Ready for a dip in the past, between wild valleys, historic villages and natural water pools? We will take you to Valchiusella, Piedmont. Here the landscape in the last 3 centuries has remained almost the same, because the inaccessible territory has prevented the industry to arrive. Nature is the master, with numerous watercourses and a very rich alpine fauna. People live in charming villages nestled in the mountains, where the pastures and agriculture seem to take you back in time.
The Valchiusella is a wide valley north of Turin, which takes its name from the stream that runs through it. It is a land with a very long history. The first inhabitants date back to prehistoric times, shortly after the last glaciation. The valley, which is located at an altitude between 500 and 700 meters, is divided into 10 municipalities. We cross the whole valley, full of points of interest, to get to the town of Traversella, where there is the village of Fondo (the last of the valley, in fact). This is the starting point of the slow itinerary that we propose.
The village of Fondo and the Ribondone waterfall
Fondo is a bit like a postcard of Valchiusella, it is the hamlet that closes the valley and is an excellent starting point for a wide range of routes. The small village of Fondo is connected to the road by a Romanesque stone bridge, which can only be crossed on foot. The whole rustic village is very characteristic, with stone roofs typical of Valle d’Aosta and northern Piedmont. In the village there is a bar and restaurant open all year round, where you can try typical Piedmontese dishes.
Just below the bridge there is a small waterfall, but we just need to climb a hundred meters to discover the beautiful Cascatella di Fondo. We reach it by crossing another very suggestive stone bridge (in the photo on the cover). Just below the waterfall there is a natural pool of crystal clear water (one of the most beautiful natural pools in Piedmont), where we can finally cool off by taking a dip.
Short excursion to the mountain village of Tallorno
From the Cascatella di Fondo we continue for a short excursion to the village of Tallorno. We walk along the dirt road arriving from Fondo and after 1 km and a half slightly uphill through the beech woods we discover the ancient village. The place is truly fairytale, the natural architecture is immersed in the pastures of the valley in full harmony with the surrounding landscape. From here you can return to Fondo, along the path that runs along the other side of the valley or continue the hike to the peaks above.
In fact, you will find numerous indications of paths along this route, for example, continuing along the road from Fondo you can reach the malghe (huts) (where this legend of an old hermit is set). With an intense walk you can then reach the Bocchetta delle Oche (2415 m), from where you can enjoy the view of the whole Valchiusella.
Other excursions and pearls of the Valchiusella near Fondo
Another itinerary not to be missed is the one that leads to the Piani di Coppia, through the Sentiero delle Anime. It is a path rediscovered in the 70s that runs through some “sacred” places. Along the way there are in fact numerous rock carvings that are thought to have been made by a pagan population, and then be recognized by Christians. The route lasts about 2 h 30′ and is of medium difficulty. The path starts from the center of Traversella (a few kilometers before the bottom) and at this link you will find more information.
If, on the other hand, what struck you most was the Ribondone waterfall, then when you return from Fondo you might think of stopping for a swim at the Guje di Garavot. A series of gorges, where the Valchiusella stream slows down and creates a series of pools, where the locals are used to go to enjoy the cool and take a dip. The gorges are located in Alice Superiore, at the beginning of the Valchiusella and can be reached by taking a short path from the road.
In Valchiusella there are also the Temples of Humanity of Damanhur! Some consider them the eighth wonder of the world, but I do not anticipate anything and leave you to read the original article!