Preamble40 kilometers of plains to reach the summit?
This is possible, it is not a joke; the summit in question is the Cavour Rock, near Turin.
It is all that remains of an immense mountain almost completely submerged by the sediments that formed the Po Valley.
This hilltop in the middle of nowhere (it is just 162 meters high), contains so much history and charm to fill a book of six hundred pages, and it can take you a full day to explore it by mountain bike.
All this for the price of a long bike ride on roads to reach the Rock.
You will not regret going to the Mountain Bike, because once you get there, thanks to it, you can explore every path and historic place having fun like a crazy in the Downhill.
Large Panorama over the Western Alps
Overview:"Numquam vidi montem seiunctum a monte nisi roccam Caburri"
(I had never seen a mountain that stands alone from others such as the Cavour Rock.)
Cavour, is not only the name of the first Italian prime minister (1861), but it is also a beautiful city at the foothills of the Western Alps.
The "Rock", is an Alpine peak which rises 162 meters on the floodplain; an isolated rock dating back to about 30 million years ago. It is therefore particularly visible because it rises in the area particularly flat and gives the impression of being some sort of nothing.
The Cavour Rock is a Monadnock, which is the top of a mountain completely surrounded by the alluvial plain. It is part of the Dora-Maira Alpine Massif and by the geological point of view results to be an outcrop of granite, with the top covered by schists.
The first human settlements of the rock dating to the Neolithic period average, thanks to the presence of rock paintings and artifacts dating from the fourth millennium before Christ. The places was then inhabited in the period before the Roman conquest, who transformed : "Caburrum" (the rock), in a fortress. In the tenth century AD was destroyed by the Arabs, was rebuilt and passed from hand to hand (from one lordship to another), until in 1242 ( imperial concession) passed definitively to Savoy.
The fortress erected on the tops was attacked and conquered in 1592 by the Huguenots of Lesdiguires, reconquered by Charles Emmanuel I of Savoy, it was finally destroyed by the French Marshal Catinat (age of King Sun Louis XIV) in 1690.
In 1931 on the tank of the castle (fully excavated in the rock) and containing the remains of people massacred by the soldiers of Catinat in 1690, was built a memorial pillar.
In 1955 was built on the site of the fortress(of which a few ruins remain) a votive chapel dedicated to Our Lady.
take the S.S.145 Vinovo-Scalenghe. Once you arrive in Scalenghe (40'), you have to follow the S.S. 139 and you arrive to Villafranca (40').
After Villafranca you will have excellent point of reference on the Rock, which stands out as an island in the middle of the plain.
From Villafranca you have to take the S.S.151 and in about 30', you will reah Cavour.
Visualizza Vinovo-Cavour in una mappa di dimensioni maggiori
Visualizza Cavour Mbike in una mappa di dimensioni maggiori
Once at the base of the rock, the starting point is the narrow road that leads to the summit (1.4 km) Be very careful in tight corners, you can see the cars, whose transit is prohibited only at night.
At the first bend (sign), a well-trodden path on the South-East of the Rock will lead you to Solar Stone (20 'round trip).
Returning to the road at the last bend there is a stone engraved with the "cups" rituals dating back to Neolithic times.
At the end of the road there is a public parking lot of the Rock. You can fill up with fresh water from the fountain.
In front of you, going east, climbs a path that will lead to the tower "Bramafam" is a wonderful panoramic terrace of the Maritime Alps.
Alternatively, taking the path that descends to the north, you can reach in ten minutes the hermit's cave.
Follow the road up the hill from the parking lot that is made of noisy Pavè will reach the steep staircase that takes you to the Marian shrine of the summit.
The top is perfectly flat and level, you can cycle freely on a soft grass, surrounded by the pitiful remains of the walls of the fortress destroyed.
To the north, you will have a spectacular view of the Western Alps and the King of Stone (Mount Monviso).
Your trip does not end there, you can pick the downhill, following the many paths through the forest on the north side of the Rock.
The Abbey of St. Mary was founded in 1037 by the Bishop of Turin Landolfo, in the same spot where once stood a church dating from the eighth century, probably destroyed by the Saracens of Frassinetto before 1000.
The Abbey lived centuries of glory, governed for over 40 abbots, especially the Benedictines, and also contributed to the growth of the town of Cavour.
On the threshold of 1300 began a slow decline, culminating in the destruction of Lesdiguieres by the French in 1592. The reconstruction in 1728 followed the canons of Baroque and caused a significant reduction from the original building.
After decades of neglect today is a fine example of artistic and functional recovery of a building that is a fundamental part of the historical and monumental center of Cavour.
In front of the Abbey is the Archaeological Museum of Cavour, filled with spectacular Roman remains found in the area.
Witness of thousands years.
Since the Middle Neolithic, it appears to have recorded the existence of the so-called Culture of the Vase with Square Mouth. Have been found fragments of vases in ceramic material belonging to their own culture with decoration "barbed wire", dating back to about half of the fourth millennium BC. It would also be conceivable that an attendance at the ripe old age of metals, while lack of reliable data regarding the attendance during the Paleolithic.
Other examples include, as discussed in more detail, a rock painting and engraving.
The main and most beautiful examples dating from the Neolithic period are:
The "la Pansa d'la Roca " (the belly of the rock), is a rock on which is engraved a large circle surrounding an area in relief, which is placed at the center of a large cupel. It is a valuable monument of clear megalithic tradition, connected to fertility rites and worship the Sun.
Petroglyphs are widely present in all the Alpine valleys. Rock carvings in the shape of the claw, the cups and the hand.
The "Anthropomorphic Ecstatic" painting of the Rock, the painting is more beautiful and meaningful, was unfortunately (some years ago) covered with paint from an imbalanced.
The siege of Cavour.
The attack on the town of Cavour by France in June 1690, must be seen in the war broke out between France and the Kingdom of Savoy state after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV (the Sun King).
The duke refused to give some possessions to France and formed an alliance with the "Grand Alliance".
In piedmont dropped a Franco-Spanish army of 20,000 soldiers, commanded by Marshal of France Catinat.
He brought with so ruthless towards the civilian population, had received an order from the Minister of War, Louvois to "Scorched Earth."
Inside the walls, there would be six hundred men of the communal militia of Mondovi, two or three hundred "Other" (peasants), while a company of the regiment "Monferrato" he presided over the old castle on the summit of the rock.
On June 7, at dawn, the French (1,200 soldiers with three guns) entered the city, looting, burning and passing to the sword all who were found.
All the survivors fled into the castle, where, with a pincer movement (attack from two directions), in a short time the French were able to obtain the surrender of the defenders.
The prisoners, military and civilian, were all slaughtered on the spot and their bodies thrown into the well of the fortress.
Only eighty women and a house were spared the fury of the French.
Flying over the Cavour Rock.
With just 162 meters of its height above the surrounding countryside, the 72 hectares covered by forests composed of mostly deciduous chestnut, locust and oak, its rocky outcrops, to create a strong contrast with the surrounding plain, completely occupied by monoculture farming in recent decades, have unified this environment, impoverishing greatly under the naturalistic.
If, with a little effort of imagination, we see from all this, imagining covered with feathers, perhaps tired and hungry after crossing a stretch of the Alps during the migration, that's the Rocca di Cavour is much more than a curiosity and landscape, becomes a place to find shelter and food, and for many a suitable environment to live and breed permanently.
As is evident from the table, the number of species that frequents the Rock is very varied, some also in the surrounding plains, but most related to this particular environment.
From 1995 to 2000, were captured and ringed (in a bloodless manner), all species of birds that frequent the rock. In order to define a census of the birdlife of the new nature park.
Great Tit: 83
Blue Tit: 50
Long-tailed Tit: 86
Black Redstart: 1
Long-eared Owl: 2
Tree Sparrow: 29
Green Woodpecker: 5
Alpine Accentor: 1
Mistle Thrush: 2
Muciatto Bunting: 72
When to Bike.All the year.
Po River Park