In Valle di Susa, along the Via Francigena
Stretching back to ancient times the Valle di Susa has been a central point for connecting Italia with France, through the Monginevro and Moncenisio passes.
The medieval period endorsed its European leading role for merchants, armies, aristocrats, men of Church and pilgrims who were aiming to reach Roma, the epicentre of Christianity, or Santiago de Compostela, the ancient religious destination.
Already in 333 AD, the Monginevro Pass was crossed by the anonymous author of Itinerarium burdigalense (the oldest description of a Christian pilgrimage route): precise notes were made of the mansiones and the stationes in Valle di Susa, some of which are now important archaeological sites; starting from the early Middle Ages, the Moncenisio Pass became one of the nerve centres with the first arrival in Italia of Charlemagne in 773 for the Battle of the Chiuse against the Longobards.
The intense flow of people along the Via Francigena generated a constant exchange of knowledge, languages and religion: monasteries of international renown, places of worship, chapels, villages, hospitalia, xenodochia, inns and hotels, fortified castles, strongholds and palaces were built.
These days, going along the Via Francigena in the Valle di Susa means a journey for discovering art, nature and culture, where also the cuisine, the typical seasonal products, the fetes and fairs of ancient tradition are still a living expression of the territory’s identity.
It is through this varied and authentic panorama that the route meanders for over 170km with two historical variants, starting from Moncenisio and Monginevro towards the valley floor and on towards Torino.