It is an ancient mule track from San Ambrogio di Torino, which exceeds 600 meters in altitude to reach the summit of Mount Pirchiriano where there is the Monastery of St. Michael.
It was also called the Via dei Franchi and today is a popular path of faith (along the path you meet the fourteen Via Crucis stations). To climb this steep path paved with stones in Mounytain bike, I can assure you that you have to have a lot of faith in your legs and into your lungs.
Downhill then, you have to have absolute confidence in your brakes.
Most of the route I made it pushing the bike and not pedaling!
Good luck to all!
Follow the statal road, direction Susa, for five Km. then you have to follow the indications for Sant'Ambrogio of Turin.
In Sant'Ambrogio of Turin, from the car park in front of the train station (railway Turin-Susa or Turin-Bardonecchia alighting at Sant'Ambrogio Torinese).
Ride along Via Caduti per la Patria, at the end of which turn right to reach the parish church of St. John Vincent. A short ramp behind the church leads to the beginning of the paved mule path.
Trail DescriptionThe Trail
Reach the Parish Church of St. Giovanni Vincenzo in S. Ambrose (altitude 365 m). Go around the religious building past the bell tower dating from the eleventh century.
Take the road that goes up and exceeds the small church of San Rocco (XVII). Continue until it ends where it begins the old path to the Sacra di San Michele (altitude 409 m).
The trail is a wide, cobbled mule track where there are fourteen crosses representing the Stations of the Cross. The trail ends near a parking lot in the village of S. Peter (altitude 750 m, 120 min.), Where there is a large stone disc engraved with "Iubilaeum AD 2000."
Turn right in the direction of the Holy, now clearly visible, and go through the village of St. Pietro along a narrow path.
On the opposite side of the country will accompany the small church dedicated to St. Anne. Keep going and follow the signs. The road, arrived near the last house in the country, gives way to a path through a forest of chestnut trees.
Come to a deviation (864 m altitude, 15 minutes from St. Peter's), you can decide: going left you will reach the square / parking Sacra (Hill of the Black Cross) and then continue along the main avenue, turn right, you will go directly to the ancient Abbey.
For the return you can use the same path.
Pay close attention down to groups of faithful who go up.
Especially behind the tight bends, brake suddenly on those slopes and on those wet rocks is not a nice experience.
Estimated Time to descent about 30-40 '
STARTING RATE: 356 m
ASCENT: 580 m
LENGHT: 3,5 Km.
RISE TIME: 2 h 30 '
Recommended period: from late spring to early autumn
Description (UTM WGS84) Share
S. Ambrogio T 32 370680E 4995286N 356 m
S. Pietro T 32 369976E 4994904N 750 m
Colle della Croce 32 T 369317E 4994669N 869 m
Monastery of S. Michele T 32 369661E 4995189N 936 m
Appendix: FLAGSTONE TRAILSThe Sledge and the " Art of Slipping ".
The Muletrack is a historical witness of the mountain economy, typical not only of this area but also of many others alpine valleys. As we wlak on the slippery trail and are careful not to fall, we are tempted to consider this carachterystic a defect or an annoyance!
The Trail, made of shistose and slippery rocks (e.g. slabs of serpentine), inclined downwards, is the result of a precise choice.
This type of paving has heped many generations in the transport of wood, hay, dried leaves, chestnuts and other products of the mountains on sledges with long wooden skates, called "Lese".
With proverbial capacity to adapt and practical know how, from the 1800s, the sledge was also used to carry pilgrims and tourists, and so the mountain farmers became guides.
It was to their leather shoes, strenght and skill that "citizen" escursionists entrused life and limb in descent wich were - to say the least - EXCITING!