Aymavilles - Pont d’Ael circular itinerary
Difficulties:E - Excursionist
from 01/03 to 30/06from 01/09 to 30/11
Departure:Aymavilles (653 m)
Arrival:Aymavilles (653 m)
Difference in level:370 m
Duration coming back:1h00
Trail sign:2A - 3
From the Aymavilles vineyards to the Pont d’Ael area known for the majestic Roman aqueduct-bridge but also for its naturalistic features.
Description of the route
This circular itinerary starts from Aymavilles, a town at the entrance to the valley of Cogne, in the area of the Gran Paradiso National Park, and runs through various sections of stage 17 (Villeneuve-Aymavilles) of the Cammino Balteo hiking route. Short sections of the ring are on roadways.
Park your car in the parking lot below Saint-Léger church.
Taking the municipal asphalted road that leads from Aymavilles to Villeneuve, you meet and cross the Grand Eyvia stream that flows down from Cogne Valley. Immediately after the bridge, on the left, a path starts off in the direction of Pondel or Pont d’Ael, indicated by the yellow signpost number 2A.
After the first bend you are on an old mule track that gently climbs the hill, crossing vineyards and deciduous woods. The morainic slopes of the Aymavilles area are particularly suited to the growing of grapes. Several wineries grow indigenous grape varieties such as Fumin, Petit Rouge and Cornalin.
The paving of the path leaves room for the ancient rocks, smoothed and worn down by the slow and inexorable passage of the glaciers that in distant times created these valleys. The sheepback rock formation is generally rounded above and on the upstream side, irregular towards the valley and elongated in the direction of the movement of the glacier; their formation is due to the pressure exerted by the glacial mass and the action of the powerful grinding action carried out by large quantities of debris incorporated within it.
Surrounded by a rural environment alternating with natural areas, the path climbs towards the meadows of Eissogne, sometimes frequented by ungulates. After passing a small footbridge suspended in the air, the path returns to climb up a very sunny and arid slope, at first sight inhospitable, but which conceals an interesting area from a naturalistic point of view, populated in particular by orchids and butterflies, and protected as a special area of preservation. This initial part is steep and rocky, an ideal environment for spotting the golden eagle, the peregrine falcon and other birds of prey that find the right conditions for nesting here.
When you reach the highest point of the climb, you are faced with a tunnel that crosses the waterfall which descends from the aqueduct located above and which, depending on the season, opens its inlets. The inside of the tunnel is illuminated thanks to a solar panel.
Once you leave the tunnel, the view is priceless and you are left speechless in front of the spectacle of nature that amazes you here also for the harmony it shows with the anthropic context. In the background, the Grivola dominates the valley and you get a glimpse of the hamlet of Pont d’Ael and its impressive Roman bridge-acqueduct. This single arch connects the 15 metres that divide the two sides from the deep gorge of about 60 meters from the underlying course of water.
Once in the village you can refresh yourself at one of the many fountains before continuing the journey.
After going through the village, follow the asphalted road that leads to the regional road to Cogne. Once you reach the road, continue on downhill for a few minutes before taking path number 3 which starts out on the left and comes across a lovely votive chapel. From there, the path descends gently initially and then becomes steeper towards the end, reaching the beautiful church of Saint-Léger and thus quickly returning to the starting point in Aymavilles.