The presence of man in Canavese reaches back to prehistoric times, whose findings are now collected in the Archaeological Museum of Cuorgnè. Initially populated by Celtic peoples and then colonized by the Romans and then by the Lombards, who played an important settlement in Belmonte, the territory is deeply tied to the Middle Ages and to the historical figure of the Marquis Arduino of Ivrea, averse to accounts bishops and excommunicated, crowned King of Italy in 1002. He emerged victorious from the siege of Vercelli bishop’s army at the Rock of Sparone and finally retired to end his days in odor of sanctity in the Abbey of Fruttuaria in San Benigno Canavese.
Important traces of the medieval period can be seen: mostly castles, (for example in Agliè, Masino, Rivara, Castellamonte, Valperga, Rivarolo) and towers (in Pont Canavese are facing the Ferranda, now a museum of the territory, and Tellaria; in Cuorgnè the round tower and the square tower, but we should also remember Tower Cives in Vidracco and the tower of Colleretto Castelnuovo, rest of the old castle).
If you want to sped your vacation in a castle you can go to our member Vistaterra in Castello di Parella.
Typical of Canavese Valleys are the numerous fortified houes, often accessible with short walks (Onsino of Sparone, Cà del Cont in Frassinetto, Pianit of Locana, Servino in Ronco, Pertia in Ribordone), in Carema the fortified house of course has a wine cellar ....
Historical centers of the area show medieval traces such as Cuorgnè, Levone, Sparone, Pont Canavese and Chiapinetto in Frassinetto. The passion for the Middle Ages is also reflected in numerous historical re-enactments, the Tournament of May at the court of King Arduino in Cuorgnè; the reenactment of the Siege at the Rock of Sparone and of the foundation of Fruttuaria Abbey in San Benigno, without forgetting the Historical Carnivals of Ivrea and Castellamonte that recalls some moments of Tuchinaggio, fourteenth-century popular revolt.
Another important historical period for the territory's tourism was the nineteenth-century period of "royal hunts" characterized by the presence of the Savoia royal family and of the Turin aristocracy, particularly in Ceresole, which then took on the title of Reale (Royal). Villas around Ceresole lake testimony of the old glory days as the ancient thermal spa with the Minerals Sources, and the Grand Hotel where Carducci composed the Ode to Piedmont and is now back to host tourists and is home to the headquarters of our Consorzio operatori turistici.
Among the religious art are to visit the Chuch of Saint George in Valperga and the Baptistery and the Church of San Lorenzo in Settimo Vittone, with their magnificent cycles of frescoes, the unfinished Rotonda Antonelliana in Castellamonte, the small and ancient Santa Maria di Doblazio in Pont Canavese and the aforementioned Rock of Sparone and the Santa Croce church.
There are also numerous chapels with frescoes, often made in the fifteenth century, as the Madonna del Carmine in Prascorsano, St. James Chapel in Borgiallo, the San Grato chapel in Canischio, Madonna della Filassola in San Colombano Belmonte. The parish of Frassinetto instead preserves works of the appreciated 19th century painter Carlo Bonatto Minella, with a small art gallery.
Numerous sanctuaries witness of miraculous events, among which: the Prascondù Sanctuary in Ribordone, where there is also a museum of popular religiosity managed by Gran Paradiso National Park, the Sanctuary of San Firmino in Pertusio, the St. Elizabeth Sanctuary in Colleretto Castelnuovo. Belmonte sanctuary with its Sacro Monte (holy mountain), UNESCO World Heritage site, definitely worth a visit as it combines elements of artistic and historical interest (the trail with the chapels of the Via Crucis scattered on the hill, the gallery with the votive pictures, the small sanctuary museum) with a landscape and an amazing view. Other popular Sanctuaries are those of Piova, Belice, Milani in Forno, St. Anne of Meinardi in Locana.
Widely practiced is the devotional excursion to the San Besso Sanctuary, in Soana Valley, located at about 2000 m, hat happens every year on August 10th and December 1st, and gathers the faithful on a pilgrimage from Canavese and Val d 'Aosta.
In the area of Baltea river instead passes the Via Francigena, which was, since the High Middle Ages, the route taken by pilgrims from central and northern Europe to reach Rome. In 990 the Via was traveled, recorded and described in 79 days by the Archbishop Sigerico, returning to Canterbury from Rome, after the investiture of the archbishop's pallium from Pope John XV. His diary is therefore the most authentic witness of the track, which in 2004 was declared by the Council of Europe "Great European Cultural Itinerary" similarly to the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The Osteria La Sosta in Settimo Vittone, our member, is located right in an old Via Francigena "hospitale", which is a place for rest and refreshment of pilgrims, as witnessed by the foundation plaque dating back to 894 AD .
In Canavese Valleys are particularly important also tradition linked to work and handicraft. We start from the tradition of Castellamonte ceramic and terracotta, a city that is home to numerous shops of ceramic artists, the Museum of Ceramics at Palazzo Botton, the Allaira Family house museum and Furnace Pagliero in Spineto.
Inside the building of the Furnace, that can be visited and houses permanent exhibitions, there is also the restaurant, our member, Peccati con Gusto. In Castellamonte is held annually between August and September, the Ceramics Exhibition, while in Castelnuovo Nigra, the main street is home to a permanent ceramic exibition dedicated to Nativity.
If you want to descover how they make the pottery and the ceramic handicraft and particularly the famous traditional stoves you can visit our member La Castellamonte.
Since ancient times the population of this land works in mining and processing of metals. In Valchiusella, at Traversella you can visit the old mines, in Brosso the eco-museum of Brossasca and mineralogical museum Ca 'd Martolo, while in Orco and Soana Valleys are the copper processing, with the eco-museum of Alpette and Ronco Forge.
The traditional nomadic jobs and rural life that have characterized these territories have led to a widespread presence in the area of eco-museums, small museums, factories and mills recovered and transformed into a place of visit. Among these, we remember the Chestnut Ecomuseum in Nomaglio, the museum of the territory in Ferranda Tower, Plastic Museum and the ethnographic Museum of Canteir in Pont Canavese, the Spaciafornel Museum in Locana, and many others.