The actor Flavio Insinna has played this role in a religious fiction. And he said: "He was funnier than Fiorello, he had a crazy spirituality, he built basilicas, he knew how to comfort people, he was a trade unionist, a revolutionary and a Saint, considered so already when he was alive. And then: writer and actor, has created workshops and carpenters ... St. Giovanni Bosco has been a stratospheric surprise for me".
Today, who wants to learn more about the founder of the Salesians, the priest of the young people full of cheerfulness, can do it by walking or cycling along the path that bears his name, launched this year to mark the bicentenary of his birth.
The itinerary, all in Piedmont, is formed by many trails running between the hills and the cities around Turin, through villages, perched castles, villas, parks and farms hidden behind vineyards. A 140 km long route, designed not only for the pilgrims but also for those who on vacation, in addition to their legs, like to "move" their mind and spirit.
Don Bosco crossed these lands countless times: when he was young to go study in Chieri, when he was a priest to pray in the little churches and meet a myriad of young people who needed help. There is not only Valdocco or the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, Mother House of the Salesians, but also many green areas ranging from Monferrato to Chierese up to the Turin hills.
The Saint has always had with him a lot of young people, he leaded them to the shrines out of town. He used to go there because he didn’t have a place to host them. Then, when the oratory was born, he turned it into a joyful space in which children were at home, where they could learn a job, get together and get an education as well as catechesis. Then, came the autumn walks in the hills of Monferrato, thought as an important moment of aggregation, one of the strengths of the Salesian educational project.
The Route of Don Bosco is inspired by the first great historical-religious itinerary of Europe, Santiago de Compostela. Included in the project "Roads of colors and flavors of Chierese and Carmagnolese", it proposes three routes with different difficulties, from 40 to 55 km:
- High Way, also called the Superga-Crea’s
- Middle Way or Lake Arignano’s
- Low Way or St. Dominic Savio’s
The three paths are well-described in a card that aims to be a story as well as a guide.
There are information about itineraries and services (cottages, bed and breakfasts, restaurants, local products’ shops, environmental attractions), moments of the history of Giovanni Bosco, historical and artistic news.
Among faith, culture, history and a hospitality rich of ancient flavors, the route is suitable for a wide variety of uses, from a day's walk to longer hiking, covering the entire circular route.
You can also mix the three paths. For example, starting in Turin, you can take the High Way and go back on the Low one (a total of 102 kilometers) or on the Middle (98 km) or even begin with the Middle and end on the Low (89 km).
You can’t get lost: the path is marked by white-green signs, placed clockwise starting from Turin. In addition, the path is geo-referenced and you can download the data from the web-site, with all the tips to experience the story of a Saint beloved by young people, who became a reference, not only religious, in training and educating children.