Few kilometres from Avigliana at around 900 meters above sea level there is Sacra di San Michele, a jewel of the architecture. It is an abbey built 983 and 987 on the mount Pirchiriano and the building is direcly posed on the rocks. It is amazing go there on the top also because there is a marvellous panorama. It is possible to see all around Val Susa and a bit of Turin, but for this you need a completely clear sky.
Inside there is a church completed in XII century where there are the tombs of some members of the Italian Royal family Savoia. Dedicated to the cult of the Archangel Michael, defender of the Christian people, the Sacra di San Michele is part of a pilgrimage route over 2000 km long that goes from Mont Saint-Michel, in France, to Monte Sant’Angelo, in Puglia.
What I like, apart from the sight, it is the way how the building is mixed with the rocks of the mount. It looks as a big sculpture born from the nature and that is really amazing. At the entrance of the abbey and of the church there are some flowers and hedges very well taken care of. The structure is well kept by few Capuchin friars and some people of the staff that are opening the building to visitors.
The religious artworks conserved inside are not the only objects present in the collections of the abbey. Infact there is the museum of daily life with instruments used in past by the people for their live and for their different jobs. It is very interesting because it is a reconstrucion of the local population activities in the past centuries. The inside library, visible by visitors, has more than 10.000 books, many of them ancient. During the year are realized different thematic exhibitions about different topics.
The place is connected with the closest towns by a unique road, but there I really felt out of the world, in a magic atmosphere, kept as it was in the past. Sacra di San Michele represent the most important attraction of Piedmont, maybe because it can host tourists with any type of interest. It is a religious building but you can admire just the architecture, the nature that surround the place or explore the local life in the past.
If you like to walk in nature, you can go up using the trails from Sant’Ambrogio di Torino and from Giaveno. They are well kept and realized completely in the woods. The pathways were already used in past centuries by the pilgrims. It is a great experience especially to stay with yourself and with your trip mate. If you want to walk you need few hours, depending on your speed, to reach the top.