OverviewAn incredible climb on pavel road (10 km) that starts with a slope of almost constant at 9%, then open 7,5 thousand meters of dirt road for a total of 45 hairpin bends and a drop of nearly 1700 meters.
It is the ancient Alpine Road from Meana to the Windows Hill (Susa Valley-Piedmont).
Site of one of the most beautiful and hard Mountain Round of the Tour of Italy.
You will reah the Hill between Susa and Chisone Valley, a marvelous panoramic point on the Western Alps.
And then, on the end of your trail, a "breakneck speed" descent on this road that we can rightly consider a natural "Roller Coaster".
Time: 5 hours (4h + 1h gone back)
Difference in altitude: 1700 meters
Medium gradient 9% / maximum gradient 12%
Type: asphalt 10 km (50%), gravel 7.5 (40%)
Recommended Period: from June to September
Cell Phone Coverage 100%
Access: motorway exit Susa Torino - Bardonecchia motorway turn onto the Sp 172 and continue to Susa. At the junction you reach for Meana, then High Meana and park your car.
Cartography: paper trail and shelters 1:50.000 n. 1 Susa and Chisone Germanasca
Getting ThereTake the A32 Motorway Turin-Bardonecchia exit Susa West (40 Km from Turin- 37 Km from Bardonecchia).
Then follow the Statal Road ss24 direction Susa.
After 3,8 Km turn on your right direction Low Meana.
After you have reached High Meana (provincial road 172) you have to park your car at the beginning of the road to the "Windows Hill".
The TrailAfter going through the houses of Meana , at the junction on the right to Frais -Madonna della Losa (km 2.5 mt. 691 ) , the road enters decisively into a dense deciduous forest,away from direct sunlight.
Here begins an endless sequence of bends , it will count as many as 33 to the Hill . The state of the road surface is discrete , although presenting a certain roughness , the slopes are always incurred , never to below 8 % and 10% with some sections . You can not help but make note of the hairpin turns at the mighty works of containment, true masterpieces of military engineering.
We cross progressively throughout the range from chestnut forest that then goes to the conifers, to face around some 9 km long beams that allow you to see down the whole valley of Susa dominated by the characteristic shape of the Rocciamelone.
The road then runs along a mighty rock wall and turned decidedly in the direction of the valley of the windows and at km 10.1 we see for the first time our destination, still very far . We are now near the Hill of Meana , which we soon reach at km . 10.7 at an altitude of 1452 mt.
Then enter in the park Orsiera/Rocciavrè , as clearly indicated by an information panel which also points out that the road from here on out is accessible only from June to October.
After a stop for supplies of fresh water to the fountain next to the only existing building again for the second part of the ascent, the dirt road is now in fair condition, and climbs on the sides of the mountain with switchbacks interspersed with long beams . The landscape is typical alpine : pastures, and some alpine dark coniferous forests.
At km 12.1 overcome the stream and pass on the other side of the mountain. Go past the chalets Alpe Casette ( 14,1 km - 1764 mt ), the vegetation becomes sparse and now we are going to tackle the hardest part but also the most spectacular.
In front of us looms majestically from the top to the imposing fort of Windows, which dominates the passage, you get up to share with many curves passing extensive pastures with a curious name "Plan Tiraculo" (pull ass plan) , from which you can enjoy a beautiful view the valley below.
One last effort and you reach the Windows Hill( 18.7 km - 2178 mt ) .
The "Rollercoaster" Video.
Sentinel of Stone (Video)Above the village of Meana, branches, locked chestnut woods, a path full of interesting achievements of road engineering, implemented to overcome the considerable altitude mountain (1700m.).
Going slowly, chestnut trees give way to conifer, and later climbing in plan Tiraculo in meadows, which converge on the head of the valley until it reaches a height of 2215 meters the Col of the Windows.
In 1888, the military road that was built starting from Meana, climbed the hill to the crossing of the windows, and then descend to Prà Catinat and Fenestrelle. Combining the two Valleys, with a good stock (Susa and Chisone).
The road was built with a plan to run five meters wide. For the boldness of the track, was judged one of the most impressive works of military engineering road.
How to put in evidence the French commenting the works on a military review of the Alps: "Les Italiens ingegneurs ont bien travaillé au col de la Fenestre".
The final cost of the direction of the military genius of Turin was of 484,000 lire (of that time).
Until the sixteenth century, the whole area was fortified by the Piedmont. The crest of the divide that separates the valley Susa from the Valley Chisone, was considered strategic for the defense of the border with France. At the same time were built, with great difficulty due to the high altitude, many roads that led from the valley floor to the fortified
positions. For nearly four centuries, this road system of high altitude, was continuously improved and extended, gradually allowing the transit of large contingents, of not only military but also wagons, artillery, and finally trucks.
Overall, the entire road system of the Plateau of Assietta is thirty Km. of dirt roads, of which nine kilometers from Meana to the Windows Hill (drop 1700m), characterized by a constant gradient of 9% and 45 switchbacks, are a bright and accessible example of this engineering masterpiece of mountain road.
The fort of the windows hill was built in 1891, digging into the rock of the hill; was manned by 130 men and armed with two rapid-fire guns in armored retractable dome.
On the rocks in front of the fort are still visible incisions left by the military that have ruled the fort.
The whole area is surrounded by rhododendrons in late summer color of fuchsia on the Hill.