The Natural Park of Oropa Holy Mount
Surface: 1500 hectars Altitude: 750 – 2388 mt asl Founding Year: 2005 Download Pdf Map
The Oropa Valley, which is still unspoilt and free from urban development, together with its 800 different floral species, make wonderful surroundings and a backdrop to the monumental buildings of the Sanctuary. The Special Nature Reserve of the Sacro Monte of Oropa was founded in 2005 and covers an area of 1,500 hectares at an altitude of between 750 and 2388 metres above sea level. Nature and sport lovers will find numerous activities available within the Nature Reserve such as hiking, trekking, via ferrata, climbing routes, mountaineering, mountain biking, ski touring, and cross country skiing. Many paths start directly from the sanctuary, such as the famous Priests’ Path (Passeggiata dei preti) which is an easy walk to the east of the Sanctuary and which offers stunning views of the monumental complex. More demanding paths reach the Galleria Rosazza tunnel, Mora Lake and the Muanda, where a path, starting from Pollone village, named after the blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, ends.
The territory of the Reserve offers a wide range of walks for nature lovers in the beautiful valley of Oropa. The mountains encircling the Sanctuary and the Sacred Mount offer an interesting panorama of the Pianura Padana plane, on one side, and a breath-taking view of the mountains of Valle d’Aosta, on the other. The passage into the neighboring Valle d’Aosta is facilitated by the cableway connecting the Sanctuary to Mount Camino. The walks, including relaxing strolls and ‘vie ferrate’ for the adventure-oriented, are diverse and can cater to all needs.
Among the most popular paths, in addition to the path that leads to Lake Bose or the so-called “Walk of priests” (Passeggiata dei Preti), the Sentiero Frassati is worthy of note.
THE FRASSATI TRAIL
The project of naming in each region of Italy a path of particular religious and naturalistic interest to the blessed mountaineer Pier Giorgio Frassati (Turin, 1901 – 1925) has grown year by year thanks to the Italian Alpine Club. In the Biella area (the land of Pier Giorgio and his family) the “International Frassati Path of Italy”, which leads from Pollone to the Muanda, connects to the Sanctuary of Oropa through the “John Paul II Path”.
“O mountains and hills, I adore you” Such declaration of love, so direct, simple and yet intense, is Pier Giorgio’s very own. He “loved the hills because he felt them as a majestic entity, a means to elevate the spirit, the exercising ground for the mind as well as the body”. Pier Giorgio’s search for the divinity was manifest in all his doings, even in the majestic, rugged landscape of the mountains. Thus he wrote to a friend: “Every day I fall more in love with these hills. If my studies allowed it I would choose to spend entire days up there, surrounded by that pure air, contemplating the splendour of Creation”. With the example of his life, anchored to the concept of ‘joyful charity’, which prompted his every action (in the family, within society, in his religious as well as political involvement), Pier Giorgio traced the path for all those who, in his own words, wish to “live instead of dragging their days on”
THE OROPA TRAIL
The Way of Oropa develops in four stages, which connect the Santhià train station (1 hour from Milan and 30 ‘from Turin) to the Oropa Sanctuary: 1 – From Santhià to Roppolo 2 – From Roppolo to Sala Biellese 3 – From Sala Biellese to the Sanctuary of Graglia 4 – From the Sanctuary of Graglia to the Sanctuary of Oropa
The first two days you walk along the Via Francigena to go up the Serra d’Ivrea; from here continue to the Sanctuary of Graglia and finally reach the Sanctuary of Oropa. The itinerary offers an amazing variety of landscapes and allows you to discover the historical and cultural beauties of the territory that goes from the agricultural “Pianura Padana Plain” to the Alps. Walking means also immersing yourserf in the history and spirituality of the places, going slowly and listening to the people who live there. The path is completely marked, provided with a Pilgrim’s Passport and a Testimonium; a good training to face a great European path such as the Via Francigena or the Camino de Santiago. It is possible to walk the path by downloading the GPS tracks or the App, or by printing the maps from the website www.camminodioropa.it
All the information about the Natural Park of the Sacro Monte di Oropa can be found in the website Ente di Gestione dei Sacri Monti
Other maps of Biella area are available on the website of Provincia di Biella – SITA