The Francigena path along the left of the Dora Riparia starts from Bussoleno
and goes alongside the railway line until reach Grangia
. The route continues along an asphalt road, going in front of an ancient stronghold
(12th century), an interesting example of Romanesque civic architecture. Located at the entrance to the Riserva dell’Orrido di Chianocco
, the town consists of numerous villages, but its oldest heart in Campoasciutto
is characterised by the majestic fortification of the Castle
(13th century) and the Parish Church of San Pietro Apostolo
in front of it, which was built after the flood that destroyed its Romanesque predecessor of which remains just the bell-tower
. Also noteworthy is the Cemetery Chapel of Sant’Ippolito
(11th century), decorated with fine 15th century frescoes.
The road descends towards Vindrolere
and, going across an area full of vegetable fields, farmland, woods and vineyards, comes to the outlying homes of Bruzolo
: this takes alongside an ancient forge
operated by a hydraulic system, one of the most complex early-industrial complexes in the Susa Valley. Some of the buildings worth investigating are the 18th century Parish Church of San Giovanni Evangelista
and the Castle
(13th century), transformed over time into a stately residence of families loyal to the Savoy court and the place where the Bruzolo Treaties
(1610) were signed between the Duke of Savoy and the King of France.
Having passed through the village, the road continues to descend, going into the paved road that circuits the mountain slopes along which there spreads the municipality of San Didero. An ancient feudal estate of families connected to the Savoy dynasty, the oldest part is clustered around the crenellated walls of the stronghold’s massive tower, possibly the keep of a former castle. The Parish Church of San Desiderio, in a panoramic position, was dependent on the Provostship of Oulx.
After the stronghold, the path continues in the direction of Borgone Susa
. Just before the town, an interesting deviation leads to Maometto
, a beautiful place with ancient roots: at a clearing there is a carved rock depicting an open-armed person, which local tradition has suggested is the Arab prophet Mohammed, although it is more likely to be the Latin rural divinity, Silvano
. The path goes alongside the railway line and reaches the main square of the town where there is the 17th century Palazzo Montabone
, now the Town Hall. You go past the Parish Church of San Nicola di Bari
and, with a diversion beneath the flyover, the road leads to Ponte di Sant’Antonino
- possible link to the Francigena routes - and to San Valeriano
: here there is the Romanesque chapel of the same name (11th-12th century) with decoration in the apse showing Cristo Pantocratore
A short stretch of cycle path parallel to the SS24 leads to Molere
where a dirt road goes through meadows: a diversion to the left provides a flat road for skirting the mountain through to Grangetta
and the picnic area on the Gravio stream. A broad pavement along the state road leads to the outskirts of Condove
, one of the largest towns in the valley consisting of 74 mountain hamlets: some of these have a wealth of art, such as the Chapel of San Bernardo
(1430), the Parish Church of San Saturnino
and the Romanesque Chapel of San Rocco
, formerly Santa Maria del Prato. At the foot of the rocky ridge there is the Castle of Conte Verde
: mentioned since the 13th century. As a dependency of the San Giusto monastery of Susa, it had a defensive and residential role.
The cart-track then reaches Caprie
whose name comes from the overhanging mount Caprasio
, which can be hiked to from Celle
: a beautiful spot due to the presence of the hermit’s cave
of San Giovanni Vincenzo, founder of the Sacra di San Michele and of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta
which has a crypt with 10th century frescoes. The main route continues along the cycle path going alongside the straight road that leads to Novaretto
: the 19th century Parish Church of the Saints Rocco e Sebastiano
offers an interesting two-tone effect by alternating black and white bands, while inside there is a rich caisson structure in the central nave.
Having left behind the last houses of Novaretto, the route turns into a dirt road, bordering the Collina della Seja
. To avoid the busy SS24, an easy path climbs to Torre del Colle
, part of Villar Dora
constructed in 1289 by order of Amedeo V of Savoy for the purpose of defending the ford on the Dora Riparia: on this ridge, in a wooded area is the Chapel of San Pancrazio
, containing a cycle of late 15th century frescoes. Then the route descends and comes across a secondary way that leads to the town centre. This is dominated by the majestic Provana Castle
which is the result of combining three older strongholds – in the 13th century it was extended and renovated in neo-Gothic style. Not far away there is also the Parish Church of the Saints Vincenzo e Anastasio
, partially reconstructed in the 17th century, holding some important items of furniture and paintings commissioned by the Provana family. Also worth noting is the Museum of prehistory around the Dora Riparia
Continuing along the main road, you enter Almese
: in this originally Roman settlement, a Villa
has been discovered in Rivera
, one of the most important Latin residential buildings in Piedmont. Of great historical interest along the way is the Ricetto (medieval fort) of San Mauro
dating back to the 14th century. Built to defend the existing monastery, it incorporated part of its structures: the bell-tower was transformed into a tower while the main body of the building became the keep for the new castle, surrounded by two outer walls and used as the Ricetto.
Following the cycle path which goes through Milanere
, you go along a cart-track with little traffic, skirting the slopes of mount Musinè
until the entrance of Caselette
: on the right, on a rocky spur, rises the complex of Camerletto Castle
, dependence of the Abbey of Novalesa and built between the 11th and 12th centuries with the function of a fortified grange. On the slopes of Musinè there is the Sanctuary of Sant’Abaco
which reveals an ancient local cult referring to the martyrdom and which was built in the 5th or 6th centuries following the evangelisation of the Susa Valley population, up to that point still linked with pagan rites. The presence of a Roman road network can be seen – as at Almese – by a rustic villa
of the imperial period (1st-2nd century) situated in Pian
between the Malpensata
farmhouses. On the promontory where there is Caselette, there can also be seen Cays Castle
, possibly 14th century, frequently extended between the 17th and 19th centuries.
Among the religious buildings, there is the baroque Parish Church of San Giorgio martire
which contains 17th and 18th century paintings and beautifully executed 18th century wooden statues.
The Francigena way continues towards Turin. After Camerletto Castle, close to the SS24m, a dirt road goes through flat meadows and fields in the area going alongside the Dora Riparia: marked also as a cycle path, it takes for a pleasant walk to Ponte Vecchio of Alpignano, joining up with the route coming from Sant’Antonio di Ranverso.