of life has written for Fausto Coppi unparalleled pages of exploits and victories, of suffering and tragedy, of friendship and respect, which have transcended the boundaries of sport to become legend and devotion.
Candido Cannavò, editor of La Gazzetta dello Sport to whom Castellania has dedicated the square in the Mausoleum of Fausto and Serse Coppi, wrote: Casa Coppi is an act of love and culture. Here the dust of time becomes talcum powder, it does not cover memories but guards the places of memory, for the nostalgic who want to remember and the young who want to know.
Castellania is a sanctuary of intense emotions. The Mausoleum with the urns of the earth collected on legendary peaks (Aubisque, Galibier, Izoard, Stelvio); the bronze statue by the sculptor Volterra Volterrani for the 1960 Rome Olympics and donated by Giovanni Malagò, president of CONI; the Documentation Centre with the library named after Gino Bailo, biographer of the Campionissimo.
January 2 is a sacred day for cycling. The Holy Mass in suffrage of the death of the Champion is an occasion of pilgrimage.
On the last Sunday of June, with the cyclist LaMitica, the history of champions, bicycles and values that never wane is renewed.
A Piedmont to discover by bike
From Carlo Michel to Giovanni Maino, from the Borsaline to the Circolo Velocipedistico Alessandrino, from the rivalry between the Tortona-born Giovanni Cuniolo, called Manina and Asti's Giovanni Gerbi, nicknamed the Red Devil. Red Devilup to the vicissitudes of champions such as Costante Girardengo and Fausto Coppi: the story yet to be told of the neuralgic role of Monferrato, between Alessandria and Asti, in the origins of the cycling myth and in the countless lives it has had since then.
In fact, this territory, with its structures, first and foremost Museo dei Campionissimi di Novi Ligure and the Fausto Coppi compendium in Castellania, with its cycling routes in the hills and plains, with its cycle-historical events and, above all, with the presence of a large number of enthusiasts, can credibly propose to tell the extraordinary story of the beginnings and success of the sport of two wheels in Piedmont and Italy.
THE STREETS OF THE WINGMEN
They are sometimes unpaved, slow roads, mostly covered by bikes and pedestrians. They are hills and plains, rolling hills and the scent of the sea, where Piedmont points towards Liguria.
These are the roads of the Tortonese, Valle Scrivia, and Basso Piemonte areas. They are the roads of the Myth, Fausto Coppi, and the charm of those quiet villages travelled far and wide by the Cycling Champions, first Girardengo, then Coppi. And the Gregari.
Like Sandrino Carrea di Cassano Spinola: one for all. These are the places to discover and live around for tourism. They mark the pace of hikers and cyclists, attracted by nature in perfect symbiosis with the flow of the wheel and the insistence of pedalling. Places of wheat fields and poppies. Vineyards of Timorasso and Barbera that climb up to a bell tower.
NOT ONLY HILLS
A Piedmont to pedal really within everyone's reach and invites you to rediscover the mystical peace of sanctuaries and votive chapels set in centuries-old woods, the slow flow of streams and rivers, along valleys with soft lines overlooked by hills full of vineyards and orchards to the Piedmontese mountain valleys with more inaccessible landscapes.
The peace of the rice fields that reflect the sun and the clouds, the charm of the history of the castles perched on the hilltops. For those who love art and painting, the combination of Castellania-Coppi and Volpedo-Pellizza is not to be missed, cycling between two myths that have made the Piedmont region famous throughout the world.
LAMITIC CLIMB OF THE RAMP
The roads here are legendary in every sense of the word. They are the roads along which the "Campionissimi" - the Heron Fausto Coppi - trained, but also his brother Serse, and before that Costante Girardengo and many other heroic cyclists from the Tortonese Hills who wrote an epic cycling story of yesteryear. Among the most evocative itineraries proposed by Piemontebike.eu is one from Novi Ligure to Castellania, which crosses the Colli Tortonesi along the route that leads to the birthplace of Coppi. To Castellania and back to Novi.
It starts from Museo dei Campionissimi di Novi Ligure , a must for those who love the history of cycling. It passes through Villalvernia, Paderna, Villaromagnano and invites you to experience the famous, or rather mythical, climb of La Rampina immediately after passing Villaromagnano. This stretch of unpaved road is a feature of the LaMitica cycling event, which starts and finishes every year in Castellania.
TRULY MYTHICAL ITINERARIES
On the furrow traced by the wheels of heroic cycling, there is a corner of Piedmont where you can travel by bike between the plain and the hills, thanks to the geomapped routes of the Alessandria section of www.piemontebike.eu.
An evocative tourist proposal in a breathtaking landscape, between art and flavours, between the bric and fossils of Alessandria and Monferrato UNESCO World Heritage Site, tells a corner of Piedmont still on a human scale, tells of a slow tourism, a cycling tourism for everyone, experts and not, alone or in company, even with the family.
An evocative proposal that travels in the wake and on the wheel of the winning legacy of the great champions of the past, Giradengo and Coppi. But you don't need to be a champion to enjoy the spectacle and the tourist attractions along the roads and hills of this Basso Piemonte. There is something for all tastes, from simple itineraries on the trails, to mapped roads with more challenging routes to the call of LaMitica, a cycling event at the end of June with a thousand facets.
The Monsterrato Strade Bianche is an ASD Bike Comedy Club project that for some years now has been promoting the Territory with the passion it takes to attend these special events. That take us back in time. The Monsterrato is not only a cyclist, it is a way to experience the passion for vintage and vintage bikes, but also the gravelbike, and the proposals of mtb and e-bikes among hills, castles and white roads of the Monferrato Casale and Asti Unesco heritage for the wine landscape and the infernot. There are four routes proposed by Monsterrato: from 35 to 180 km. The choice goes from the Short of 35 km, to the Medium of 70 km, to the Long of 110 km to the Randonnée of about 180 km. Continuous hilly ups and downs immerse you in a small great ancient world, with numerous sectors of white roads dear to Girardengo, Gerbi and Cuniolo.
Piemontebike invites you to discover slow tourism by bike, with its own bikes or bikes made available, shuttle services and, for those who wish, the warm hospitality of the facilities (B&B, farmhouses, charming hotels, etc.) with services designed for lovers of cycling and slow tourism on two wheels.
Let yourself be guided
Taking cue from the geomappati routes of the regional portal Pimeontebike.eu there is also the possibility to book a guided bike tour, through customized routes and especially using expert guides able to make you appreciate and discover the landscapes and beauty of art, as well as natural, and typical food and wine products, in an exciting journey on mythical roads, not without some off-track really unmissable.
It's an idea that comes from the bike friendly accommodation facilities that are part of the Piemontebike.eu circuit and offer a suggestive use of the territory on two wheels.
Hikers, trekkers and horse riders will find roads and tracks for their ... paws here!
Cycling enthusiasts will be welcomed by hundreds of kilometres of itineraries, whether they choose fast routes along the roads or enjoy climbing through the hills and Apennines: they won't be able to miss a "stop" at the Acdb Bicycle Museum in Alessandria, at Museo dei Campionissimi di Novi Ligure or at the Casa di Fausto Coppi
Bike rental go to Alexala.it website