In Santena, under the sign of history
Before being the start of this itinerary, Santena is the hometown of a man who made the history of our country, Camillo Benso Count of Cavour, the maker of the Unification of Italy (in 1861). Immersing yourself in his life, before getting onto the saddle, is an experience not to be missed. Just plan a visit to the Castle at the centre of the Foundation dedicated to him. It is an 18th-century villa that belonged to the Benso family and has been transformed into a house-museum that recounts the lifestyle of the statesman and the ruling class of the time. The villa is nestled in a splendid English-style garden with hundred-year-old plane trees and several buildings, including Cavour’s tomb – declared a national monument in 1911. From history to good food – Santena is also known for its asparagus, one of the varieties most appreciated by chefs and fine palates. After the due tasting, you are free to take the first stretch of road: about 35 kilometres around the city belt, as far as Sambuy, a small hamlet of San Mauro Torinese. Enjoy it, because from now on the plain is over.
In Superga, under the sign of myth
After a gruelling climb, there is always a splendid view. It is the same now with the Collina di Superga standing out in front of you: it is time to tackle the 5-kilometre climb at 10 percent, topping out at 15 percent. As you reach the top, your thoughts quickly turn to the Grande Torino, the award-winning football team that on 4 May 1949 travelled on the plane that crashed on this hill. After the dutiful homage to the plaque, don’t be in a hurry to get back on the saddle. Instead, visit the Basilica with its perfectly symmetrical bell towers and marvellous Baroque dome, built in 1731 to a design by architect Filippo Juvarra. At this point, make sure your water bottle is filled with water and your lungs full of oxygen. The Colle della Maddalena (715 metres) , the highest of those overlooking Turin, awaits you: a shorter ascent than the previous one, but one that climbs a narrow forest road reaching a 20 percent gradient.
In Turin, in the sign of culture
The athletes racing the fourteenth stage of the Giro d’Italia 2022, which inspires this itinerary, travel the central part of this course twice. Do you feel like emulating them? Think about it. The descent from Colle della Maddalena is anything but a walk. The road runs down to Valsalice with some sections passing through dwellings and then climbs at quite a steep gradient to the Parco del Nobile, with oak and beech trees, where you can stop for a refreshing break if necessary. You have another 4 kilometres of descent left to go, often on narrow carriageways, before you get to Turin. Now you can catch your breath. How? There is no shortage of ideas. You can walk under the arcades and along the boulevards, enjoying the mix of Art Nouveau, medieval and Baroque architecture in Turin. Let be seduced by the mummies of the Egyptian Museum, the second most important in the world dedicated to the ancient civilisation that developed on the banks of the Nile. Or visit the Royal Museums, with the elegant Royal Palace, the Royal Armoury, the Sabauda Gallery and the Museum of Antiquities. Finally, if you have left your heart in Santena, do not miss the opportunity to visit the Museo del Risorgimento, inside Palazzo Carignano, where the unification of Italy was proclaimed.
By the RCS Sport editorial staff