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    • Cycle Tourism

Greenway Voghera - Varzi

A green way towards the Appennines

Just 50 km from Milan, the Po plain begins to ripple and rise gently along the valley of the river Staffora: here, in the heart of Oltrepò Pavese, begins a route exclusively for cyclists, pedestrians and nature lovers, a green way towards the Appennines.

It is the Voghera – Varzi Greenway, a shared cycle-pedestrian pathway that winds through fields, vineyards and small woodlands, following the old route of the Voghera Varzi railway. The Greenway is the ideal opportunity for discovering a land rich in historical and environmental attractions, the home of out standing food and wine like Oltrepò wine and Varzi Salami.

Situated in an area known as the Four Provinces, the Oltrepò Pavese, historically, is a borderland: a place where unique traditions meet, a blend of elements from Piedmont, Lombardy, Liguria and Emilia.

The entire path is suited to every type of user, from families with small children - the overall elevation difference is just about 320 m over 33 km (equal to an average gradient of 0.97%) - to sports people and expert hikers, because it connects to a dense network of gravel roads, paths and even more challenging routes.

The Greenway begins in Voghera, in the Po Valley, south of the river Po (at 96 m a.s.l.)  and continues along a long, false plain to Salice Terme (at 180 m a.s.l.) 14 km later (with an elevation difference of 84 m and an average gradient of 0.6%).

Right along the cycle-pedestrian path, and particularly on the stretch that goes from Retorbido to Rivanazzano Terme, is landscape of carefully tended farmland: оп the plains, there are mainly wheat, barley and corn fields (on soil particularly suited to growing cereals), while vines reign on the hills, having been cultivated there for over 2,000 years. There are still mulberry trees scattered here and there, a reminder of bygone times when they used to stand in rows. Thanks to the nearby Staffora river, a natural passageway for different wildlife, you may come across roe deer or even wild boar, down from the hills, or small animals like stone martens, badgers or foxes. Bird-watchers can spot the tree sparrow, the pheasant, the stonechat and the kestrel.

The Greenway is not just nature: in fact, from the route of the former railway, you can admire Nazzano, whose powerful castle built by the Malaspina marquises around 1000, strategically dominates the entrance to the valley and the entire Greenway. The ancient history of these lands appears in other points along the route: Rivanazzano Terme boasts one of the few pentagonal towers in. Europe, Retorbido is home to the neoclassical Durazzo-Pallavicini palazzo, and there are thermal springs in Rivanazzano and in the nearby Salice. From the noble and Roman Iria (Voghera) to the medieval village of Varzi, there are plenty of historical and monumental treasures in the Staffora, Ardivestra, Nizza and Tidone valleys, all waiting to be discovered, sustainably,from the shared cycle and pedestrian path.


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