Colle delle Finestre: A Road for Pilgrims and Smugglers

On foot         
  • Departure: San Giacomo di Entracque (1,213m)
  • Duration: 4 hour/s
  • Difference in height: 1,300m

Thanks to its relatively modest altitude and easy access from the two slopes of the Alps, Colle delle Finestre has been busy since ancient times. The place name "San Giacomo" (St James) at the beginning of the itinerary and medieval documents witnessing the presence of an ancient shelter for pilgrims demonstrate that this route was followed to reach the famous Santiago de Compostela Sanctuary, in Spain. The itinerary is still used today by the local people for the pilgrimage to Madonna delle Finestre Sanctuary, situated on the French slope. It has also been used over the centuries to transport salt from Provence to Piedmont and, during the war, for animal, food, and tobacco smuggling activities. At about halfway, Soria Mountain Hut offers a good stop.

From the Park guest house, follow the dirt road entering the beech woodland and climbing to Gias Isterpis (1,381m) and to the junction leading to Gias della Siula. Follow the road crossing the narrow Peirastretta Pass (1,630m), meet the junction to Colle delle Fenestrelle, and reach afterwards Piano del Praiet. You can quickly reach the mountain hut (1,840m) following the road. For the Colle, go ahead towards the head of the valley, climb with a series of hairpin bends to the junction leading to Pera de Fener and continue on the right along the main mule track developing across stony grounds up to Colle delle Finestre (2,471m).

Colle di Finestra 2,471m
Colle di Finestra 2,471m

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