All Journeys have Secret Destinations
There is nothing like a treasure given to you by a local.
Of course finding that treasure is part of the adventure.
Following a tiny path to Balma Boves with grass that was almost higher than my Mother in Law I was sure we’d been sent on a wild goose chase.
It later turned out that we had come in via the wrong track (of course). So our gentle walk was more like a trek through the wilderness, and took much longer than the half an hour we were expecting.
Balma Boves is extraordinary. It is located on the Southern side of Monte Bracco in the Po Valley. For that easy half an hour walk you follow the path that leaves from Rocchetta. This path winds through the chestnut trees along the old mule track.
I have a fascination for these homes built under massive natural rock ledges, Balma translates roughly to “under rock”.
Balma Boves was built in 1135 by a group of “Cistercensi” monks that came to the area on land donated by the first Marquis of Saluzzo.
Monte Bracco is nicknamed the “Mountain of Leonardo da Vinci” as the artist used color palettes made of quartzite quarried here. Balma Boves is located along a group of hiking trails called “Leonardo’s Path” and was inhabited up till the Sixties and recently turned into a museum and opened to visitors in 2005.
Due to the location under the natural rock ledge, the village has remained intact. It’s a fascinating example of living history, complete with houses, stables, cellar, oven, and barns.
“Accessible only with great difficulty for much of human history, the valleys developed their own peculiarities, in both language and traditions. But to think of these places as isolated worlds would be a mistake. Their pathways and roads were incessantly traveled, from Medieval times, from one end to the other, across what is now Italian territory and into the French territory.” –Azienda Turistica Locale del Cuneese
When we found Balma Boves it was abandoned and we wandered about imagining a life here. We drank from the waterfall and could almost hear the sounds of children playing …
video : Luca Olivieri
Borgata Museo Balma Boves A Sanfront
Località Balma Boves – Frazione Rocchetta
12030 Sanfront (CN)
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