Adventures in Val Chisone and around

Adventures, observations,events and comments on life in an alpine valley in Italy from an English family living next door to the largest fortress in Europe. (Fenestrelle)
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Sunday, 3 May 2009

Open Season at the Fortress of Fenestrelle

Originally uploaded by Hannibal Cycle tours / Belvedere B&B

This weekend the Fortress of Fenestrelle has opened it's gates with the possibility of doing the full 6 hour "Guida Reale" tour. This is after the heavy snowfall over the winter. Even this weekend there was a bit of snow at the top but with the last few days being sunny and warm most of the ice and snow has melted. In fact the patches that remain up at the top now provide a refreshing coolness after the climb of 800m!

In the last three days I have had my baptism of fire in that I as a guide have completed my first solo trip around the fortress with a group of tourists. This may not sound too difficult but when you bare in mind that not only was it my first unaccompanied trip with a group, it was also my first trip totally in Italian!

I must admit that they were very kind and patient as I bulldozed my way through their language and seemed to enjoy the trip. Maybe it was the English perspective that made it interesting for them? I know for certain that my language must be improving a s they seemed to understand what I was saying and 6 hours later they were still talking to me.

A day of glorious sunshine, clear blue skies and an itinerary that covers over 300 years of history, architecture and pleasant views up and down the valley is certainly a great way of unwinding. Throw in a picnic at 1800m and a stroll back through woodland and you have a great way to spend the day.

For those who do not like the prospect of climbing to the top of the fortresses' 3996 steps there is the shorter 3 hour trip that can still give you a sense of the dimensions of this massive place.

The fortress of Fenestrelle is one of the worlds most important historical military sights and is a must see for any serious military historian who wants to know why this little place tucked away in the Alps played such an important role in forming our modern world.

Now that the Fortress of Fenestrelle has English mother tongue guides available means that a much higher level of service can be offered to foreign tourists and especially those who have English as their first or second language.

Our B&B (Belvedere Bed and Breakfast) at the foot of the fortress is the ideal place to stay. Not only do you get great accommodation and a fantastic breakfast you also benefit from a resident guide!


At the Fortress of Fenestrelle "Progetto San Carlo" ONLUS (non profit association) we are searching for cannon to place on exhibiton in their original gun emplacements. If you happen to know anyone who could help with this we would be most greatful if you would contact us. We are looking for cannon that date from the 1690s to 1900s. They would ideally be of Italian, French or Austrian in origin.

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