Borghi magazine ~ the discovery of the fantastic world of italian medieval villages

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A journey to the village of Usseaux and a visit to the nearby Fort of Fenestrelle

A journey to the village of Usseaux and a visit to the nearby Fort of Fenestrelle
Discover Usseaux

It is from Pinerolo, a town about forty kilometers from Turin, where we depart from to go to one of the most beautiful villages of the whole Alpine arch, located in the heart of the Chisone valley.

From the town that was the seat of the 1st Cavalry Regiment, the famous "Nice Cavalry", founded in 1690, goes back to the valley of the Chisone stream in the direction of Usseaux, a small hamlet in the heart of the valley, consisting of a capital, that gives name to the municipality, and several fractions including Laux, Balboutet and Pourrieres, villages scattered in a typical high mountain environment among forests and pastures.

It was in the lands of Usseaux that the famous battle of the Assietta was fought during which the Austro-Piedmont army gained a significant success versus the Franco-Spanish, allowing the Savoia to protect Turin from the transalpine invasion.

The visit to the capital is a continuous discovery of a lattice of alleys  that sometimes turn into staircases, sometimes in courtyards, others directly in gardens and in fields that frame the town, revealing alpine scenery of rare beauty.

To see the parish church of San Pietro Apostolo, which houses a 17th-century wooden altar, the nearby fountain with a sixteenth-century basin, located in the park adjacent to the church, and the buildings from the typical architectural model building occitano. Unmissable is the ancient oven with two mouths, and the mill from the large outer wheel, with inside the machines and the mills dating back to the beginning of the 20th century.

How charms of Usseaux, in all its alleys, even in the most hidden corners, are its extraordinary murals, all linked to the mountain world, representing scenes of rural life, historical events of the valley, natural scenarios. Of great impact, on the little square located behind the municipal palace, the bread cycle reproduction, which, in seven panels, represents the various steps from sowing to cooking.

Usseaux

Gorgeous stop in one of the restaurants in the capital where you can enjoy a tasty dish of polenta with game stew, closing with a glass of Genepì, the typical liqueur of the Piedmont valleys, used as a digestive, obtained by maceration in the alcohol of alpine artemisie.

From the edge of the town of Usseaux we descend to the fort of Fenestrelle, where, on the way back to Pinerolo, we stop for a visit.

Forte di Fenestrelle

Authentic architectural wonder, among the historical symbols of Piedmont, is a gigantic system of forts partly built in the 17th century by the French and expanded after 1713 by the Savoy. It is made up of the complex of Forte San Carlo, Forte Tre Denti, Forte Elmo and Forte delle Valli, the strong hollow and strong of the valleys, linked together by a ladder of four thousand steps. A unique architectural work.

In the shadow of the Albergian and the Orsiera, mountains symbol of the valley, we return to the way back to Pinerolo, slowly leaving the valley, accompanied by the waters of the Chisone river.

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