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Le strade di Torino

Ride or Hike the Beautiful Colle Della Maddalena

Ride or Hike the Beautiful Colle Della Maddalena

I moved to Torino from a thriving little metropolis in the north-west of the USA called Portland, Oregon. Like Torino, Portland is packed with avid cyclists of all shapes, including all variations of mountain bike riders. Unlike Portland, Torino is also interlaced with hundreds of trails for everyone to enjoy! Whether you desire a simple dirt path where you can get away from traffic and embrace nature, or a steep and technical track full of jumps, berms, and rock gardens, you can have it all within 20 minutes of your favorite tacos.


Activity | Mountain Bike or Hike

Expected Route Time | 1.5-3 hrs depending on route and personal energy

When is best? The park is always open and well shaded so any time the trails are not muddy is a good time to go. Spring is a great time to bring a camera along!

GPS Track

Cost | Free!

Into the Hills of Torino

The hills that form the south-east border of the city are littered with all manner of trails for hiking, mountain biking, trail running, or horseback riding. Many of these tracks are maintained by the local chapter of the Club Alpino Italiano (CAI), and by passionate local mountain bikers. There are several well-known loops throughout the vast trail systems, and one notable route tops out at the city’s highest vantage-point, Bric della Colle Maddellena. At 715m, the vista of the city, surrounding mountains, and the Po Valley make for a splendid stop along the way.

Climb CAI 16

The route begins with a brisk wind up through the carefully forested Parco Giacomo Leopardi, then takes riders along some quiet neighborhood streets and trails. The last few kilometers of the ascent switchback into Parco della Rimembranza. In addition to paying respect to the fallen Torinesi soldiers of the First World War, this park is an experimental forest showcasing 400 different botanical species. The wide pedestrian paths in the park are lined with plaques dedicated to the fallen soldiers, and there are several larger memorial statues in homage.

If you lose your way on the climb you can almost always take the trail or road that points up. Every path ends at the summit or leads to one that does. When you reach the top you will see a giant stone statue of an angel holding a torch. The monument, titled “The Light of Victory” (Faro Della Vittoria), looks out over Torino as if on an extended watch. Its view of the city and snow-capped northern peaks is particularly beautiful on a clear day. To the statue’s back, restaurants and bars line the busy hilltop streets and I often stop for a coffee before choosing what trail I want to descend.

Multiple descent Options

Once you have fully soaked in the view and sipped all the €1 espresso you like, it’s time to enjoy the spoils of your hard work. There are a handful of descents into Torino, and one option to coast toward Moncalieri.

  • If you are looking for a relaxed gravel road descent you can turn around and retrace your path to the top.
  • For a full singletrack descent, find CAI 12, just north-east of the statue. The trails cross several larger paths and all important intersections are well signed.
  • Another option on the way down is to take CAI 12 until you reach the main road, then pedal south (left) until you find CAI 11. This route is easy to follow with the help of apps like Open Cycling Maps.   
  • To experience some of the rowdy trails in the hills of Torino, head to the top of the small hill to the south-west of the statue (over its left shoulder). You will find a small church at the top, and the beginning of CAI trails 1, 30, and 5. CAI 1 and 30 cross over one another several times as they descend toward Moncalieri. Once you reach pavement you can either continue the descent on CAI 1 or take the road north-west to CAI 11 to finish the descent. This route is also easily linked together with the help of any popular GPS app.

For longer weekend excursions, many of these trails can be linked together to create a full day of riding or hiking in the city. With bull-headed water fountains and numerous cafes along the way, you can enjoy a beautiful day in the forest while carrying very little with you.

After a full day of exploring these trails, I like to celebrate with pizza and beer at Birrificio La Piazza or fajitas and margaritas at Habanero.

All images © 2018 Gerow