Tanaro valley

Home / Territory / The Valleys / Tanaro valley
Garessio - Sanctuary of Valsorda
The village of Ormea
Cattle in the Tanaro valley

The Tanaro valley is the traditional linking point between Piedmont and the Ligurian Riviera. Thus the landscape is rich in contrasts. Wide open spaces extend between Ceva and Garessio with gentle wooded slopes, while the landscape becomes more rugged towards Ormea. The road along the Tanaro river features wonderful outcrops of quartzite emerging from the lush vegetation. The upper part of the valley offers the visitor a spectacular panorama, from Briga Alta to the hamlets of Viozene and Upega, from the Tanaro springs to Mount Mongioie. 

The valley boasts an important history, marked by the passage of people and trades since pre-Roman times, as proved by the remains found in the small Pennavaira valley.

The ruins of the castles of Nucetto, Perlo, Priola and Ormea and the Saracen towers are a tangible sign of the invasions of the Moors between the 8th and 11th centuries. Whilst Bagnasco features a Roman bridge, Garessio is also certainly worth a visit thanks to its ancient medieval town centre, its geo-speleological museum, the Valsorda Sanctuary and the San Bernardo mineral water springs, famed all over the world. In winter those who love skiing can go to the slopes of Garessio2000 and feel the emotion of skiing and watching the sea at the same time.

Ormea is an important summer resort, surrounded by thick woodland. The old town centre is a sort of labyrinth of alleys that the inhabitants call “trevi” and are very similar to those than we find in the Ligurian villages and towns. The parish church of San Martino boasts a series of Gothic frescoes dating back to the 14th century, a Crucifixion scene by Moncalvo and a valuable ethnographic museum. The dialect spoken at Ormea is a curious mix of Piedmontese, Ligurian, French ad Arab sounds and words: the Arab ones are due to the presence of the Moors in ancient times. Also from a gastronomic point of view Ormea has its own distinctive tradition: fözze, tultei fritti, sc-ciancui, are the names of some of the local dishes usually served with light wines like the one called sciac-trà.

The Bagnasco beans, the Ormea potatoes, the Caprauna white turnips and the delicious dried white chestnuts known as “garessine” are some of the local products and the woods of the valley are full of fragrant mushrooms, wild blueberries and strawberries. The pasture lands yield delicious cheese,  such as the small blocks of “Sora” or “Toma” and the bigger Ormea and Raschera. However the most typical dish is the buckwheat “polenta”, served with a traditional milk sauce, leeks and mushrooms.


How to get there
From Torino or Savona: take the A6 motorway and exit at Ceva, then follow the SS28 road that covers the entire valley up to Ormea.
One can reach the Tanaro valley also by train (Turin-Savona railways line, changing at Ceva). 


Events and shows
Bagnasco -  Il Bal do Sabre (traditional dance feast) – May
Nucetto – Zingarella Chickpea Feast – end of July
Nucetto - Chickpea Fair – October
Garessio -  Buckwheat “polenta” Fair – September
Garessio - Fair of the Garessio Chestnut – October
Ormea -  Buckwheat “polenta” Fair – July
•      Ormea – Feast of the lasagna - July 
•      Ormea - Fair of the Raschera Cheese and other Cheese Sorts - September
•      Ormea - Chestnut Fair - October

GARESSIO  Tourist office 
Piazza Carrara 137 - 12075 GARESSIO 
Ph. +39 0174 803145 - Fax +39 0174 805623
Ph. +39 0174 805644 (Comune)
infoturismo@garessio.net   proloco@garessio.net 

ORMEA Tourist Office
Via Roma 3 - 12078 ORMEA 
Ph/fax +39.0174.392157