What happens when passion intersects with the desire to transform your life This is the story of Casa BART, a B&B that annually welcomes hundreds of guests who enjoy sports vacations in the Maira Valley. It specializes in providing services dedicated to cycling tourism.
Villar San Costanzo: This must be the place
While the Cuneo area offers an ideal terrain for cycling, boasting miles of roads that ignite excitement and quicken the pulse of bike enthusiasts, Villar San Costanzo stands as a small town strategically positioned at the nexus of various cycling destinations and more. From there, one can access legendary destinations that have etched their place in cycling history, spanning from Val Maira to Val Varaita and Val Grana. Moreover, it offers the opportunity to continue along the EuroVelo 8 route, dedicated to exploring the Mediterranean.
Augusta, a former marketing manager, and Luca, an ISEF graduate and athletic trainer, had no doubts when they found themselves choosing where to place their buen retiro dedicated to biking: this must be the place.
Casa Bart: love and bike
Born from the passion for cycling that brought Augusta and Luca together, leading to their marriage, Casa BART (which takes its name from the nickname used at Luca’s ISEF, his surname being Bartolini) emerges with all the services that they, as cycling enthusiasts, have experienced (or wished to experience) during their bike journeys. At their place, whoever arrives by bike or bicycle finds an alarmed bike room and a small bike repair room, the e-bike charging, bike rental, abike wash area, laundry, gym and massage, a super breakfast. Moreover you have the chance to request snacks for your trips as well as dine-in, transfer services, early and late check-in.
But at Casa BART you can really breathe the love for the two wheels. If Augusta channels her creativity in the kitchen, Luca shines as an exceptional Bike Manager. His expertise ranges from offering simple advice to discovering and sharing routes that predominantly traverse peaceful back roads, away from heavy traffic. He also can providie hands-on guidance, serving as a Bicycle Tour Guide for the Piedmont Region.
Gravel and Cycling Holidays
Being located in the lower valley, at 620 m asl, the opportunities for cycling around Casa BART are many and practicable almost year-round.
Riding a gravel or touring bike suitable for mixed terrains, there are easy and pedal-friendly half-day excursions, as well as longer rides that include substantial elevation gain. These journeys can range from extended rides to multi-stage trips, all aimed at discovering the territory.
Have you ever visited the Saluzzo plain during the period of peach and apple blossom? The Saluzzo area is renowned for its fruit crops: kiwis, apples and peaches, in fact. From March to May, the countryside is dyed in shades of pink and then white, and to slowly traverse the secondary roads that run alongside the orchards is akin to witnessing the rebirth of nature.
For those who, instead, love the history of small villages, a bit of elevation and cycling through the woods, the path of the Antiche Borgate (Ancient Hamlets) is an itinerary that leads to the discovery of some of the 93 hamlets that comprised the municipality of Roccabruna, located a few kilometers from Villar San Costanzo An intriguing loop that, before returning to Casa BART, includes the medieval village of Dronero, with its Devil’s Bridge, the ancient Riviera Mill dating back to the 1400s and still operational, and the suspended Tibetan bridge, hanging 20 meters above the Maira stream.
And if you love adventure, joviality, the mingling of different languages and dialects that, between a beer and an herbal tea under a starry sky, exchange tales of legendary bike journeys, know that Villar San Costanzo is grazed each year by the Turin-Nice Rally, a 700 km permanent itinerary from Turin to Nice, crossing the Ligurian, Cottian, and Maritime Alps.
Road cycling and mountain biking
If you love climbing, asphalt, and challenging your limits, know that in the province of Cuneo, there are some of the climbs made famous by the Giro d’Italia: Colle dell’Agnello, Colle Fauniera, and Pian del Re. Not to mention the Colle della Maddalena and the Colle di Sampeyre. And if you approach climbs with an “ethical” mindset, all these legendary ascents are within a 50 km radius from Casa BART.
Every year in June, thousands of cyclists from around the world gather in Cuneo for the Granfondo Fausto Coppi, one of the toughest and most challenging races in Italy.
Since Luca and Augusta’s personal bike room also accommodates two mountain bikes, fun for wider tires is not overlooked, even in the lower valley.
The Strada dei Cannoni (Road of Cannons) is an iconic military road, built along the ridge between Valle Maira and Valle Varaita. It starts directly from Casa BART, reaching 2300 meters over a stretch of 56 km. Its main feature is the breathtaking panorama of the Maritime Alps and the Cottian Alps that can be enjoyed while traversing it.
Staying a bit lower but favored by its exposure, making it passable from March to September, Mount Pagliano offers several paths immersed in chestnut woods, fruit trees, and vineyards, many featuring varieties unique to this area, such as the Round Apricot P.A.T. of Costigliole di Saluzzo and the Quagliano grape.