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Sacra di San Michele
About Sacra di San Michele
Sacra di San Michele, sometimes known as Saint Michael’s Abbey, is a religious complex on Mount Pirchiriano, situated on the south side of the Val di Susa overlooking the villages of Avigliana and Chiusa di San Michele. The abbey, which for much of its history came under Benedictine rule, is now entrusted to the Rosminians. A special regional law acknowledges it as the "Symbolic monument of the region Piedmont”, Italy.
The Sacra di San Michele was born and grows with its history and its facilities around the cult of St. Michael who arrived in Val di Susa in the V or VI. Its location on high ground, in an extraordinarily evocative, immediately recalls the two settlements micaelici Gargano and Normandy. Monastery was founded between 983 and 987 on the top of the mountain Pirchiriano and was build a piece after a piece during next centuries.
Sacra di San Michele Monastery is a sacred place for pilgrims of Italy, France and Spain. It is situated over one big rock in the mountain with a very big large view in all directions. Being on the middle of the pilgrims way Sacra di San Michele is staying 1000 km away from the other two sacred monasteries for pilgrims – one in North France - Mont Saint-Michel and another one in South Italy - the Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo, near Foggia, Umbria. The three sacred places dedicated to St. Michael aligned along a line that extended the crow flies, leading to Jerusalem.
From Sacra di San Michele began the so-called Trail of the Franks, hiking trail of a historical fame that connects the upper valley - a real test for strength of mind and body.
Umberto Eco was partially inspired by this Benedictine abbey for the setting of his famous novel
"The Name of the Rose". Initially the abbey was proposed also to integrate in film with the same name by Jean Jacques Annaud, but then it was rejected as an option due to the high costs of it.
What to see in Sacra di San Michele?
Monastery Sacra di San Michele
The Monumental Complex of Sacra di San Michele include:
Sepulcher of the Monks
The guest quarters
Entrance and statue of Saint Michael (San Michele)
Church of the Monastery with the tomb of Savoya
Ruins and Tower of beautiful Alda
Ancient workshop and hermit cell
Old rooms of Savoy House
Daily life museum
How to go to Sacra di San Michele?
Sacra di San Michele is situated on one of the tops at the beginning of the Alps. So you have not so much options to go there.
The most fast way to reach Monastery is by Auto or Bus.
- By Auto or Bus
- from Turin
Highway A32 Turin-Bardonecchia direction Frejus exit for Avigliana East, then look for indications for two Lakes of Avigliana (the path pass between two lakes) and Sacra di San Michele.
- from France
From the Col de Montgenèvre towards Cesana, continue to Oulx where you may choose to take highway A32 (Turin-Bardonecchia) to the exit for Avigliana East, or carry on along the SS 24 at Montgenèvre to Avigliana in the direction of the lakes.
- from Frejus tunnel
You may choose to take highway A32 (Bardonecchia-Turin) in Bardonecchia to the exit at Avigliana East, or carry on along the SS 24 at Montgenèvre to Avigliana in the direction of the lakes.
- from Avigliana
At the roundabout as soon as you exit the highway, follow signs for Giaveno Sacra di San Michele and enter the tunnel. At the tunnel exit, at another roundabout: follow signs for Lakes of Avigliana and Giaveno and then for the Sacra di San Michele. Park in the Piazzale Croce Nera (approximately 10 minutes from the abbey).
For buses and vehicles with a width greater than 2 m, one way traffic is obligatory with ascent from Avigliana, and descent to Giaveno.
For cars, that restriction also applies on Sundays and Public Holidays.
- By Train from Torino (Turin)
Take a train to Sant'Ambrogio (30 min.; 8 per day, last return 7:10pm) to tackle the scenic 1½ hr. climb from the village of Sant'Ambrogio to the monastery. Exiting the station, walk straight up V. Caduti per la Patria, and turn right on V. Umberto. Continue straight until Chiesa Parrocchiale. Behind the church on the right is a "Sacra di San Michele Mulattiera" sign. The rest of the hike is clearly marked.
Do not hike alone, as the unpaved path can be difficult and slippery. Wear sturdy shoes and bring water. Alternatively, take the train to Avigliana (30 min., 15 per day). From there, either you can take a taxi or tackle the 14 km, at about 3 hr. hike.
From October 16 to March 15:
Weekdays: 9.30-12.30, 14.30-17.00;
Sundays and public holidays: 9.30-12.00, 14.40-17.00;
From March 16 to October 15:
Weekdays: 9.30-12.30, 14.30-18.00;
Sundays and public Holidays: 9.30-12.00, 14.40-18.30;
The last entry is allowed 30 minutes before closing!
Monday, except public holidays.
During the months of July, August, September the Sacra remains open also on Monday:
9.30 - 12.30 and 14.30 - 18.00
Via alla Sacra, 14, 10057 S. Ambrogio (TO)
☎ +39.011.93.91.30; fax. +39.011.93.97.06
Site of Sacra di San Michele
The Song about Valle di Susa and Sacra di San Michele
And now you can listen to the beautiful song of Valle di Susa and Sacra di San Michele here:
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Map of Sacra di San Michele