A strictly tourist itinerary to reach these unique and characteristic Lanzo Valleys monoliths, created by water erosion. The valley inhabitants have named them “castei”, as they seem to stand as majestic castles: some of them being higher than 10 meters.
Castei D’le Rive Trail
Just before Chialamberto, turn right and, through a narrow and well-paved road, reach the characteristic Vonzo hamlet. Park the car in the area near the church.
From the parking area, proceed on a level dirt road. At the first crossroads, turn right and after a short stretch, turn left, entering a trail pointed out by signpost and white and red marks. The route follows the ridge towards the Paglia stream and then it turns right descending in an area with many terraces. These terraces, supported by dry stone walls, allowed mountaineers to cultivate the land as vegetable gardens or lawns so as to cut hay for animals. Keep on descending, you will find the first Castei d’le Rive, six of which have been numbered. Proceeding northward, you will flank a few more in the making until reaching the most characteristic of all where a descriptive board stands.
These monoliths are the result of wind and water erosion. They have many names in our valleys and in various other countries: “pere a ciapel” (stones with hat) and “pilon ‘dl masca” (witch’s tower), “ciciu ‘d pera” (stone puppet) in Cuneo Province, “les dames coiffèes” (the bonnet ladies) in France and “fairy’s chimneys” in Cappadocia – Turkey. The boulder on top, which seems to be a hat on these original “stone mushrooms”, is of solid rock and endures weathering, protecting the ground below from washout. The soil, mainly made of sand and gravel, packed in thousands of years, is not water-resistant and, due to great infiltration, it favors the slow but steady building of the “castei d’le rive”.
The return trip is by the same itinerary.
Valli di Lanzo – 20 escursioni di Dario Airola
Valli di Lanzo – carta dei sentieri 3 Val d’Ala e Val Grande; Alte Valli di Lanzo – carta n° 17 L’Escursionista & Monti editori