Between Guelphs and Ghibellines.
Add Image
Add Album

Between Guelphs and Ghibellines.

  Featured on the Front Page

Page Type: Trail

Location: Turin, Italy, Europe

Lat/Lon: 45.13246°N / 7.18268°E

Trail Type: Touring

County: Piedmont

Technical Difficulty: Easy

Aerobic Difficulty: Easy

Layout: Loop

Route Quality: 
 - 1 Votes


Page By: chaberton

Created/Edited: Jun 28, 2013 / Jun 29, 2013

Object ID: 287470

Hits: 1640 

Page Score: 74.01%  - 4 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

  • Tweet

San Giorio

The City of San Giorio of Susa, located at 435 m above sea level, covers an area of 19.69 square kilometers on the right bank of the Dora Riparia.

Country strongly scattered, distributes its 1020 inhabitants between the capital and the 27 alpine villages, including nine permanently inhabited: Malpasso, Balma, Mertinetti, Viglietti, Pognant, Grangia, Pianfrè, Garino, Garda.

The municipality of San Giorio is located in an area of altitudes between 306 m and 2801 m in the valley of the tip Cristalliera. His area of vegetation changes from submontane (300-1000) to the mountain itself (900-2000 m): therefore we grow the chestnut oak, along with beech and conifers. The special exhibition in the north-east, combined with an abundance of water and a decent winter sunshine, have created one micro climate that favors the lush vegetation of age.

Among the most common plant species, a prominent covers it chestnut, but the territory sangioriese is also very rich in deciduous and coniferous trees, including Scots pine stands.

Prominent also for fauna, with the significant presence of birds (thrushes, finches, blackbirds, woodpeckers, owls), rodents (squirrels, marmots), hares and ungulates (deer, wild boar).

Getting There

Take the A32 motorway Turin-Bardonecchia exit Chianocco (33 Km from Turin - 45 Km from Bardonecchia.

Follow the indication to the city of Bussoleno, once you have crossed the town turn on your left just before the railway bridge.

At the junction turn left again towards Turin (SS24). Five kilometers further on is the village of San Giorio. Follow the signs to the cemetery (located just below the castle rock), which will be the starting point of the Trail.


The Map

Visualizza San Giorio in una mappa di dimensioni maggiori

The Trail

the Trail.

It is a short path (800 m.) that will allow you to explore the city center of San Giorio and the fortress that dominates the city and a long, long time ago the whole valley of Susa.


Starting Point

Point of Departure Via San Lorenzo in front of the parish church of the Xi century.

Below the castle, outside the city walls and close to the parish complex, stands the Domus Fortis or fortified house dating from the fourteenth century, and which is edged with Ghibelline battlements, dovetail, unlike those of the castle that are Guelph, ie square and this reinforces the argument which three lords of San Giorio, there were those loyal to the Pope and those loyal to the emperor.


North Side

The Castle and the Casaforte form, with the Romanesque bell tower of the eleventh century, with the Chapel of San Lorenzo (called the Count) and the National Monument Square Velino of the fourteenth century church of San Giorio the Pentagon.

Only visiting this area (the Pentagon) you will spend a good hour and a half to see the masterpieces of medieval San Giorio.

At the height of casaforte there are information panels and a picnic area. Are you at the door of the castle of war (what remains of it), turned towards France.

Continuing along Via San Lorenzo, in the direction of the cemetery, past the paved road below the south side of the castle.

After about three hundred meters you have to turn left at the end of the straight is the entrance of the cemetery.

On your left, closed by a bar, a path uphill dirt road, which after just three hundred meters, leads the parade ground of the Castle.


The Drawbridge.

A steep stairs on your right will take you to the entrance of the drawbridge, beyond which, after two "defensive Tongs ", there is the main entrance of the Castle

History legends & Traditions

The origin of St. Giorio seems to be traced back to the Celt Ligurian peoples, the country seat of a Roman oppidum, who succeeded to a pre-Roman fortress.
By the discovery of an ancient Roman Millario, dating back to 235, it is confirmed that the ancient Roman consular road to Gaul pass from San Giorio, Roman coins belonging to the time of Emperor Maxentius were later found in area Gringiaggio, the country in the tenth century saw the destructive fury of the Saracens.

Castle of San Giorio scale model.

In 1001 it was ceded by the ancient village Odo III to the Marquis Ulric Manfred and was enfeoffed for the first time in 1029.
From the middle of the twelfth century, this village saw becoming more important from the military point of view.
From the early decades of the thirteenth century begins on San Giorio the jurisdiction of the lay lords, which lasts until 1799: among them chronologically remember the Bertrandi of Mommegliano, the Aschieri of Susa, the Parpaglia of Revigliasco, the Calvi of Avignon.

The castle was at its height of combat in the fifteenth century, only to lose it slowly over the course of the next century, while remaining home to a military garrison.
New feudal lords of San Giorio were Emanuele of Savoy, Ressano of Pinerolo, Count of Villar Focchiardo Northern League.
In 1690 the army of Victor Amadeus II, with 20,000 men, encamped at San Giorio therein and held the council of war against the French army of Louis XIV: the village was looted and was then entirely focused on 8 March 1691 by the troops of General Catinat, the castle was burned and destroyed and never again recovered.

It followed a period of great suffering and the last feudal lords were the Count and Baron of Nucetto Faussone Prever of Giaveno, in a document dated 31 January 1799 was formed the new administration brought about by the French Revolution as a replacement and abolition of feudal domains and the year before freedom of Piedmont.


The legendary historical re-enactment of "The Abolition of the feudal lord," which is in San Giorio in the Sunday closest to April 23 (the day of the Feast of St. George the Martyr), represents one of the most beautiful and special Valsusino entire folklore. This festival, based on a historical event reported back to medieval times, was represented for the first time on the heights of the medieval castle in 1929, the year in which the then parish priest Fr Attilio Bar, described the script.

According to legend, the epic of a people oppressed farmer of taxes and harassment by a tyrannical local squire: the last attempt of the despot to rely on raw abuse of "ius de seigneur", caused the rebellion of the poor and the happy ending triumphs freedom.

A re-enactment with the participation of a hundred characters in period costume, in which next to the generality of their dances and songs dating back to the local tradition, stand the figures of Spadonari, who perform the Dance of Swords characteristic of imaginative, uncertain but ancient origin.

Dance of the Swords

Guelphs and Ghibellines

Guelphs and Ghibellines were the two opposing factions in Italian politics since the twelfth century until the birth of the Lords in the fourteenth century.
The Guelphs supported the papacy and their name is the Italianate version of Welf, the family Bavarian and Saxon opposite the Swabians Weiblingen, namely that of the Ghibellines who stood in line to the emperor.

In the building medieval traditionally distinguishes the so-called merlons or Ghibellines.

-The Guelph battlements have the top squared.
-The Ghibelline battlements have the top dovetail.

For the record the Ghibellines were defeated.
So the Guelphs divided into two factions: "Whites and blacks," and they began to kill each other.

A famous white Guelph was the poet Dante Alighieri.