Visit Caselette and Mount Musinè: the natural park steeped in history, legends and UFO sightings

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Author Alessandro 10 June 2023
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Welcome to Caselette, a charming pre-mountain municipality in the province of Turin.

In this article, we will guide you to discover the historical and natural treasures of Caselette, sharing some of the legends that make this destination so fascinating.

Monte Musinè Path
Monte Musinè Path

The Map: Caselette (TO)

In the map below, we have marked the historical points of interest in brown, natural sites in green, and the routes in green.

To visit Caselette, it is very convenient to stay in Alpignano and reach Caselette through the pedestrian and cycling path that runs alongside the State Road 24.

We have also indicated the parking areas where parking with campers or vans is currently tolerated (as of June 2023). Finally, we have marked the points where water is available.

Please note that all this information, including parking tolerance, may change in the future.

A Bit of History

Caselette boasts a rich history that dates back to the Roman period and even earlier, to Celtic times.

The Castles of Caselette

Caselette is home to two castles, among the oldest in the Susa Valley.

Camerletto Castle (9th century)

Built before the 10th century, it was originally a Roman military camp guarding the main road of the valley. Its first name was Castrum Merletum, and its occupants were engaged in agricultural exploitation of the surrounding territory.

In a document dating back to 1025, the first mention of the name Caselette appears, referring to the foundation of Camerletto Castle as a Benedictine monastery dependent on the Novalesa Abbey.

The Benedictines were later succeeded by the Carthusians. The castle then passed to the Reformed Cistercians (Foglianti) who remained there until the French Revolution, after which it was sold to private individuals in the early 19th century.

The current appearance of the castle is the result of the restoration work carried out by architect Antonio Bertola following the devastations caused by the French in the 17th and 18th centuries.

At the beginning of the 1800s, it became the property of the Ferrero Ponsiglione Family, Counts of Borgo d’Ale. It was then sold to the Consolata Missionaries of Turin, who transformed it into a seminary and artisan school. Since the 1950s, it has been owned by the Paschero Family and currently functions as a bed and breakfast.

Cays Castle (11th century)

The Cays Castle of Caselette is an ancient fortress located at the foot of Mount Musinè, between the Dora Riparia and the Casternone stream. With its grandeur, it dominates the entrance to the Susa Valley.

At the beginning of the millennium, there was a fortified house consisting of a tower, a residential part, and a rustic warehouse on the site. Over the years, it was inhabited by various noble families and also served as a refuge for the royal family.

Starting with the De Caselette family, who managed the surrounding lands and collected tolls for trade between the Susa Valley and Canavese, it became the property of the Savoy family. However, it was taken away by Barbarossa, who entrusted it to the Marquises of Monferrato. It later returned to the rule of the Savoy lords in the 14th century.

It then passed to the Canali di Cumiana family, who inhabited it from the mid-14th century until the early 17th century. In 1640, the fiefdom passed to the Cauda family, which became extinct in 1794.

The Caselette Castle was then inherited by the Cays family of Pierlas, Giletta, and Caselette, who adorned it with an extensive English-style garden. The current owner, Carlo, commissioned the park’s design from Xavier Kürten, one of the most famous landscape architects of the 19th century.

Carlo Cays
Carlo Cays
Carlo Cays of Caselette
Carlo Cays of Caselette

The new owners also hold municipal administrative roles. Count Luigi becomes the mayor. His son Carlo Alberto, the most illustrious of the Cays, actively promotes public works and various initiatives for the development of the village, holding the same position as his father for two terms.

In 1854, the castle welcomed Queen Mother Maria Teresa and Queen Maria Adelaide with their children, who took refuge there to escape the cholera epidemic.

In addition to being the mayor of Caselette, Carlo Alberto Cays was a deputy in the subalpine parliament and hosted Saint John Bosco in the castle. Following the example of the saint, he took religious vows and became a Salesian.

During this period, the Chapel of the Gentility was built, where Don Bosco officiated, following the model of the Chapel of the Holy Shroud.

The last of the Cays, Carlo Vittorio, lived there until his marriage in 1890. His widow, Giulia Celesia, donated the Castle of Caselette to the Salesian Congregation in 1943.

The Salesians welcomed war orphans in the castle and have been hosting parish groups and school groups since 1966. At the end of 2007, the castle was purchased by a private individual and permanently closed. It can now only be admired from the outside.

Castle Architecture

The castle features a 16th-century French-style fortification wall, topped by the red tower that stands tall among majestic plants.

Over the centuries, the castle has gradually lost its defensive characteristics and has become exclusively a noble residence, especially after the renovations and reconstructions it underwent in the 17th and 18th centuries.

It was expanded in the 19th century, during a stay by Vittorio Emanuele II, with neo-Gothic elements, and today it has the appearance of an 19th-century residence.

Churches and Places of Worship

Caselette boasts several notable churches within its modest urban area, such as the 12th-century Church of San Giovanni Battista. Other noteworthy churches include the Church of S. Maurizio, the Church of S. Bernardo, and the Sanctuary of S. Abaco.

Chapel of San Giovanni (12th century)

The chapel, probably originally an open chapel, is dedicated to San Giovanni and dates back to the 12th century. Today, only the beautiful Romanesque apse remains after the restoration carried out in 1982. It was once adorned with a late medieval fresco, which has now disappeared.

The remains of the chapel are located near the Cemetery, close to the Monument to the Fallen.

Musinè Park

Monte Musinè
Monte Musinè

Caselette is surrounded by breathtaking natural scenery, with splendid landscapes that attract nature lovers.

Among the most appreciated natural wonders is the Musinè Park, which offers a wide range of outdoor activities such as hiking, scenic walks, and cycling trails.

With its lush meadows, ancient woods, and breathtaking views, Musinè Park is an oasis of tranquility that allows visitors to relax and rejuvenate in contact with nature.

This fascinating peak is surrounded by a rich history and enveloped in numerous legends.

The first evidence of the existence of this mountain dates back to prehistoric times when it was inhabited by primitive human communities. Even in ancient times, Musinè was an important point of reference for local populations, who exploited its natural resources by establishing settlements there.

Its slopes are covered with a variety of trees and vegetation, creating a spectacle of colors, especially in autumn.

Mountain Bike Caselette-Almese
Mountain Bike Caselette-Almese

Diverse wildlife finds refuge among its rocks and forests, making Musinè a place of great interest for nature and animal lovers.

Despite its modest height, from its peaks, on clear days, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the city of Turin, the Po Valley, and the surrounding valleys and mountains.

Panorama with Caselette lake
Panorama with Caselette lake

It is said that the mountain hides ancient treasures and secrets, attracting adventurers and fortune seekers.

Local legends, which tell of spirits and mystical creatures that would inhabit the deep caves and ravines, add a unique charm to this mountain.

Panorama from Mount Musinè
Panorama from Mount Musinè

Well-marked trails allow you to explore the mountain, discovering breathtaking views and various points of historical and natural interest, including the remains of a Roman aqueduct, two Roman villas, centuries-old pine forests, a glacial lake, and ancient well-preserved magnesite quarries.

You can enjoy immersive experiences in nature by practicing trekking, mountain biking, and climbing.

Practical Tips

Before embarking on a cycling or trekking route on Musinè, it is important to take some precautions and follow practical advice.

Make sure you are properly equipped with hiking or cycling shoes, appropriate clothing for weather conditions, and sufficient water and food.

Carry a trail map or use a navigation app to orient yourself along the route.

Always respect the natural environment, carry your waste with you, and avoid damaging the local flora and fauna.

Ari on Musinè
Ari on Musinè

Roman Villas and the Roman Aqueduct

Musinè is rich in ancient history, with Celtic and Roman sites that testify to the passage and influence of these civilizations in this place.

During our exploration, we walked the ancient paths and visited all the important Roman sites in Musinè: the remains of the Roman Aqueduct and the Roman Villas of Caselette and Almese.

The Roman Aqueduct of Musinè is an extraordinary testament to the engineering skills of the ancient Romans. This water supply system was built to bring drinking water to the cities and Roman settlements in the region.

The aqueduct, with its majestic arches that have disappeared over time, and its solid structure that has endured for millennia, stretches for several kilometers through the Musinè territory, representing an impressive hydraulic engineering feat. Even today, it is possible to admire its remains and imagine its vital importance for the Roman community of that time.

The Roman Villa of Caselette, as well as the one in Almese, is an important testimony to Roman architecture and way of life.

The basements of the two villas still reveal the rooms and spaces that constituted their interiors. By visiting the two villas, you will be transported back in time to the daily life of the Roman inhabitants who once resided in these rural dwellings.

The Roman Aqueduct of Musinè and the two Roman villas at its foothills deserve careful preservation and conservation. Unfortunately, at the time of our visit, the two villas were closed, and visiting hours are limited to a few days a year. We hope that the municipality will find a solution to make this historical heritage more accessible.

Sanctuary of S. Abaco (16th century)

The Sanctuary of Casalette has uncertain origins: the first documents mentioning it date back to 1551.

Between 1765 and 1770, a bell tower was built. Significant enlargements of the church took place starting in 1817.

The construction of the road was carried out by Sunday volunteers from the village, encouraged by Count Cays, who took these initiatives to heart. Between 1854 and 1860, the stations of the Via Crucis were built with the contribution of individuals and groups from Caselette and visitors. Don Bosco, who visited Caselette during those years, described this Via Crucis as a speaking monument of the piety and religion of the people of Caselette.

The religious festivity of Sant’Abaco is celebrated on January 19th. The preceding Saturday, a festive afternoon is held at the sanctuary, concluding with a torchlight procession descending from the sanctuary to the village.

Magnesite Quarries of Musinè

The Magnesite Quarries of Musinè are evidence of the mining activity that has characterized the region over the centuries.

Magnesite quarries in Caselette
Magnesite quarries in Caselette

These quarries were already a source of material for the floors of the Roman rustic villa of Pian, but it was from 1875, thanks to two entrepreneurs from Pinerolo, Luigi Sery and Giovanni Mallion, that mineral extraction in the area took on an industrial scale.

The magnesite was used at that time in the production of porcelain and as refractory material in furnace linings.

According to a municipal resolution of 1878, the magnesite quarries of Musinè provided Caselette with a significant income for a considerable period.

Other areas adjacent to the main quarry were excavated in the late 19th century.

Magnesite
Magnesite

In 1883, Mallion leased the quarry and sold the ownership of the factory to the Lavelli company from Milan. In 1895, the company became Società Viglezzi, which continued the mining activity until the outbreak of World War II, when the quarry was abandoned.

Caselette magnesite quarries
Caselette magnesite quarries

The landscape that greets the visitor has an almost alien, one could say lunar, appearance. From the green forest, one transitions to an area characterized by sparse and barren vegetation, except for a few pine trees that stubbornly grow amidst the yellowish-white sands.

Exploring the quarries, it is possible to admire the rock walls carved by humans, tangible evidence of the hard work of the miners who operated in this place. The magnesite quarries also offer a unique opportunity to understand the geology of the region and the importance of natural resources in the economic history of Musinè and the surrounding areas.

Until a few years ago, the remains of rails and iron carts used to transport the ore downhill were still present on-site.

Musinè: UFOs, Mysteries, and Magic

Musinè is the protagonist of numerous legends that have been passed down through the centuries.

The Hidden Treasure

One of the best-known legends of Musinè speaks of a hidden treasure somewhere in the mountain caves. It is said that a great fortune was hidden there, but no one has ever been able to find it. According to the legend, the treasure is protected by spells and guardian spirits that will only allow those with a pure heart to discover its location.

The Spirits of the Mountain

The spirits of Mount Musinè in Caselette
The spirits of Mount Musinè in Caselette

According to another legend, Musinè is inhabited by mysterious spirits who protect the mountain and its secrets. These spirits, known as the Elders of Musinè, considered the guardians of nature and the spiritual balance of the mountain, only appear to those who show respect and devotion to the mountain, offering their protection. Many hikers and visitors have reported sightings and encounters with these entities, further fueling the atmosphere of magic and mystery that envelops the mountain.

The Mysterious Wind

Another legend surrounding Musinè concerns a mysterious wind that blows through its peaks. It is said that this wind brings good omens and has the power to heal diseases and ward off evil spirits. Many people visit Musinè in the hope of feeling the mysterious wind and benefiting from its alleged healing properties. This legend has contributed to creating a reputation for the mountain as a sacred place with great energetic power.

Forbidden Love

Legend of the lovers of Mount Musinè in Caselette
Legend of the lovers of Mount Musinè in Caselette

A romantic legend about Musinè tells of a forbidden love between a young peasant girl and a nobleman. It is said that the two secretly met in the valleys of Musinè, finding refuge among its forests and rocks, but their families disapproved of their relationship and tried to separate them.

According to the legend, the two lovers mysteriously disappeared, and their souls merged with the mountain, creating an aura of romance and sadness around Musinè.

The Secret Passage

One of the most fascinating stories about Musinè involves the existence of a secret passage that would connect the mountain to distant lands. According to the legend, this hidden passage was used by kings and nobles of the past to escape in times of danger. However, the entrance to the passage remains a mystery, and only a few fortunate ones would have had the privilege of discovering and traversing it.

The Werewolf Cave

Legend of the werewolf of Mount Musinè in Caselette
Legend of the werewolf of Mount Musinè in Caselette

The last, but perhaps the most well-known and popular among local summer camps, legend of Musinè speaks of a werewolf that hides in a cave somewhere in the mountain and descends to the surrounding villages to abduct victims during full moon nights.

Musinè and UFOs: Mysteries and Sightings

UFOs over Musinè: mysteries and sightings
UFOs over Musinè: mysteries and sightings

In addition to its natural beauty and legends, Musinè is particularly known internationally as a place of UFO sightings.

Over the years, Musinè has recorded an unusual number of reported sightings of unidentified flying objects moving in an anomalous manner in the sky above the mountains. Eyewitnesses have described bright lights, unusual shapes, and fast, silent movements.

These sightings have sparked great interest among UFO enthusiasts, researchers, and the local community.

Explanations for the UFO phenomena in Musinè vary and are debated. Some supporters of ufological theories believe that the sightings are evidence of extraterrestrial visitors exploring Earth. Others suggest that they could be advanced technology devices secretly developed by governments or military agencies. According to one theory, Musinè would be an important alien base, with certain flat areas opening up to allow the exit and entry of flying saucers.

Some more skeptical theories attribute the sightings to natural phenomena such as meteors or optical illusions.

The interest in UFOs in Musinè has led to several investigations and research on the phenomenon. Some ufologists and enthusiasts have studied the sightings and collected testimonies in order to find concrete evidence of the existence of extraterrestrial life.

However, despite efforts, no definitive or conclusive results have been provided to prove the nature of the UFOs in Musinè.

The UFO sightings in Musinè have had a significant impact on local culture and the collective imagination. Stories of encounters with alleged extraterrestrials and mysterious sightings have fueled curiosity and speculation. Over the past 70 years, Musinè has become famous for its countless sightings, attracting visitors and UFO enthusiasts from around the world.

The mystery of UFOs in Musinè continues to fascinate and intrigue both residents and visitors.

Recommendations

View of Musinè from Caselette

Musinè is a natural wonder that combines history, beauty, and mystery. Its ancient history, beauty, and the legends surrounding it create a unique atmosphere that fascinates and captures the imagination.

It is important to visit this mountain with respect for nature and the rules of behavior, contributing to its protection for future generations.

If you have the opportunity to visit Musinè, don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in its majesty, explore its history, and discover the legends hidden among its peaks. Locals will surely know more stories that, unfortunately, we haven’t had the fortune to hear.

We are confident that this journey will be an unforgettable experience for you, as it has been for us, leaving a lasting memory.

Pera Aöta, the Erratic Boulder of Caselette, a unique geological work

Pera Auta, Caselette

Pera Auta (or Pietra Alta) is one of the natural wonders that characterize the landscape of Caselette.

The Erratic Boulder of Caselette is a rock of considerable size, characterized by an irregular shape and a different composition compared to the surrounding rocks. Its dimensions are impressive, with a height of about 10 meters and a diameter of 50 meters.

It is an extraordinary example of geology, a silent witness to the forces and processes that have shaped our planet over millennia, fascinating scholars and visitors interested in geology.

Its origin dates back to the Ice Age, when huge masses of ice moved through the region. During the movement of glaciers, the boulder detached from its original position and was transported over long distances, eventually ending up in its current location in Caselette. This phenomenon, known as glacial transport, is responsible for the presence of erratic boulders in various parts of the world.

The Erratic Boulder of Caselette offers visitors a unique opportunity to closely admire tangible evidence of the power of nature.

Its imposing presence and the raw beauty of the rock attract photographers, geology enthusiasts, and nature lovers.

Preserving the Erratic Boulder of Caselette for future generations is essential, ensuring its integrity and protecting it from damage and degradation, raising awareness among the public about the need to respect and safeguard natural heritage.

In recent decades, numerous climbing routes have been established on the boulder.

[Photos: Insert here a series of photos showing the Erratic Boulder of Caselette from different angles, highlighting its imposing size and geological features.]

Conclusion

The slopes of Mount Musinè

With its fascinating history, places of historical interest, and the natural beauty that surrounds it, Caselette represents an authentic gem of the province of Turin.

Visitors who come here will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the ancient history of the place, admire the medieval architecture of the Castle and churches, and engage in numerous outdoor activities in the marvelous Musinè Park.

Whether you are a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply looking for new experiences, Caselette will offer you an unforgettable experience.

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Alessandro Gemscovery Travel Blog
Computer scientist, electrical engineer, mechanic and jurist, traveling on the road since birth.
Passionate about off-grid life and self-production, I write for passion.

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