Ostana: Occitan Villages at the foot of Monviso.

Anbornelli di Ostana
Anbornelli di Ostana

Things to see

Ostana is a small country villages scattered in a panoramic position on the sunny side of the Po valley, with wonderful view of the Monviso. In the lower part of the river Po, newborn, licks his territory. The easiest way to get to know this corner of Alpine Occitan is the full tour of the villages: they serve at least four hours of walking and in winter it is best to bring along snowshoes.

Wherever you admire the wisdom of the spontaneous mixing the wood with stone houses and puts a hat sturdy roofs lose. Everything is beautiful and functional, and squeezes my heart to see the abandonment of housing and communal ovens, dry stone walls and cobbled streets, chapels and wayside shrines. This was a mountain populated with large slabs of stone that marked all cultivated land. Today this immense wealth waiting to be taken away to oblivion.

Old bridge
Old bridge between Ossana and Crissolo

Our journey can start from the capital La villus (Villa in Italian), the Town Hall. From here, after a few hundred meters, you get onto the road leading to the village Champanho (Ciampagna) between maple and ash trees and high stone walls dry. In summer the road is stained with the color of pink carnations. Go past the few houses of Marquet (Marchetti) the way you forward in a beech wood, keeping the view of the imposing pyramid of Monte Viso.

After Champanho, crossing two rivers, you will encounter numerous plants of laburnum, a branch of which was placed on the lintel of the door of the barn as a sign of hope. Here dominate the birches and larches, with undergrowth of raspberries and blueberries. It passes other small nuclei uninhabited, until you get to the two villages of La Rua (Bernardi) and Miribrart (shingles). The latter is perhaps the most characteristic, with its houses leaning against each other and share in the seasonal settlements, called the Meire, with pastures suspended between cliffs and valleys.

Serre di Ostana
Serre di Ostana

The external walls of the houses of Miribrart, that little by little are offered (there are plans to create you a popular hotel and an eco-museum of Alpine), often conserve the large stone (Peiro from milezim) upon which is inscribed the date construction of the building: there are also the early nineteenth century, but the settlement is by far the oldest.

Going back to the villus, we find St. Bernard, in whose church has been brought to light a remarkable medieval frescoes. Instead of taking the road to Samicoulàou (St. Nicholas), happen to notice some barme, rock shelters used as cells for milk or shelter of cattle. We are already on the second path, that of Meire (a three-hour walk), which at the Pion from Charm, to 1635 meters above sea level, crosses the third route that we recommend, that the pastures, ie the line of the sheep tracks used by livestock to achieve the common pastures and the evening return.

The view, going high, it is more and more spectacular: in Punta Sellassa (2036m) across the Alps with Monte Viso, Rosa, the Matterhorn, unfolds before our eyes, between the blue mantle of violets or rose Alpine Clover. Of course this route is the most challenging (six hours trekking), but also without climbing up there you can find the peace between a hut and a pasture, seeing the mountain to work, speaking their language: beyond the world of the vanquished.

ostana-13The local products

The toma pasture, thanks to the presence of four herdsmen.

The local dishes

Polenta potatoes and buckwheat.
Potatoes, once peeled and cooked in salted water, they are crushed and cooked over a wood fire, stirring constantly and gradually adding buckwheat flour and wheat flour in equal amounts, until you reach a good consistency.
Serve piping hot and use a wire to make the slices. Excellent with cheese, aioli, banho dë cousso (pumpkin sauce) and with the typical banho from jòous, the “sauce on Thursday”, prepared with the remainder of the preparation of dairy butter, which was normally prepared to Thursday to bring it to market peasant on Friday.

Where to stay in Ostana

Hotels and Farm Stays: search and reserve here.

Piemonte: The most beautiful villages