Experience a unique holiday in Italy, running the trails of the beautiful Maira Valley, and visiting lakes and villages of Piedmont in the Province of Cuneo, Italy.
Unspoiled scenery and unpolluted fresh air await you during this self-guided trail running experience of a lifetime.
About the Maira Valley, Italy
Maira Valley (in Italian Val Maira or Valle Macra) is a valley in southwest of Piedmont in the Province of Cuneo, in North West Italy.
A traditional region of Italy with its ancient welcoming Occitan atmosphere, filled with traditional festivals and fantastic Italian food as it is the leading producer of confectionery, coffee, and white truffles in Italy.
Trail Running in Maira Valley
At the foot of the Alps lies Piedmont, bordering France and Switzerland surrounded by plains and hills on three sides.
The Piedmont region is the perfect place to experience a trail running holiday in Italy. Due to its location, the Maira Valley in Italy is a wonderland of mountainous geological landscapes, with unusual formations making it a magnificent destination for trail runners of all levels.
Surrounded by the stunning Italian Alps, the valley boasts countless trails and routes that wind through forests, meadows, and rugged mountain terrain. With varying levels of difficulty, runners can choose routes that range from short and scenic to longer and more challenging.
The trails are well-marked, and runners can take in breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, crystal-clear streams, and quaint alpine villages along the way. In addition to the natural beauty, the area is rich in history and culture, making it the perfect destination for those seeking a unique and enriching trail running experience.
Whether it’s your first time taking a mountain trail running holiday, or maybe you are a seasoned professional, either way, you cannot fail to be overwhelmed by the spectacular natural beauty of this region of Italy, as you enjoy your running holiday, taking in the sights and sounds of this ancient traditional area.
There are several running trails that can be taken, from the mountain paths and the more challenging routes to the ancient trails and yet more winding through the picturesque villages. Not only is it a great way to explore the area but runners can enjoy the stunning views, the fresh air and the glorious landscapes.
Moreover, these trails offer runners a unique opportunity to challenge themselves and push their limits in a safe environment. With its varied terrain, Maira Valley is an ideal place for trail running, with something suitable for all skill levels, including the village of Elva and the enchanting Hamlets of Marmora.
Elva, the pearl of Maira Valley
Elva is located in an incredible, panoramic spot, situated about 80 kilometres (50 miles) southwest of Turin and about 40 kilometres (25 mi) northwest of Cuneo. To add to its spectacular views, the village is an impressive 1637m above sea level.
Between the end of the 18th century and the middle of the 20th century, the people of Elva’s main trade was as hair merchants or “pelassiers” and had a thriving trade in hair, harvesting it in northern Italy and beyond and using it to craft wigs that were sought after all over the world; from Paris to London and even the United States.
As part of your self-guided trail running holiday, we would recommend a trip to the Pels Museum located in the Casa della Meridiana, in the hamlet of Serre, to discover this ancient craft.
Marmora and its lovely hamlets
Marmora is a small area of Italy that is home to a multitude of small villages and hamlets, each with its own charm and beauty. It is tucked away in the side valley of Elva, at an altitude of 1223 metres. Visitors who come here will find stunning scenery, with incredible views across the Alps and the picturesque Marmora Pass. This area has a rich historical and artistic heritage history too; and is believed to have been the site of a Roman military garrison.
|Time of departure||Flexible|
|INCLUDED IN THE PRICE||
|NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE||
*This tour is based on a minimum of two participants. Only the services mentioned above are included in the price. Single travellers should expect to pay an extra fee for single rooms in hotels. Luggage transfer is only available for two or more participants.
Learn what to bring on this tour here
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|Ticket Type||Adult, Child (under 13 years)|
This is an example of a tour on this route. Your final itinerary may be different depending on availability of rooms at the time of your booking.
Total distance: 81,1 km (6 days)
Level: Medium to experienced
Day 1: Arrival in Elva
Once you arrive at Dronero, the main village of the Maira Valley, our local guide Valentina Scigliano (a passionate trail runner) will welcome you and explain all the tours and paths to you. A welcome pack will be given to you with lots of information including a detailed map of the valley as well as a Maira Valley t-shirt.
Your guide will always be available during your stay in the valley for any information, questions, concerns or other support that you may require.
Following a briefing at the Tourist Office, you will drive in the direction of Elva.
As you drive along the winding mountain road up to Elva you may begin to feel as if you are going nowhere. It’s exactly at that very moment, after the last turning, that you finally get to see it: a beautiful pearl, set under a breathtaking crown made of 3.000m-high mountain peaks surrounding it.
Upon arrival Lorella your host at the Locanda di Elva will welcome you in the central hamlet, where the pelassiers (hair gatherers) used to perform their trade. After a short relaxing warm-up walk to the panoramic “Fremo Cuncunà“, you will taste some typical Occitan recipes in the Locanda.
Up: 245 m
Down: 245 m
Day 2: Borgata Chiosso of Elva
You will start running in Borgata Chiosso of Elva, 5 minutes by car from the Locanda.
8km and 1.500m of altitude are worth the effort because from the 3.000 m high top of Mount Chersogno you will feel on top of the world! The view from there is amazing and the path is completely suitable for running to the very top.
The return route follows the same track.
The dinner at the Locanda will be the icing on the cake following this first day of your trail running holiday!
Up: 1310 m
Down: 1310 m
Day 3: Elva to Marmora
You will drive from Elva to Marmora (it is about 45 min by car).
After checking in, and leaving your baggage at the beautiful Locanda Lou Pitavin, you will start running directly from the front door up the hill in the direction of Mount Buch and Costa Chiggia.
The track goes through hamlets of incredible beauty, ridges and hills and goes down back to Locanda Lou Pitavin.
Up: 1168 m
Day 4: Around Rocca La Meja
After driving a further 15 min journey you will park your car at Grange Selvest (parking costs are 5€/day), across the bridge on the left side and your next trail run of Rocca La Meja will start from here. You will experience the best of Maira Valley running around one of the most iconic mountains of The Maira Valley, the Rocca La Meja.
A lengthy trail around the area provides you with the opportunity to explore the heights of 2,500 meters above sea level and the stunning Lake Nero.
Up: 1050 m
Down: 1050 m
Day 5: Lakes, waterfalls, hills and peaks
A 30-minute drive brings you to the parking place on the small square of Chiappera, the very last village of the Maira Valley.
Here you will start running in the direction of Stroppia Waterfall,
Lake Niera, Lake Auto Vallonasso, Lake Nove Colori, and then back on the long round track of the Dino Icardi trail.
This trail run is stunningly beautiful, the perfect finale to your incredible journey.
Day 6: The final taste of Occitan
On the last day of your journey in Maira Valley you’ll have two options:
1. Experience Celle di Macra’s wild area and its anchovy sellers – a short run and a visit to the anchovy makers museum are recommended.
View the details of the trail running track by clicking here.
Up: 550 m
Down: 550 m
2. Take the opportunity to visit the heart of the Occitan culture and history at the Occitan Museum in Dronero. You’ll be given a guided tour of the museum by their friendly staff.
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