The Alps are beutiful mountains. This massive range is a pretty long half circle which divides Italy from the rest of Europe pointing the borders with France at west, Switzerland and Austria to the north, Croatia and Slovenia to the east, thus creating sort of a “crown” over Northern Italy.
If you want to reach the highest tips of the Alps you must go to Italy (although the location of the highest cliff of Mount Blanc is still an open controversy between Italy and France): Mont Blanc, Matterhorn and the Pink Mount are all in Italy, (although they are accessible also from France and Swizterland) in the northest region of Italy called Valle D’Aosta. The landscape of the Alps changes pretty often depending on the section you visit. For example the very famous Dolomites are a section located in the Region Trentino Alto Adige, at the border with Austria and they are protected under the UNESCO natural world heritage. The section which identifies the borders between Italy and France are called “the Olympic Mounts” since 2006, when the XXth winter Olympics were held in the city of Torino. Indoor sports were held at venues downtown, while outdoor sports were organised at several locations on the Alps. Thus, if you are sporty and you do skii, you might want to go visit Torino and the Alps around the city, during winter.
In winter time the Alps are always covered in snow, while during summer their tips are white while the rest looks rocky and the climatic condition and the humidity makes them less visible despite their proximity to the city. On very cold sunny winter mornings, if you wake up early and walk to one of the panoramic terraces of Torino, you can get a very impressive view over the Alps spanning from the “maritime Alps”, the lower section, which divides the mainland from the Ligurian sea, the Cotiae and Graie Alps, which point the border between Italy and France. That is where the major skii stations are located and the compound is so big to be called “the Milky Way”.
Among all the tips, there is one which is probably the most iconic landmark of Northen Italy: the Mount Viso (Monviso). Not among the tallest of the Alps, measuring only 3841 meters (12.601 feet), this mount has an umistakable Pyramid shaped tip which makes it recognizable by anyone, from any point of the Piedmont Region. If offers a major show when, twice a year, the sun sets right behind it creating sort of mythological atmosphere that many call pure magic or an act of God.
Legend has it that Monviso inspired the logo of Paramount Pictures. I am not sure this is true but the story adds something more to the prestige of this mount which also is home to the source of the longest river of Italy, called Po (formerly called Eridano) which reaches the city of Torino and proceeds it’s run towards the Adriatic sea where it creates an immense Delta, close to Venice which also is protected by Unesco due to bio diverisity it s home to. The Pyramid shaped tip of Mount Viso is visible both from the city of Torino as well as from any other other area of the Piedmont Region. If you are in the famous wine district called Langhe and Monferrato, you can see it, if you are in the rice fields of Vercelli you can also see is, if you are on the highway from Bologna to Torino and you enter the Piedmont Region you can start seeing it even you are more than 150 miles away.
The best view however is from the panoramic terraces of Torino: the Capuchins’ hill or Superga Hill. The first one offers a close view over the city, the second supplies a wider view but from a wider distance. From the Capuchins’ terrace the view is impressive, you can see the Holy Shroud Chapel surmounted by the Cotiae Alps:
or you can see the migthy Mole Antonelliana (the symbol of the city, home to the National Museum of Cinema) and it’s slim pinnacle which seems to penetrate the mounts behind it.
The picture here below provides you with an idea of what the view is like from the Capuchins’ hill, which overarches a pretty long section of the Alps spanning from the Maritime to the Cotiae and the Graie ranges, all the way up to the Mont Blanc. This is the natural border between Italy and France that kings and queens of every era wanted to possess and which have been the set for many wars that changed the history of the world: Hannibal crossed these mounts with his elephants to defy the supremacy of Rome, the Emperor Constantine had the vision of the cross right here and turned the roman empire into a christian kingdom, Charlemagne defeated the Longobards at the bottom of the Alps outside Torino and made himself Emperor 300 years after the collapse of the Roman Empire. Luis the XIV (the french “sun king”) tried to subtract the Alps from the control of the House of Savoy to empower his trade routes… These mounts have been the theatre of so many events and they are still there to offer us entertainment, an extra ordinary story telling opportunity as well as one of the most impressive views that mother nature can provide.