Mountain valleys of Piemonte: Part 7 The Val di Susa

Published on:  | Last updated: 9 February 2018

The Val di Susa

The Val di Susa looking towards the fort at Exilles

The Val di Susa looking towards the fort at Exilles

The Val di Susa, the last of the valleys, looks pretty off-putting on the map, with a motorway, a rail line and a couple of main roads strade statali. Fortunately in reality it was much easier than it looks on the maps - thanks in part to the Ciclovia della Val di Susa which will take you along very quiet roads from Susa to Rivoli via the lakes at Avigliana. While the motorway runs along the valley, and occasionally makes its presence felt, for much of the way in the upper valley it runs in tunnels or on a high viaduct.

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Val di Susa distances
Cesana Torinese - Exilles 23 kms
Exilles - Susa 13 kms
Susa - Avigliana 39 kms
Avigliana-Rivoli 10 kms
Total 85 kms

The SS 24 takes you into Oulx (pronounced, I think, ooks). It's more authentic than pictur­esque. Exilles on the other hand has pictur­esqueness to spare. The village is at the foot of yet another giant fort (the Forte di Exilles (it/​en/​fr) that dominates the landscape. The fort is open every afternoon except Mondays. The village is a nice place to stop for a coffee or a meal, or just a little wander before heading on to Susa.

Church tower and rooftops of Exilles (Isiya)

Church tower and rooftops of Exilles (Isiya)

Susa has been a major cross­roads since Roman times - at the gateway to the Moncenisio (Mont Cenis) route into France, and part of the Via Francigena pilgrimage route. You can see the remains of the amphi­theatre and roman aqueduct as well as an arch and statue to the Roman emperor Augustus.

Coming out of Susa I crossed the river and, gambling on it being the quieter option, followed the SS24 until by accident I stumbled on the Val di Susa cycle route. If I had known about it I would have taken the route all the way from Susa.

The Ciclostrada Val di Susa with the Sacra di San Michele in the distance

The Ciclostrada Val di Susa with the Sacra di San Michele in the distance

The route takes you through a series of small villages on the right bank of the Dora Ripia river. Look out for the Sacra di San Michele (en.wikipedia.org) monastery perched on a rocky outcrop high above the valley. If you fancy visiting it, it's reachable by road from Giaveno. It's closed on Mondays.

Look out for the Caffè Tritolo in part of the old Dinamitificio Nobel (dynamite factory).

I now know that the Ciclostrada Val di Susa continues via Avigliana and the lakes and on from there to Rivoli. If I had known that I would have continued on the route, I turned off to head for Caselette. This maps and gps downloads for this section are based on the route I should have taken, but if you prefer I have also included the route I actually took.

The route ends at the castle in Rivoli (now home to a museum of contem­porary art: castellodirivoli.org).

At Rivoli you can connect with the signposted route the Corona delle Delizie. This is a circular route that skirts round Torino, linking the 'delizie' - royal palaces and hunting lodges of the Savoia royal family. The royal palaces residenzereali.it/index.php/it/residenze-reali-del-piemonte/santuario-di-vicoforte/197-residenze-no-unesco-box1/252-la-corona-di-delizie are a UNESCO world Heritage site

Options

If you want to continue on from Torino, there are a number of options including:

  • eurovelo 8: This connects France in the west with Slovenia in the east, following the river Po across Italy. You could connect with this route at Cuneo or east from Torino along the river Po;
  • the Moncenisio variant of the eurovelo 5 Ciclovia Francigena (also known as the Ciclovia dei Pellegrini). You can connect with it just to the south of Torino and follow it through Piemonte and over the Apennines to the coast of Liguria;
  • the Ciclovia Francigena passes through Asti where it connects with the Bicitalia Svizzera-Mare route which takes you to San Remo and Ventimiglia on the Ligurian coast close to the border with France.

More information

Places to stay

Hotels and B&Bs etc

Find and book places to stay with Booking.com

Booking.com pages for places on this section of the route: Val-di-Susa | Oulx | Susa | Avigliana | Rivoli

About these links

If you use these links to book accom­mod­ation Booking.com will pay me a small part of their commission. This helps support the costs of producing this site.

I use Booking.com to find and book places to stay when there are no campsites in the area. The large majority of hotels and many hostels are now on ‘Booking’. I like it because it means that I can get almost-instant confirm­ation. The rating system is also a reliable guide to the quality of the accom­mod­ation.

I’ve never had a problem finding places to keep my bike —even if it’s a cupboard or store room. I always use the ‘special requests’ field on the booking form to tell the hotel that I’m travelling with a bike, which gives them the oppor­tunity to let me know if there’s a problem.

Many properties offer free cancel­lation but it’s a good idea to check the condi­tions as these vary from property to property.

Hostels and rifugi

There's a hostel at Avigliana (Ostello Conte Rosso) and another at Rivoli (Ostello di Rivoli).

There are lots of hostels in Torino.

  Map:  show map in overlay    |    show map in new window   

Campsites

I stayed at the Gran Bosco site near Salbertrand , and the Campeggio Mill Park at Caselette, which I'd rate as a couple of the best in the area.

There are also a sites at the lakes at Avigliana Camping Avigliana Lacs.

The site at Caselette is, so far as I know, the closest to Torino. They offer a shuttle-bus service to the nearest train and metro station if you want to use it as a base for visiting Torino.

  Map of campsites along the route:  MVP-campsites-map-show map in overlay    |    MVP-campsites-map-show map in new window   

The main street in Exilles (Isiya)

The main street in Exilles (Isiya)

Articles in this series:


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