The Road Of The Fortresses: from Limone Piemonte - Alta Via del Sale

The Road Of The Fortresses
From Limone Piemonte To Certosa Di Pesio

THE ITINERARY

It is an evocative route that allows to know the naturalistic and landscape reality of the territory, together with the interesting historical military fortifications located on the Italian-French border.
The departure is scheduled from Limone Piemonte, a resort with quality tourist facilities that allow you to fully meet the needs of a wide audience, offering hospitality in high-level facilities such as hotels, resorts and chalets, as well as solutions cheaper and informal in holiday accommodation, bed and breakfast or in landlords.

THE PATH

From the town of Limone Piemonte, go along the SS 20 for a short stretch, until you take the path that leads to the town of Sant’Anna to reach the grassy basin of the Tetti Catalin at an altitude of 1.275 m, and continue towards the Tetti Cortassa (1,454 m), where there is a mountain pasture which also produces cheese making and direct sale of cheese.
From here we descend towards the Liset Tetti and reach Limonetto.
Continue for a long stretch along the GTA route (the stage relative to the Limonetto-Colle di Tenda-Colla Piana-Gias route of the Ortica-Passo del Duca-Rifugio Garelli) until reaching Colle di Tenda.
After crossing a beautiful beech forest, you follow a cart track, in some parts bordered by ancient dry stone walls and climb to the valley basin of Cascina San Lorenzo.

Continue along a mule track that, in some places, coincides with the ancient Via Romana (defined for the presence of some sections of paving that refer to the construction type of the ancient Roman roads) up to Colle di Tenda (1,871 m). Reached the Colle di Tenda you need to decide whether to continue along the path that leads to the Valle Pesio to the north or to deviate south into French territory. From here, in fact, you can make some variations that, from the main road, lead to the striking forts, until you reach the town of Casterino, passing the Forte de la Marguerie.
Instead, if you want to continue along the path that leads to the Certosa di Pesio, from the Colle di Tenda you will cross the former Military Route for a while, abandoning the GTA route, and after the Central Fort continue to the Tabourde Fort. towards the Cima del Beccorosso (2,214 m).
Then we take the GTA route up to the Cima del Becco (altitude 2.300 m), and to the Col della Perla (2.083 m). Continue along the road until Colle della Boaria, and then continue along a stretch of the trail the GTA path until you reach the Capanna Morgantini.
Going on, you reach the pasture shelf of the Gias dell’Ortica (altitude 1,836 m) from which you overlook the enchanting slope of the Carsene. Going further, you reach the Passo del Duca at 1,989 m from where you can take the route of the Marguareis Tour to reach the evocative Saut Waterfall and descend towards the Pesio Valley.

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Forte Centrale (Forti del Colle di Tenda)
    Il Forte Centrale (o Forte di Colle Alto) is an imposing military building located at Colle di Tenda, in Alta Val Roya, 600 meters east of the hill itself. It was built between 1881 and 1885 (designed by Giuseppe Maggia and Bartolomeo Mersi) to defend the Italian part of the Roya Valley from possible French attacks after, in 1860, the most western part of the area had been sold to the French by the Savoy. This building is a fortified structure of particular strategic interest for the protection of the area. Partly destroyed at the end of the Second World War, it was ceded to France, in whose territory it still stands, together with the City of Tenda following the 1947 Treaty of Paris.
    The structure, of a certain historical-archaeological interest, is however in a bad state of conservation, although it can be visited by hikers who venture into this area. Along the watershed line of the hill are other fortifications visible also for the same defensive strategy.
  • Forte Taburda (Forti del Colle di Tenda)
    With a squared plan, il Forte Taburda is the one built further south. Located on the ridge that faces the side marked by the winding road that descends from the Colle di Tenda towards the bottom of the Roya, it is also protected by a wide and deep moat and dominates a large slice of the valley.
  • Forte Pepino
    Also this Fort, which is the most eastern of the fortified series, has been erected with an obtuse angle shape and is also surrounded by a deep moat on the south sides. The roof is camouflaged by a thick covering of grass.
  • Forte Margheria
    The imposing building is also surrounded by a moat from which, through some slits, it is possible to enter the Fort.
    One side is open towards the valley below while the three upper sides are closed by austere walls. Outside there are still visible traces of the aqueduct that brought to the fort the water of a source located upstream. A ruined path climbs up this ridge and reaches the overlying Fort Pernante.
  • Forte Pernante
    The Forte Pernante, built on a trapezoidal plan, is well camouflaged on the side of the hill. From its dominant position you can enjoy an exceptional view of the valley below and towards the mountains. The water supply of the Fort was guaranteed by an aqueduct along a few kilometers of which traces remain along the path that cuts the southern slope of the Cima Salaute (which rises to the west of the building) and next to the carriage road that goes into the Vallone dell’Abisso.
  • Forte Giaura
    The Giaura Fort from the pentagonal plan is surrounded by a deep channel of protection. On its west side you can see the slope of the Rocca dell’Abisso and the Pra ‘Giordano pasture stretches. The mountain pasture is crossed by the path that gradually approaches the steeper one that leads to the summit.
  • Limonetto
    Ancient fraction located along the Roman road that leads from Limone to Colle di Tenda. Limonetto borders the Maritime Alps Park and the Mercantour National Park, while along the Alta Via del Sale it is possible, in a few hours’ walk, to reach the Marguareis Park; this happy location makes Limonetto a tourist destination connected above all to the use of hiking, linked to the practice of trekking in the summer, ski mountaineering and snowshoeing in winter.
  • Casterino
    Fraction of the Tenda Municipality, a tourist resort full of accommodation facilities and starting point for organizing visits to the Valley of Wonders, to the Valley of Fontanalba, to Valmasque, to the Fortress of the Abyss and to the forts of the Tenda hill. Here it is possible to organize excursions accompanied to the areas of the valley where there are the rock carvings (Meraviglie and Fontanalba). We also point out the amusement park that is located in the woods at the entrance of Casterino (crossings with aerial cables on the trees and other activities for all ages). Dogs are not permitted in the park and strict restrictive measures are in place for trips to places where graffiti is found.
  • Passo del Duca e Conca delle Carsene
    The Passo del Duca divides the Vallone del Marguareis from the Vallone degli Arpi and is one of the access passages of the Valle Pesio towards the Alta Via del Sale, the Capanna Morgantini, the Colle dei Signori and the Conca delle Càrsene.
  • A. Morgantini Speleological Hut
    It is a prefabricated building built by the members of the Alpi Marittime Speleological Group, named after the partner Alberto Morgantini, one of the promoters of its construction, precociously and tragically disappeared in the mountains. The hut is located in Colla Piana area (Municipality of Briga Alta) located in the Conca delle Carsene area, for use and access of the Alpi Marittime Speleological Group and is owned by the CAI of Cuneo. It was inaugurated on July 24, 1977 and extensively renovated in 1997. Possibility of access upon request for availability and collection of keys in Cuneo.
  • Cascata del Saut
    It is a suggestive waterfall located in Val Pesio, in the Marguareis Natural Park, above the Pian delle Gorre and near the path to the Garelli Refuge. These are two separate waterfalls, one has a limited jet, while the other is much larger and are formed by the waters that descend from the Marguareis and which, together with the other tributaries, give life to the Pesio stream.
  • Certosa di Chiusa Pesio
    This Carthusian monastery was founded in 1173, and is an impressive historical monument that, through centuries of history, has reached its current destination as the House of Spirituality of the Consolata Missionaries. Every year the building welcomes many hundreds of pilgrims. Over the centuries it was considerably modified, with respect to its original form, with the building, on the upper floor, of a large cloister and a church, becoming over time a treasure trove of precious works of art, with paintings by Pentani and Claret . In the mid-seventeenth century it was profoundly redesigned by the Fossano architect Giovenale Boetto with the construction, among other things, of the elegant loggia that extends down the avenue of entry. In 1802 the monastic orders were suppressed by the Napoleonic Government: the huge real estate and artistic assets of the Certosa were dispersed in a thousand rivulets and the austere walls of the monastery in the nineteenth century were converted into a hydrotherapy establishment frequented by high European society.
    At the outbreak of the First World War the large hotel closed and the ancient building, for years, was left to itself until, in 1934, with the Consolata Fathers of the Consolata, it returned to being an important center of spirituality. Since 1978 the Charterhouse is included within the Marguareis Natural Park.

GEOGRAPHICAL AREA INTERESTED

The itinerary starts from the heights above Limone Piemonte and, completing a wide turn, bends towards the north, remaining at altitude until reaching the Certosa di Pesio. The main route develops mostly in Italian territory but for a while also borders on French territory. However, there is the possibility of making a variation that definitely bends towards the south going down towards the Valle delle Meraviglie with the destination Casterino.

Total length: Itinerary of about 40 km, averageable in 6 hours.

Difficulty and distance: Cycle touring of medium difficulty, practicable by everyone, practicable in MTB, with pedal assisted bicycle, on foot and / or on horseback.

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