Quite a short stage on the Grande Traversata delle Alpi, with an important (but easy) climb to the suggestive Colle del Baracun.
We approach the kingdom of Monviso, the landscape becomes more and more arduous.
We leave the village on the comfortable carriage road that runs alongside the Pellice stream. The ascent to Pian dei Morti (approximately 450 m height difference) begins soon: very regular, all in the valley bottom. We pass the Pis Waterfall and shortly after, a path cuts the hairpin bends of the carriage road, with some easy climbs. Once passed the Pian dei Morti, we are right after the Colle della Maddalena: if we wish, we can make a short detour to Rifugio Jervis, located in a beautiful position, to have breakfast while admiring the head of Val Pellice.
After crossing the Pellice stream, we start the real climb to Colle del Baracun (approx. 700 m height difference) on the path that cuts through the carriage road. Once out of the trees, we return to the carriage road and the climb turns into a sloping ground on the hillside. We find the beautiful botanical garden dedicated to the naturalist Bruno Peyronel. Shortly after we reach Colle del Baracun (2,383 m), where the beautiful Rifugio Barant stands out imperiously, with an excellent view of the Monviso group.
Resuming the journey, we begin the descent (approximately 650 m drop) towards the valley floor. The first stretch, more intense, cuts the carriage road, which we resume permanently at Pian delle Marmotte. Afterward, the slope becomes gentler and the walk runs pleasantly up to the Rifugio Barbara Lowrie.
On the slopes of Monte Granero, we find the Buco del Viso, a 75-meter tunnel dug into the rock to connect the French and Italian sides.
Completed in 1480, it is considered the first Alpine tunnel in history and represents one of the oldest civil engineering works built in the high mountains.
The transit inside the tunnel is still possible thanks to recent maintenance.
At the panoramic Colle Barant, with an altitude of 2,290 m, we find the Alpine Botanical Garden dedicated to the naturalist Bruno Peyronel, a native of Val Pellice.
Inside the garden, there are more than 300 indigenous alpine plants: the different species are marked with tags and it is also possible to enjoy detailed educational cards.
The hay ricotta, saras del fen, is a typical dairy product of the Waldensian Valleys.
To prepare it, the whey, left after the production of fontina, is heated and bitter salt or vinegar is added. Afterward, it is boiled forming the ricotta paste, which is collected with a skimmer, poured into a cloth, and hung so that it drains. The ricotta is then salted on the surface and wrapped with a herb called festuca, the hay from which it takes its name.
Being a typical handmade product, its organoleptic characteristics vary from place to place and according to the seasons. Saras del fen is a Slow Food Presidium.
Rifugio Barant, at the Colle del Baracun. Tel. +39 335 627 6850
Rifugio Barbara Lowrie, at the entrance to Pian Fons. Tel. +39 0121 930077
Starting point reachable by car.
Departure point NOT reachable by bus.
The nearest town reachable by bus is Bobbio Pellice, starting 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.