From Susa to Barcelonnette through the Assietta: the splendid fifth stage of the Alpi Grand Tour

The most exciting of the stages of this Alpi Grand Tour was the fifth, the one that took us from Susa to Barcelonette through the dirt roads of Assietta.

That of the fifth day was a truly phenomenal stage: perfect weather, incredible roads and landscapes and the harmony created after almost a week on the road as you could see in the video of the second episode of the Grand Tour of the Alps.

With this itinerary we have connected Susa with Barcelonnette.

I have already mentioned our stay at the Hotel Napoleon in Susa in this post. I will come back to recommend this establishment if you are in the neighborhood. From here we left for the beautiful Hill of Windows. The bends from paved roads become dirt roads and here the fun begins with a last open and spectacular fraction. It is also worth stopping above the pass to have a chat with those passing by.

The paved road then descends in the direction of Sestriere. You can take the Finestrelle or divert to the Assietta road as we did. Doing so ensures a whole morning of pure enjoyment. The road is an easy dirt road with a breathtaking view. Like all beautiful things, however,, it is also famous and therefore very popular. We must therefore always proceed thinking that there may be someone else in motion, by bike, on foot or… in 4×4.

Arrived and refreshed in Sestriere we aimed for the French border of Montgenèvre and then descended to the Col de Vars which, faced from this side at sunset, has truly magical colors.

What see?

  • Susa: it represents an excellent starting point for both road and off-road tours. The country offers everything you need, from the motorcycle accessories shop to hotels with garages and of course excellent restaurants. Unfortunately in recent years we have learned to know it more for the No Tav protests than for its beauties; the time has come to shake off this image and look at Susa and its playground with a completely different spirit, always respecting the environment.
  • Hill of Windows: a stone's throw from Susa, the Colle delle Finestre is very beautiful and today it can be tackled with almost all motorbikes with the obvious exception of those purely road bikes. The final stretch is in fact dirt and in some places the stone is a bit’ moved, so it takes a while’ of foresight if we are carrying a beast from 250 kg. With the Himalayan and the Scram, instead, it's like drinking a glass of water and enjoying the view. Ocio to always respect the cyclists who, thanks to the fashion of the gravel, they are starting to show up here too despite the fact that the ascent is not exactly trivial.
  • Assietta road: simply marvellous. A dirt road of about fifty kilometers of scenic enjoyment. There's here up here it comes to us revving and drifting… You already know how I feel. It should be climbed with the same respect and reverence that one has when entering a splendid cathedral. The route is highly recommended, the important thing is to have a minimum of familiarity with off-road problems and to have suitable tires even if not super specialist.
  • Col de Vars: in its first month of life, my Himalayan has already passed the Col de Vars twice! Maybe it's a record? This is because it is one of 7 hills that make up the route of the’Patent Escartons. Personalmente, however,, I realized that I always did it from south to north and never the other way around. So tackling it going down towards Barcelonnette was a welcome change and it is probably the direction that gives it the greatest beauty. Especially if you do it at sunset. Here there is no shortage of ideas for artistic photographs, just as there are plenty of places to stop to eat or sleep.
  • Barcelona: it shares a strategic position with Susa for those who want to explore an area that is truly a natural playground. Around Barcelonnette there are the Mercantour hills and you could very well stay here for a whole holiday, spending the days going up and down to the right and left. On the contrary… I don't rule out doing it as soon as I get the chance. Because the area is something wonderful. The village is very pretty and in the summer it is naturally crowded with motorcyclists, cyclists and trekkers. There are numerous cafes and small hotels where you can find refreshment.
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