Published on: 10 October 2014 | Last updated: 6 January 2020
The Val di Susa
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.
Map and altitude profile
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|Val di Susa distances|
|Cesana Torinese to Exilles||23 kms|
|Exilles to Susa||13 kms|
|Susa to Avigliana||39 kms|
|Avigliana to Rivoli||10 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.
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 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.
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
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.
Places to stay
Hotels and B&Bs etc
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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 are lots of hostels in Torino.
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.
Articles in this series:
- Mountain Valleys of Piemonte: Overview
- Mountain Valleys of Piemonte 1: the Val Gesso
- Mountain Valleys of Piemonte 2: The Valle Stura
- Mountain Valleys of Piemonte 3: The Val Varaita
- Mountain Valleys of Piemonte 4: The Valle Po
- Mountain Valleys of Piemonte 5: The Val Pellice
- Mountain Valleys of Piemonte 6: The Val Chisone
- Mountain Valleys of Piemonte 7: The Val di Susa