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Medieval atmospheres in Val di Susa: “Sacra di San Michele”

The “Sacra di San Michele” (St. Michael’s Sacra), consecrated to Archangel Michael, is one of the most famous religious and scenographic monuments of Piedmont: a place of pilgrimage for the French and Italians.

Built probably in 1000 AD and entrusted to the Benedictines that hosted pilgrims crossing the Via Francigena to Rome to find, in this beautiful abbey, spiritual and phisical refreshment.

Arriving at the parking place, we can enjoy the majestic mountain, which is dominated by the monastery.

We arrive at the entrance, where we see a modern sculpture that representa St. Michael Archangel.

Going upstairs is a stone stairway called “Scalone dei morti” (beacause it is flanked by several graves in ancient time) that brings us across the “Zodiac door” to a roof where we can enjoy the beautiful view.

From the roof, we enter the precious, ancient and fresco church, rich in pointed arches. This magical place is full of legends and curiosities. For example, the legend of “Bell’Alda” (Beauty Alda): young girl that, to escape from soldiers of fortune, flowed into the gorge from a tower, surviving miraculously. Deciding to try again for vanity and money, shet crashed and died.

Another curiosity is “Sacra di San Michele,” which inspired Umberto Eco who set “Il nome della rosa” in this extraordinary place. Also, the novel “Il mercante di libri maledetti” (by Marcello Simoni) started here.

The “Sacra di San Michele” marks ideally a connection with other two important abbeys of Europe, both consecrated to Archangel Michael: Mont Saint Michel and St. Michael’s Shrine in Foggia.

Famous for the position and history, the “Sacra di San Michele” is an important place for Christianity and for art lovers, where everyone can feel monks’ Medieval atmospheres.

By Davide Corsini.

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