Salita al Castello – Bricherasio

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Hello!
It’s been a while since when I visited the lakes which water from Bealera Peyrota is collected in… but finally I’m back in Bricherasio!
Today we’re not going to visit a historical place connected to Waldensian history, but I think you will find astonishing the fact that we are on the Stairs to a Castle… but there is no Castle at all! 😉

From the staircase you can also reach other levels of the hill that are home to vegetable gardens
From the staircase you can also reach other levels of the hill that are home to vegetable gardens

We are in the center of the town of Bricherasio (once called Villanova), founded in 1300 on the slopes of Mount Santa Maria in order to facilitate commerce and exchange of information with Pellice Valley. Actually the oldest hamlet of this town is San Michele, which is located in an isolated area away from here; however, after being founded, the hamlet we’re in today had great prosperity, while San Michele was abandoned by its inhabitants.

In some stretches the stairs no longer exists... Well, I'll take this opportunity to rest under this fig tree
In some stretches the stairs no longer exists… Well, I’ll take this opportunity to rest under this fig tree

Unfortunately the 16th century brought with it war and destruction: the municipality of Bricherasio (like many other areas of Piedmont) ended up some times in French hands, some others in Savoy ones… All those struggles forced the town into ruins, and population was decimated.
The most famous event happened in September 1594, when in the castle 800 French soldiers held out for a month against Savoy army (made up of nearly 10000 soldiers!)… In the end, French soldiers had their lives spared due to their bravery, but the Castle was completely destroyed in the long siege.

From this opening in the walls you can reach the Overlook Park, where there is also this modern small tower
From this opening in the walls you can reach the Overlook Park, where there is also this modern small tower

Today, as you can see, there remain only the steps that take up to the top of the hill which once the Castle used to stand on… It is a beautiful walk that takes you from the town center (in a few minutes’ time) to a small hill where you can get some fresh air and enjoy a beautiful view… the steps as well are characteristic: in the Middle Ages they had a much different dimension from the ones that that are built today!

Here I got to the top! Behind me, the church of Santa Maria (which was also originally the name of the hill which we are on), nowadays deconsacrated
Here I got to the top! Behind me, the church of Santa Maria (which was also originally the name of the hill which we are on), nowadays deconsacrated

How to get here:
reach the center of Bricherasio going along the Provincial Road 161 from Pinerolo and you’ll arrive in Santa Maria Square. From the church square you will see on the left of the church facade a small alley that soon turns into a staircase; follow it till the top and you’ll arrive at the panoramic viewpoint.

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