Itinerario 3 - The figurative arts in Susa Valley

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The Susa Valley is a territory rich of artistic works. There are many churches and rural chapels decorated with frescoes dated back between the XI and the XVIII century.

In the splendid setting of the medieval village of San Giorio we can find one of the most important examples of frescoes painted in Giotto’s style: the chapel of saint Lawrence, so-called “Count’s chapel”. The chapel was built in 1328 by the lords of the village and contains a cycle of frescoes dedicated to the Stories of the life of Christ and the legend of The three alive  and the three dead.

Our route continues in the Upper Susa Valley where we come to Salbertrand. The ancient parish church of saint John the Baptist (the name can be found in documents dating 1057), the Hotel Dieu and the chapel of the Annunciation of Oulme are decorated with beautiful frescoes dated back between the XIV and the XVI century.

In the territory of Bardonecchia, you can visit the villages of Melezet and Les Arnauds. Here we can find the rural chapels of saint Sisto and Notre-Dame du Coignet: the frescoes (XV-XVI century) of the chapels represented the Last Judgement and the lives of the Virgin and the saints. After having passed the village of Les Arnauds you’ll arrive in Melezet, where you can visit the Museum of Religious Alpine Art and the parish church of saint Anthony the Abbot, notable for its baroque Alpine style and for the wooden decorations depicting cascades of fruits and flowers. 

 

Activities

You can arrive at the small chapel of saint Lawrence with a beautiful walk across the Old Town of the village of San Giorio. Here you can see the frescoes cycle and know much more about its history. If you want to explore the area with the remains of the medieval period, start with the Castle, the Casaforte (a fortified manor) and the parish church with its Romanesque bell tower.

The church of saint John the Baptist is situated in the centre of Salbertrand, on the main square. With a guided tour, you can discover this beautiful church, with its frescoes, the imposing high altar and the small museum. Once you have visited the church you can go for a walk in the fascinating streets of the village enriched with ancient fountains made with stone until you come at the rural chapel of Oulme. During the walk you can know something else about the numerous activities organized by the Gran Bosco of Salbertrand’s Natural Park.

Leaving Salbertrand, you can go to the parish church of saint Gregory the Great in Savoulx, built on an enormous rock mass with a panoramic view over the surrounding village.

Along the road that leave the village of Bardonecchia, we come to the village of Les Arnauds, and climbing up to Pian del Sole, we find the chapel of Notre-Dame du Coignet. Not far from here, in the village of Melezet, the chapel of saint Sisto stands on a rocky outcrop. The Museum of Religious Alpine Art of Melezet houses works in silver, wooden statues, paintings and frescoes formerly preserved in chapels situated in the around area and in particular in the Bardonecchia basin. The museum is hosted in the chapel of the Madonna del Carmine, near the church of saint Anthony the Abbot, notable for its imposing Gothic-Romanesque bell tower and its church yard enriched by a beautiful fountain of the XVIII century.

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