The Grana Valley

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The Valle Grana starts from Caraglio and climbs up to the famous sanctuary of San Magno (1,700 metres high), in the municipal territory of Castelmagno, and to the Colle del Mulo.

The first important centre of the Valle Grana is undoubtedly Vignolo, a small village with a medieval structure. A little further on, at 850 m. the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Losa rises. Worth a gastronomic stop  Cervasca, and in particular the village of S. Stefano, rich in artisan shops and delicious mushroom dishes. In Bernezzo, instead, you can admire the frescoes of the ‘400 and’ 500 in the church of Santi Pietro e Paolo, as well as the solitary Cappella della Maddalena. Pointing to the time of Caraglio, of ancient Roman origin, we can find the remains of the Castle, now incorporated in the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Castello, the Church of San Giovanni Battista, the Church of Santa Agnese and the window of Cecilia in the historic Via Brofferio. The Caraglio valley has prealpine rather than alpine features even though Montemale, with its castle and the church of S. Michele, or just beyond Monterosso Grana, preserve the typically mountain architecture intact.

Caraglio

Excursions: from the Madonna della Neve, to the villages of Ollasco … But above all, the one to S. Pietro deserves, from where through Saretto you reach Santa Lucia, the famous Sancto Lucio de Coumboscuro, paradise and uncontaminated kingdom of Provençal. Here you should not miss the Ethnographic Museum, but above all the annual events: Roumiage de provenco a la Vierge adoulourando, the second Sunday of July and the Roumiage de setembre, a real annual cross-border summit with music, dances and theater in language of oc. You then reach Pradleves with the Parish Church of San Ponzio, while going up further up here is Campo Molino, seat of the municipality of Castelmagno, known to most people for its delicious cheese with controlled designation of origin. Higher up the hamlets of Chiotti and Chiatti, and then at 1761 metres it stands solitary the sanctuary of San Magno, a splendid example of symbiosis between art and nature. Its important parts are the old chapel with frescoes by Pietro da Saluzzo. An unmissable appointment: 19th August, date of the procession.

Without a doubt this is the route for gourmets that leads straight where a decree of 1982 recognizes the Denomination of Origin of Castelmagno. A real savoury semi-hard blue cheese, made with cow’s milk and sometimes with the addition of sheep or goat’s milk. After a long processing a slow maturation that lasts five months in natural, fresh and humid caves. At the end of the preliminary operations, the typical cylinder shape with a diameter of 15-25 cm is obtained, this cheese appears a white pearly texture that over time becomes ochre yellow with greenish-blue veins.

Castelmagno cheese

This valley with its short kilometer development presents a great variety of environments and climate. These create special conditions that make the Valle Grana, for the richness and variety of the species, a great natural botanical garden. The flowering that explodes from May is a natural prodigy: dozens of rare orchids have been able to preserve their delicate ecological niche and then anemones, saxifraghe crocuses, gentians, violets, lilies, up to the archaic alpine meadow, the edelweiss and hundreds of others species.

Among the local specialties it is worth mentioning the Madernassa pear, the garlic from Caraglio, the medicinal herbs, the Piatlina and Ciarda della Valle Grana potatoes, the Piatta di Bernezzo tomato, the mushrooms, the Miller sativa chestnut, the black truffle of Valle Grana and the many goodies linked to the world of pastry such as the bitter cake of Vallera, a baked product with an unleavened dough, compact, crumbly and quite soft, whose predominant characteristic is the bitter taste due to the presence of peach kernels or bitter almonds.

The Valle Grana, from the historical and artistic point of view, is part of the “Mistà” project which groups together the lands of the Marquisate of Saluzzo, an area that in the Middle Ages received a marked cultural footprint that was in many respects homogeneous, capable of giving this region a “cultured” and ancient charm. The territories of the Marquisate still retain a clear artistic profile, which sees the encounter between the stately building, the refined courtly art and the sublime pictorial evidence related to the faith.

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