We move from Val Chisone to Val Germanasca, with an average long but smooth and trouble-free stage, characterized by the long climb to the Colle dell'Albergian.
The highlights of the day are the Albergian Lakes and the Pis Waterfall.
Water points are absent after Laux: bring a good supply (the route is mostly exposed to the sun).
We descend the road towards the valley floor, where we cross the state road and, shortly thereafter, the Chisone River. We go up towards Laux where, after having stocked up with water at the fountain, we get off the asphalt and take the GTA route, on a comfortable carriage road. The long climb to Colle dell'Albergian begins (approx. 1,350 m height difference). The first part is in the woods, slightly uphill, and flows pleasantly. After the Bergeria del Laux, we move on a path (in excellent condition), which is increasing in steepness, without becoming aggressive.
We leave the woods and, overlooked by the bulk of the eastern face of Mount Albergian (3.041 m), we continue for a long time on easy hairpin bends, that rise decisively but are never too exhausting. On our left, near the homonymous lakes, the old barracks of the Albergian Lakes, abandoned.
One last effort and finally we are at Colle dell'Albergian (2,708 m), where we spot the ruins of the Moremout shelter, in a barren landscape. The descent is long (about 400 m drop) but never steep. The first section is very scenic, almost on sloping ground. When we reach the Bergeria del Lauson, the hairpin bends begin and we quickly lose altitude: we spot the Pis Waterfall, thin but with a long jump (at least 50 m). We arrive at the bottom of the valley where, along the small stream, we easily reach the houses of Balsiglia.
Present in Italy since the 13th century, for centuries the Waldensians were the object of severe persecutions.
The darkest period for them was certainly that of the Counter-Reformation, marked by the Piedmontese Easter (1655) when their lands were occupied by the Savoy and the population harassed and massacred. Following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (which had tried to put an end to the religious wars) in 1685, the last remaining Waldensians in Piedmont fled to Switzerland, thanks to the protection of the Protestants.
However, in 1689, because of the overturning of the European political situation, the Waldensians organized a military expedition to regain possession of their valleys: the Glorious Repatriation.
Only in 1848, under Charles Albert of Savoy, their civil rights were fully recognized, including freedom of worship. Since then, the Waldensian Church has developed and spread throughout the Italian peninsula.
The small Balsiglia Museum, which is part of the Waldensian Valleys Museum System, is located in the building of the GTA stopover. It was established in the place where, in 1690 during the Glorious Repatriation, the Waldensians had clashed with the Franco-Savoyard troops. Inside we find material documenting the main events of that episode.
For more info, timetables and tickets, follow the LINK.
The calhiette is a typical dish of Val Germanasca.
They are large dumplings made from a mixture of grated raw potatoes, flour, bacon, and savoy cabbage. They are boiled for about 20 minutes and then served with butter or baked in the oven, covered with slices of melted toma.
Concistoro Valdese (GTA stopping place), above the Museum of the Glorious Repatriation, in Balsiglia; on the upper floors there are beds with blankets and a kitchen. Tel. +39 349 181 3364
Foresteria di Massello (GTA stopping place), along the next stage, about 3 km from Balsiglia. Tel: +39 0121 808678 - +39 366 818 3564
Starting point reachable by car.
Starting point reachable by bus from the city of Turin.
Here the LINK to check the timetables.
Starting point NOT reachable by train.
Va' Sentiero is a grassroot project, thanks to the spontaneous contribution oft housands of people.
Even the most complicated dream, a 7,000km uphill dream,
can be achieved... together.