Updated: Jun 12, 2020
Once upon a time, a spectacular abbey was built right on the top of Mount Pirchiano, just 40km from Turin. It took only a few years, from 983 to 987 to end what is now considered one of the symbolic monuments of my region, Piedmont.
Let me tell you more about this special place!
On a sunny Sunday afternoon during my Christmas holidays we decided to organise a daily trip to enjoy the beautiful weather and the precious time with my family and my dear friend Mimi. Sacra di San Michele is just about 1h far from where I live and...
it's true, sometimes we tend to underestimate what's around us because we're used to it. We travel all over the world, and we barely know what surrounds us since we were born. It's a paradox, isn't it ?
The road to Sacra di San Michele is spectacular : it goes up on the mount with a panoramic view on Susa Valley and the Avignana Lakes. Once arrived, there's a big parking and the visitors need to walk on a tree pathway to reach the abbey.
Sacra di San Michele fits inside a route of pilgrimage, Via Saenti Michaelis, which runs for over 2000km from Mont Saint Michel to Castel Sant'Angelo in Apulia, in fact it's dedicated to the Archangel Michel, defender of Christian people. The church dominates the landscape because of its size and the rocky crag base which makes it so incredible, like it was entirely part of nature. The predominant styles are Gothic and Romanesque, the building results from consecutive enlargements made over a millenium.
Visitors can visit the Church and the crypt then admire the panoramic view on Susa Valley and the fascinating surrounding mountains from the outside terrace. I was surprise to discover that the main Church hosts the tombs of the members of Savoy House, one of the oldest royal family in the world. The main staircase, Scalone dei Morti (Stairway of the Dead), gives access to the Portale dello Zodiaco (Zodial Gateway), flanked by arches, niches and tombs.
We had the chance to admire an incredible sunset with fading colours from light blue to pink and orange. Wow, the view was spectacular and it contributed to the creation of a mystic experience. The gardens show the damages of several fires that hit the abbey, the ancient building instruments and the pulley that was used by Benedictines monks to bring stuff up to the abbey. It's not a surprise that Sacra di San Michele inspired one of the most famous Italian writer, Umberto Eco, for his romance Il nome della rosa (The name of the rose).
This fascinating, mysterious and mystic place is definitely worthing a visit !
Practical Information :
In Winter: from October 16 to March 15 weekdays: 9:30-12:30; 14:30-17:00 Sundays and festive:days: 9:30-12:00; 14:40-17:00
In Summer: from March 16 to October 15 weekdays: 9:30-12:30; 14:30-18:00 Sundays and festive days: 9:30-12:00; 14:40-18:30
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