Music, Medieval Avigliana and Sacra San Michel

I try to practice the Recorder at least once a day and if organised and not too buggered, twice!

The couple in the room next door, I suspect also make music twice a day. It tends to be a rather crescendo/de-crescendo and with strange key changes and mostly in 2/4 time and with disconcerting changes in tempi. I have noticed that they break the first commandment of ensemble playing: “thou shalt start together and finish together”.

I am more considerate as I commit at least an hour to my music making and practice by the lake with a semicircle of appreciative ducks or behind the hotel rubbish dump with my sheet music resting on a SULO bin. In so doing I inadvertently create the first sound, light and smell show?

Yesterday I cycled to Susa, and walked kilometers around that delightful town. Whilst I only rode 42 km it was adequate and the precarious relatively major road convinced me to train it back. It was still a full day. So I reasoned that today I would explore the old city of Aviagliana.

With clear directions and map provided by the helpful hotel staff, I set off on the Bianchi, Garmin primed, to cycle around the lake and end up at what I assumed was the original Castello of the ancient city. Signs directed me to the Sacra San Michele. I anticipated a gentle climb…

The astute reader will have well founded feelings of foreboding. Well the Sacra San Michele is NOT the Castello del Conte Rosso! The latter is within 4km of my chalet at an altitude of no more than 150m, the former is about 12km further and 800 m higher with inclines at times of 10%. At the top one is about 1 km above sea level. I had flashbacks to Switzerland. I walked the last 4 km and climb of 400m once there it was well worth the effort. The Abbey closes from 12:30 to 2:30 pm so be warned if you are planning a visit. Sadly I walked up all hot and bothered at 12:35!

The pamphlets proudly state that this Benedictine Monastery was the inspiration for the novel “The Name of the Rose”.

Even this evening, sitting relaxed and satiated, I can’t recall exactly when the penny dropped! Possibly when sweaty and breathless, I stopped to admire the view and turning, saw the Castello del Conte Rosso perched on a hilltop in the distance and well and truely behind me! I do vividly remember yesterday cycling along the valley road to Susa, looking up at the ruins of what was todays challenge – the Sacra San Michele and thinking “how the bloody hell do people get to that place?” Now I know.

The medieval town of Aviagliana dates from around the XII century and again is well preserved, clean and very quiet – or in other words giving the appearance of an ancient ghost town.

This is where I am headed – Sacra San Michel

The monastery buildings from the top.

The Susa valley from the monastery 1km above sea level.

A street scene of the medieval town of Aviagliana



A couple of close ups of the monastery

2 thoughts on “Music, Medieval Avigliana and Sacra San Michel

  1. Twice a day eh – they won’t be needing a bike ride to maintain condition.
    It would be a Christian act to point out to the couple that even if they can’t start together, they should at least finish together. Call it medical advice – it should go down well.


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