Today I would like to tell you about one of my favorite places.
Just 50 minutes by car from Cascina 6b, surrounded by nature, is located a small village named Vonzo, in Chialamberto district in the province of Turin. Vonzo is characterized by houses made of stone and a long tradition.
As soon as you get out of the car, the perceived sensation is that of leaving the city chaos for an old-fashioned atmosphere, characterized by small streets made by stone only accessible by walking, houses with embroidered curtains and doors that are always open, by locals’ small dogs with bandanas where it is written “ even if I pretend that I am starving, I have already eaten”, by the sound of fresh water gushing from fountains, by the scent of coffee and freshly cut grass.
Si può dire che Vonzo sia un piccolo borgo, un presepe in scala reale, dove i bambini possono giocare e It can be said that Vonzo is a small village, a full-scale nativity scene, where children can play and run around freely because, as our mother always told us when we were little, “you can’t get lost, all the roads lead home”.
It has always been one of my happy places, a place to take refuge when you want to spend time surrounded by nature, when you need to get away from the everyday frenzy where you can find smiling people who, for every meeting in the narrow streets, they are ready to exchange a spontaneous greeting, typical of every mountain village but not taken for granted, especially for those arriving from the city.
There are countless activities to be carried out: the church square has an equipped playground, a bocce and volleyball court, some benches where you can sunbathe, read a book, or simply listen to the birds tweeting while admiring the landscape. You don’t even need to remember to bring a book from home because Vonzo, in perfect harmony with his convivial spirit, provides those too.
An adorable self-made bookcase, made up of pretty wooden shelves and some books available for anyone who wants to read them, ready to be exchanged for another one that brings with it a different story than the replaced one, made up of yellowed pages and crumpled paper from the various hands that have leafed through it over the years.
For trekking lovers, the church square is the starting point of a route that leads to the Santuario della Madonna del Ciavanis (the shrine of the Virgin Mary of Ciavanis), a small church located on the northern slope at an altitude of 1880 meters. The shrine can be reached by foot, either through an ancient mule track that crosses the valley, in about an hour and thirty minutes, or through the parallel paved road, also riding the e-bikes that can be rented in the upper square, near the road leading to the shrine.
The Santuario della Madonna del Ciavanis can only be reached by car on the second Sunday of July on the celebration of the Madonna del Ciavanis. On this occasion the barrier, which prevents cars from reaching the summit throughout the year, opens to make room for anyone who wants to take part in the festival, characterized by the religious service that allows the entrance to the church that otherwise is closed all year long. The festival is also characterized by great celebrations with traditional music, dances, polenta, sausage and the famous “incanto”, an auction of the handcraft products of the area, whose profits are destined for the maintenance works of the church mentioned previously.
Once back in Vonzo, to finish the day at the best and to repay the effort of the walk, I recommend going to the holiday farm La Bellavarda. There is no better reward than tasting the typical products of the place, in the comfort of the beautiful terrace of the restaurant, enriched by the kindness of the staff. As you may have guessed, Vonzo is a small town that has so much to offer, to tell and which is waiting to be discovered..