This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)
Today I will tell you about a new fantastic trip: the Sacra di San Michele for us children, we had a lot of fun on the trail of the Archangel.
Hi Sweeties, I’m finally back and today I’ll tell you about my last trip with my parents in early September: the Sacra di San Michele for us children, on the trail of the Archangel.
On the occasion of the wedding of one of my Piedmontese cousin in Moncalvo, my parents took the opportunity to take us to visit the Sacra di San Michele, an Abbey located in Val di Susa, about 40 km from Turin and famous for having inspired the writer Umberto Eco in the drafting of the famous “Il nome della Rosa”.
The day after the reception, we got in the car and left for S. Ambrogio di Torino, a very pretty village located at the entrance of the Val di Susa, along the course of the Dora Riparia, at the foot of the Sacra di San Michele.
After the first section of easy driving, on the first motorway and after the bypass, the road begins to get winding and full of bends, flanking and skirting a beautiful lake, crossing the village of S. Ambrogio, up to climb along the ridge of a mountain .
Small stop for the usual photos, where immersed in the luxuriant vegetation of beech, chestnut and oak, the show that is hidden in front of us is truly breathtaking: an impervious hill, the Monte Pirchiriano, stands forcefully between the foliage of the trees, standing proud and imperious … on its summit, you can see the Sacra di San Michele, set almost magically and perfectly interlocking with the mountain itself.
It seems to be inside a fairy tale.
Broken down and after a few miles of curves, you finally reach the parking lot.
After leaving the car and after a hike up a small road through the vegetation, you immediately arrive at the Sepolcro dei Monaci, now a ruin.
The day is beautiful and the place, silent and austere, infuses immediately a mysticism of mysticism … the spectacle that is observed at 360 ° is unique ….
It will be the proximity to the sky, the imposing and slender structure, will be the stories and legends, I will certainly be influenced, but this place conveys tranquility demanding, with severity, an unnatural respect … .and I shiver!
But ……… why is this Abbey so famous?
Now I’ll explain it to you, I’ve documented myself … ..
It all stems from an ancient legend: “… During a bitter fight against Satan, the sword of St. Michael, after having knocked it down, left in the ground an invisible fissure, but still present in the bowels of the earth.”
Following this fissure, in ancient times the monks of different orders drew an imaginary line that unites, in a single trajectory of about 4,000 km, seven sacred places, part of the so-called “Jerusalem Itinerary” dedicated to the cult of the Archangel Gabriel.
These 7 sacred places are, starting from the most northerly:
- Skelling Michael, County Kerry in Ireland
- St. Michael Mount in Cornwall
- Mont Saint Michel in Normandy
- Sacra di San Michele in Piedmont
- Monte Sant’Angelo in Puglia
- Monastery of San Michele, Island of Symi in Greece
- Jerusalem, Mount Carmel in Upper Galilee
Going back to us, we arrived at the entrance, waiting in front of the ticket office for my father who takes the tickets previously booked and organized for us children … what better opportunity to see many children on the trail of the Archangel!
On the left of the main staircase, stands the statue of the Archangel Michael, with wings spread and with the famous sword in his hand, as if to defend the Abbey!
The meeting point with all the participating children starts to crowd and after about twenty minutes of waiting, finally begins our tour: we are about thirty children accompanied by their parents and 3 very good guides.
After aligning us, seated in a large step inside a widening at the foot of the main entrance, the guides told us the story of the Abbey, describing the various phases that led to its construction, using plastics.
They were very good because, with simple language, rich in metaphors, and with very playful tones, they made us understand a lot of things and intrigued us so much.
After that, all standing up and starting the real path …
Entered through the Iron Gate, we walk the steep Scalone dei Morti, composed of 150 steps and from which we can see part of the mountain ridge ….
Halfway up the stairs, the guides after having made us sit on the ground, start to give us some information … and here, suddenly, the first surprise: appear 2 gentlemen, in period clothes, telling us how we lived about 1,000 years ago interior of the Sacra.
Then it is the turn of the noble Hugh of Montboissier, rich lord of Auvergne who, in search of redemption from a questionable past, goes to Rome to ask indulgence to the Pope. These, as a penance, grants him to choose between an exile of 7 years and the enterprise to build an abbey, which obviously accepts.
How nice to see how different people’s customs were and their lifestyles, so different from ours, but different from each other.
Resumed the journey, and climbed the stairs, the new stage provided by the guides is in front of the Zodiac Portal.
Very particular, the portal presents refined sculptural works executed in marble by the famous maestro Nicolao, who worked at the Sacra in the decade 1120/1130.
And here, as if by magic, appear nothing less than the master Nicolao, who in workwear and with tools afterwards, explained to us how he made the marble sculptures on the Portal.
Treasures, the second part of my journey I will tell you the next time.
For now, I send you many kisses.
Ludo the Imp
Tips of the day