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Hiking to sacred places — Cammino di Oropa

Carizo (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Hiking to sacred places — Cammino di Oropa

Hiking Collection by Marika Abbà

3-6

days

3-6 h

/ day

40.2 mi

6,325 ft

3,100 ft

The Cammino di Oropa starts from the plains of Vercelli province to reach the fascinating Biellese Alps, passing through the Serra d'Ivrea on the way, a rather interesting place from a geological point of view. The best time to tackle the itinerary is from April to the end of October.

This route was created in 2012 by Alberto Conte, president of the Movimento Lento Association and the Casa del Movimento Lento in Roppolo, in collaboration with the Association of Friends of the Via Francigena in Santhià and the Sanctuary of Oropa. Conte has always promoted the itinerary, paying particular attention to the visually impaired and blind. In creating the route, he avoided exposed sections, steps or rocky and uneven terrain as much as possible to make it accessible to all. The signposting also plays its part: on the route there are markers with ‘Cammino di Oropa’ in black on a yellow background. Yellow is also used for the directional arrows.

The Cammino di Oropa links Santhià to the Sanctuary of Oropa, one of the seven Sacred Mountains in Piedmont. Each Sacred Mountain is made up of a large religious complex located at the top of a hill with a road that winds up the slopes in a succession of aedicules, chapels and votive pillars. These places of worship began to appear in Piedmont at the end of the 15th century as safer and more affordable alternatives to travelling to Rome and the Holy Land.

The Cammino di Oropa is divided into four stages, but can be changed easily: for example, you could do it over three days, spending the night in Magnano and at the Sanctuary of Graglia. This itinerary is designed to be a preparation for the great European routes, from the Via Francigena, on which it’s partly based, to the Way of St James. The stages are structured in such a way as to gradually increase the difficulty, so that pilgrim walkers can learn step by step to manage the experience of walking and to listen to their bodies.

Before leaving, you can apply for your Credential, a passport for walkers who undertake this adventure. You will have to pay a small fee, which helps the association to continue its maintenance work on the trails. In return, you can access reduced rates in affiliated establishments. You can get the Credential from the Association of Friends of the Via Francigena in Santhià.

As well as being accessible, the Cammino di Oropa is also sustainable. In fact, you can reach Santhià directly by train in around an hour from Milan Central Station or half an hour from Turin Porta Susa. Alternatively, if you arrive by car, you can park near the station at the Belotti garage at a special rate for pilgrims. The return journey is also easy: you can take the bus from the sanctuary to Biella station in about twenty minutes and from there take the train to Santhià or home. If you’ve got plenty of energy and have a few more days to spare, I recommend renting an e-bike and riding the Oropa cycle route as far as Santhià. Remember to book your bike rental in advance.

Your backpack should be a decent size, but not too heavy. Make sure you have breathable summer clothing, but also some warm layers, a windproof and rainproof jacket, walking shoes, water bottle, poles and your toiletries. You’ll find small food shops in the villages en route where you can buy food to munch on at the most scenic spots as well as basic necessities.

Many other technical details about the Cammino di Oropa can be found on the official website: camminodioropa.it

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Cammino di Oropa

39.6 mi

6,200 ft

2,975 ft

Last updated: May 3, 2022

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Santhià to Roppolo — Cammino di Oropa

    Intermediate
    04:18
    10.1 mi
    2.3 mph
    675 ft
    275 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The first stage of the Oropa Way starts from Santhià station, which can be reached by train in about an hour from Milan Central Station or in half an hour from Turin Porta Susa. Collect the Credential, the passport for this trip from the InfoPoint of the Way of Oropa in the center, a stone's throw from

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    by Marika Abbà

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  • Difficult
    05:16
    11.8 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,525 ft
    525 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The second stage begins with a wonderful view of Lake Viverone and the vineyards. Today's route will be constantly uphill and will touch different environments.

    

    Proceed parallel to the lake touching ancient villages with tangible references to the past. In the hamlet of Bertignano there is the Ricetto

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    by Marika Abbà

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  • Intermediate
    04:21
    9.00 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,525 ft
    1,050 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    You leave from Sella Biellese in the direction of the Sanctuary of Graglia, the destination of the third stage. Enter the Serra di Ivrea again and flank the Rio Finale until you reach Lake Cossavella, where you can take a little break. The path is immersed in beech and chestnut woods, constantly encounters

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    by Marika Abbà

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  • Intermediate
    04:54
    9.34 mi
    1.9 mph
    2,600 ft
    1,275 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This stage is the most demanding of all, but you will have the whole day at your disposal and many opportunities to take breaks.

    

    Say goodbye to the Sanctuary of Graglia, flank the Mombarone and descend along the mule track. Cross the river Elvo and go up to Sordevolo, a small village of 1300 inhabitants

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    by Marika Abbà

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    4
  • Distance
    40.2 mi
  • Duration
    18:50 h
  • Elevation
    6,325 ft3,100 ft

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