Cycling in Piedmont: Day Four. Sunshine, Lunch in a Vineyard and a Visit to Acqui Terme

Our fourth day of the Piedmont sojourn was sunny and bright with a delicious lunch at an agriturismo in a vineyard and three short steep climbs and more than three other long climbs. So it was just a typical day.

Don holds the day’s itinerary.

We started from our lovely accommodations at Casa Margherita, where we stayed for two nights. I don’t think I’ve written enough about this place and props to Cristiano for working with them. It sits in the middle of a beautiful landscape in the province of Alessandria, in the village of Cremolino. Both areas were new to me. For perspective, we were 55 miles southeast of Turin.  As I wrote on another post, we were the only guests here for two nights. It became our home, if you will. On the second night, dinner was leftovers from the night before if we didn’t want to walk to Cremolino, about 15 minutes away. There’s also steam, sauna, whirlpool, an outdoor pool and a terrace. It was a treat.

So back to the ride. Today was a 36-mile loop and the max we’d be up is 3,300 feet. 

Our first stop was 11 miles in and Gian Luca treated us all to some “baci di dama,” the same cookies I bought for everybody in Barolo. We hung out in the sunshine, regrouped, enjoyed the goings-on in the town. Then we were off. To get out of the town required riding up an incredibly steep street that reminded me of some of the roads in my mother’s hometown of Grotte, Sicily. That’s pretty steep! You just have to put it low gear and pedal like mad.

At one point, the countryside took my breath away, or maybe that was just me trying to make it around a steep turn. Either one is possible. Fellow cyclist Norm was in a perfect spot to get a photo of me in the middle of all that beauty. (It’s the main photo on the top of this post. Can you see me?)

So I yelled to him that I would return the favor and took his photo as he made his way up the road. I’m sorry to say I didn’t do nearly as good a job. (Sorry Norm!) Check out Norm’s other photos on his site:

My attempt of getting a photo of Norm on his way up the hill. If you zoom in, you can see bright green specs of his jersey.

There were three spots that were pretty tough but I soldiered through. The ride took us off the road into what looked like right into the woods and then a vineyard. The road was a bit craggy but I just kept thinking, “Lunch is right around the corner. . .  right around the corner. . . right around the corner.”

Instead, that GPS crone kept telling me to turn left and then stay left and then go straight and then all I saw was more roads that kept going up and up and up.

After I let out a few expletives, I see guide Davide and think, “Great. Whew! I made it.”

Then I see a farmhouse in the distance, up another hill.  I again offer some, ahem, “commentary,” and Davide replies, “Alle, alle! You can do it!”

That last hill was so insane! So yes, I did it, and then I promptly sat down at the big lunch table and just chilled.  

Our guides Davide, Gian Luca and Cristiano have a way of bringing out the fighter in yourself. I absolutely wanted to hop off the bike and just walk it up that last hill but I didn’t. True, it was a beautiful day and I was in my beautiful Italy and I was very happy but my God, those climbs were tough. 

The group on the road:

Lunch was at the Erede di Chiappone Armando winery. What a spot. This is a long-time family run business. (Erede means “heir.”) All the food was straight from their garden, as always. They served us a soup with vegetables and sausage. See, this is the thing about eating at places like this. Something as simple as soup is so good. The broth alone is full of flavor. I can’t make soup like that and I’m a pretty good Italian cook! 

They brought out some very fresh cheese and watermelon chutney to eat with it. And some focaccia. And their wines, of course.  

Then I saw Janice with a bandage on her arm and ice on her knee. She fell at some point and was nursing her injuries. So six of the group decided to not cycle back to Casa Margherita and just enjoy the day. The rock stars had already left. That left me and Tom and Susan. I was absolutely game for it. It was such a nice day and I wanted to get out there, despite knowing what lay ahead.

We finished the main loop and decided to ride the extra. It was four more miles, three of them uphill. Cristiano came by in the van and we told him we were going to do it with Davide. So the four of us set off.

 Ten minutes later we called Cristiano to come and get us. We were finished for the day. 


As I wrote at the beginning, we were on our own for dinner. Several of us stayed at the B&B, some walked into Cremolino or there was the third option of visiting nearby Acqui Terme, which is what I did, with Gian Luca as my guide. 

The shrine in the center of Acqui Terme, in Piazza della Bollente. The water pours out of two spickets below.

Acqui Terme is a historic Roman town with a natural hot spring that, today, is still in use for therapeutic purposes. Gian Luca explained that you can get a  prescription from your doctor for and use the spa for several conditions.  

Historically, the Roman army used the springs to heal the soldiers so they would be ready for battle. There are ruins of Roman aqueducts around the city. 

Walking around the town was really nice. There’s a public fountain right in the city center and people were going right up to it. Gian Luca said it was also common for people to fill containers with the water. How they ignored the sulfur smell is beyond me. 

The natural springs of Acqui Terme in the public square.

But it’s also very hot. It never drops below 73 degrees Celsius, which is 163 degrees Fahrenheit You can’t put your hand under it for more than a second. 

Next: Welcome to Gavi!

One thought on “Cycling in Piedmont: Day Four. Sunshine, Lunch in a Vineyard and a Visit to Acqui Terme

  1. Susan Capiel

    so glad you included the few Casa Margherita photos of mine, as really liked the one I snapped of Carol and Patty on the swing at the courtyard! &especially glad you used the photo I took of Mom and Pop at Erede di Chippone Armando winery, what a treat they and son Danielle were! And, in the end viewing your photos of Aqui Terme was truly enjoyable!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s