Highlights and tour details
The second stage of the Canavesano Route of the Via Francigena starts from the centre of Ivrea and reaches Piverone on the edge of the Morainic Amphitheatre of Ivrea. From the castle, you pass under the arch on the edge of the square, next to the Caritas, and descend some steps. At the bottom, turn left and going down you come to Via Palestro. Descriptions and signposting of the VF in Ivrea are contradictory and differ considerably. This display refers to one of the proposals of the Associazione Eporediese for the enhancement of the Canavese Route of the Via Francigena of Sigerico. From Via Palestro you skirt Piazza del Municipio (with the beautiful town hall on the opposite side of the square) and take Via Arduino. At the end of the street cross Piazza Gioberti and turn left to reach the crossroads with "Ponte Vecchio", which gives access to "Borghetto". Without crossing the bridge, turn left and walk along the "Lungo Dora", with a splendid view of the river Dora Baltea, as far as the isolated bell tower of Santo Stefano, the last historical testimony of an 11th-century Benedictine abbey. Remaining on the pavement that runs along the main street you reach the nearby "Porta Vercelli" where you turn right to take Corso Massimo D'Azeglio. At a fork in the road, turn left in front of the church of San Lorenzo. The low building at the centre of the fork houses the Association "la Via Francigena di Sigerico". Proceed along Via Cascinette as far as a small roundabout where you turn diagonally left onto Via Lago San Michele, which you follow for a good stretch until you go out of Ivrea. After another small roundabout, you arrive at the widening of the former Armoury. Here you leave the road and, after passing a barrier, you reach the shore of Lago San Michele. On the right, at the beginning of a narrow path, there is a descriptive panel about the lake, the origin of the lakes of Eporedia (old name for Ivrea), the eutrophication and pollution. Skirting the edge of the lake, you pass a few short stretches that are not cyclable and come to a meadow. Cross the meadow and go back onto the asphalt road you left shortly before. Turn left and immediately after having passed the lake's inlet, turn right to follow a side road that runs along the edge of large meadows. At the first crossroads, where the VF signs appear once again, go straight ahead and shortly after at another fork where you can see the houses of Cascinette d'Ivrea, turn left. Go along the dirt road for about three hundred metres and at another fork turn left to reach Lago di Cascinette (or di Campagna). There is an excellent view, which gets even better later on, after having gone along the right side of the lake on the path. After a few non-cyclable metres you climb up a rocky hill with a bench at the top. This is a splendid panoramic viewpoint over the lake, over Serra, Andrate and the mountains of Colma di Mombarone, Vallone di Scalaro and Valchiusella. On the right you descend from the rocky outcrop and, after skirting the lake for a few metres, cross a meadow with a picnic area. On the opposite side, you come to a small road and turn left to reach a crossroads after a few houses. Turn left and then immediately right at the next crossroads. Leave Cascinette and turn left at the last houses. This is the beginning of a long dirt road that will lead you to Burolo. At the first crossroads, turn right and go along the flat road for about 1 km (about halfway along, you cross a small stream) until you come to another dirt road on the left, with VF signs. Follow this new direction that goes towards the Serra slope. When you reach an asphalt road, turn right and continue for a few hundred metres, still on the flat, to a T-junction. The environment is open and in addition to the mountains visible to the north, you can see the slope of the Serra, with the houses of Burolo on the slope. Turning left you reach Burolo and, at the first opportunity, turn right to climb up a short stretch to a junction, where you practically continue straight ahead and descend again to a fork. Follow the minor road to the left, leaving the other road, which runs in a long straight line. Shortly afterwards you pass a VF stopping place with a drinking fountain, and along a long stretch at the base of the morainic slope, you enter Bollengo. Go along the southern road of the village, which leads to the other end of it. At a series of crossroads, continue straight ahead and after a sports centre at another crossroads, continue going straight ahead. Further on, you can see an ancient bell tower on a hillock, and you leave the little road at a small car park and climb up the hill with the 11th-century Romanesque church of San Pietro e Paolo in Pessano at its summit. On the right, you return to an asphalt road that runs for a long stretch along the hillside, in an open environment with continuous panoramic views of the plain below. Near some houses in a sunny position, the road descends with a double bend and joins the carriage road that runs along the slopes of the Serra. Turning left, go along the flat stretch that is separated from Palazzo Canavese. At the first crossroads turn right and enter the centre of the village and after the central square, named after Adriano Olivetti, continue towards the town hall. Once you have reached the square, pass between the church and the bell tower and follow a small road that bends to the right. After a few metres, you descend between fencing and houses, down a narrow flight of steps, which leads to another town road. Turning right you reach a crossroads where you turn left to leave the town. At the next crossroads, there are two possibilities, although the VF signs indicate only the road ahead. (The latter leads to a crossroads and an asphalt road to the right, which with a long, undulating path along the hillside, leads to Piverone). Here too, as in Ivrea, there is the description of what is shown on the reference map on the online site of the Association "La Via Francigena di Sigerico". Turn right to go past the last houses of Piverone and skirt a stream that you will cross later on. After passing a riding school, a dirt road that runs along the edge of wide meadows leads to a crossroads, where you continue straight ahead, ignoring a "dead-end” road sign. When you reach a farmstead, turn right to diagonally cross a small meadow (the track is not very visible) on a slight descent, which leads to a grassy track parallel to a long ditch. After about 250 m at a barely visible crossroads, turn left to follow a country track that runs along a line of trees and on the edge of extensive meadows. This area is a little humid and has marshy patches, especially after heavy rainfall. Continue for about 700 m and, at the point where the little road makes a bend, turn left to follow the tracks that run parallel to a canal and cross a poplar plantation for paper mill pulp. At the end, turn right at the T-junction and, after passing a few houses you reach a paved road. Turn left and walk for a few metres and after a crossroads, continue straight ahead along a minor road that is steep from the outset. After a short stretch of cobblestones, you enter Piverone and at the crossroads follow this sequence: at the first and second crossroads turn left, at the third and fourth turn right. With the last change of direction, you enter the central street of the village, which leads to the 13th-century Bell Tower, the ancient gateway to the medieval village. Originally, the tower-gate had two arches, one for vehicles and one for pedestrians, with drawbridges and an open, crenellated upper part. A short distance away, the Torre D'Angolo of the city walls is visible. Continuing straight on, you reach a crossroads where you continue along the street in the centre that runs alongside the church. Now that you are outside Piverone, go straight on at the point where the road curves, along a secondary road, following the sign for "Gesiun" (ruins of an 11th-century Romanesque church). In a permanently panoramic setting, cross some meadows and pass by a farmstead. Follow the VF signs along a country road in an open setting (with views of the AMI hills, the Serra and Lago Viverone), and after a long walk through meadows and vineyards, you will reach the ruined, tiny Gesiun church. This former place of worship is unique of its kind in the Diocese of Ivrea in terms of size and architectural features. The interior consists of a single nave ending in three arches supported by two stone columns that separate the presbytery. The remains of ancient frescoes are preserved in the apse area. After the small church, there is an asphalt road that you follow for a few metres on the left. At the first turnoff, take a small road to the right, which first runs alongside an elongated farmstead and then crosses farmland for a long stretch. At a T-junction with a dirt road, turn right and descend to an asphalt road. Turn left here and walk along a long stretch in a beautiful panoramic setting, with a view of Lago Viverone. After a descent, you skirt a vineyard, beyond which you can see the Cella di San Michele complex.
Points of interest
In Ivrea: Ivrea, "Industrial City of the 20th Century” Unesco World Heritage Site: the Castle, known also as the Castle of Red Towers, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, its churches, MAAM, the Open Air Museum of Olivetti Modern Architecture, the Tecnologic@mente Museum and Workshop, the Olivetti Historical Archive, the National Cinema Enterprise Archive, the Pier Alessandro Garda Bollengo Civic Museum: Romanesque Churche of Saints Pietro and Paolo in Piverone in the locality ofTorrone: the ruins of the Romanesque church called Gesiùn (perhaps identifiable with San Pietro di Livione). Because of its architectural elements, the Gesiùn (literally "large church", despite the modest size of the building) is one of the most unique, and even anomalous testimonies of Romanesque architecture in the Canavese area, and certainly one of the most suggestive points of the Canavese stretch of the Via Francigena. Many artistic and architectural testimonies of the medieval period remain: the imposing gate tower, originally located at the entrance of the village, still has the loopholes of the drawbridge, not far away, other corner towers and parts of the city walls.
Ivrea is reachable from the tollbooth on the A5 Torino-Aosta motorway. Piverone, arrival point of the itinerary, is along provincial road SP 228 of Lake Viverone.
Itinerary code: VFC
Access by public transport: Yes
Classification: Medium and low mountain provincial
Provinces crossed: Torino