For a long time, the Grana valley has been under dispute between the Saluzzo Marquisate and the Cuneo municipality. The valley was then occupied alternatively by the Savoy and the French. Today the Grana valley plays a secluded role in its geographical region which is in contradiction with its tormented past. The heritage of four centuries under the Saluzzo Marquisate, in the same way as the nearby Maira and Varaita valleys, is expressed in several works of art especially of painting. Worth of a visit is the monumental sanctuary of S. Magno, on the foot of Tibert mountain. 

Visiting Route

In the lower valley, Caraglio was built on the ancient Roman settlement Forum Germanorum, also place of villages dating back to the Iron age. The village grew up in the upper Middle Age and of that time remain the ruins of the town wall and of a castle on the hill of the Madonna del Castello Sanctuary dominating the village. The town centre hosts several medieval buildings around the Romanesque bell tower of S. Paolo Church (13th century). Outside the village along the SP 422 road (Via Matteotti) one finds the Filatori, the most ancient European silk mill. Built between 1676 and 1678 the factory  was restored and it is now a congress centre. At present, the Museum of Piedmontese silk mill is under construction, with an interesting collection of ancient tools for silk treatment and manufacturing.

At the entrance of the valley, on a more elevated position, stands Bernezzo. The village was built on the ancient road linking Pedona (Borgo S. Dalmazzo) to Forum Germanorum (Caraglio), as witnessed by a Latin inscription found among the ruins of an ancient castle. The village keeps the Romanesque parish church Beata Vergine del Rosario with 15th and 16th frescoes by Hans Clemer, the painter master of Elva.

Continuing up along the SP 23 road one reaches Valgrana, where some houses maintain 14th and 15th century frescoes. Then the valley becomes narrower and a side road brings to Montemale di Cuneo, a village in a panoramic position between the Grana and the Maira valley, dominated by a restored 15th century castle.

Along the road on the bottom valley, one reaches S. Maria church, built in the 14th century with 15th century frescoes and then continues to Monterosso Grana. The S. Bernardo chapel keeps some 15th century gothic frescoes by the Master Pietro di Saluzzo. Further on one encounters Saretto and then S. Lucia de Coumboscuro, where it is possible to visit the Etnographic Museum of the Provencal Civilisation holding around 3000 objects of material culture of Occitan alpine valleys.

Further up, the SP 23 road brings to Pradleves, a summer resort whose origin dates back to the 12th century. Here, the castle of the Marquis of Saluzzo was renovated and transformed in a hotel. The valley becomes even narrower reaching Campomolino. This is the core of Castelmagno, a village including 15 scattered hamlets. Before the entrance of the village a road brings to Colletto, where it is located the Pichot muzeu d’la vita d’isì, a ethno museum dedicated to the culture of the valley. Here a castle was present although few traces are found today.  In the hamlets Chiotti and Chiappi, one finds the Muzeu dal travai d’isì, a museum dedicate to local crafts. Further up, one finds the S. Magno Sanctuary on the place of the martyrdom of the Tebean Legion soldier, as the story goes.  The early core dates back to the 15th century and was then enlarged in the 16th and 17th centuries to build the church. The arcade wing hosting the pilgrim guest rooms dates back to the 19th century. In the Allemandi Chapel are present some frescoes illustrating scenes of Life of Jesus by Pietro di Saluzzo (15th century).

From the Sanctuary one reaches the watershed between Stura, Grana and Maira valleys where it is possible to hike along suggestive paths or to mountain biking along a network of former military roads.


Castelmagno Cheese

Thanks to good and abundant pasture, Grana valley is the place of production of Castelmagno, a cheese with Protected Designation of Origin (DOP) status. Castelmagno is a semi-hard flavoured cheese produced from whole cow milk and eventually a small percentage of sheep or goat  milk. Castelmagno has been known for centuries, the earliest mention dates back to the 13th century, however only recently it became popular outside the valley thank to a good market promotion and to a standardized production.

Castelmagno demands a long and elaborated manufacturing. The curd is drained in cheeseclothes, then is milled very fine and kneaded with coarse salt. This process give a very fine and crumble paste which is white when fresh and with greenish-blue streaks in  ripened forms. Of very high quality is the Castelmagno di Alpeggio (from mountain pasture) for which milk production and cheese processing and ripening take place in mountaing pastures.