As you leave the plains behind you the land rises sharply in rolling hills as far as the mountains and then on to the sea. The Alto Oltrepò area is, in fact, a small area which is accessed at the end of the Staffora valley which the Ardivestra and Nizza valleys join.
The landscape is hilly and dotted with attractive medieval villages, castles, fortresses and patrician residences but its natural environment also invites you to walk through its forests.
There are many farm holiday hotels, trattorias and restaurants which seem not to want travellers to leave.
A journey through the Alto Oltrepò is, in fact, a journey through the gourmet flavours of a fertile rural countryside: agnolotti alla vogherese, ravioli alla varzese, spinach beet malfatti, chicken liver risotto, peperonate, boiled meats and mostarda, braised beef, charcuterie (Varzi salame, bacon, coppa, cotechino, sanguinacci), mushrooms, truffles, bread, fruit, honey, hard almond cakes, 'ossa dei morti', doll shaped biscuits (Büsélâ) and - obviously - wine.
Here, as Cesare Angelini wrote, the air is suffused with the sweetness of grapes and must.
Note that two of the area's towns are part of the Borghi più Belli d'Italia - most beautiful towns in Italy - club: Zavattarello and Porana (part of Pizzale), the latter is outside this itinerary and a few kilometres from Voghera on the Voghera-Pavia road.
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