Incredible panoramic peaks overlooking the Mediterranean Sea surrounded by about 28,000 hectares of territory: these are two of the many features that Maritime Alps Park offers.
The park is one of the largest in Piedmont and one of the largest in Italy. Its territory, distributed among the Gesso, Stura and Vermenagna valleys, borders for 35 km with Mercantour National Park (France) with which it is twinned. Numerous peaks over 3,000 m, among which Argentera (3,297 m), lakes, prairies, small glaciers, the abundance of alpine fauna and botanical species make up a unique environmental heritage. Once the hunting reserve of the Savoys, who were regular visitors, the park offers the possibility of easy excursions along paths specially marked out for Vittorio Emanuele II.
There are about eighty lakes, almost all of glacial origin, set among the rocks or surrounded by pastures. The area's prestige is further enhanced by the presence of precious thermal springs that gush out at the foot of Mount Matto, in the Terme di Valdieri area, at temperatures that reach 70° C.
THE VISITOR CENTERS
The Park Visitor Centers and Museums are structures offering the opportunity to get closer to the natural and cultural heritage of the territory, to deepen one's knowledge and are organized to welcome tourists and schools, which will find at their disposal displays, informative material, and points of sale of souvenirs, publications, and local products.
Fauna Center Men and Wolves
The Centro faunistico Uomini e Lupi (Wildlife Center of Men and Wolves) is the first center in the Italian Alps entirely dedicated to the knowledge of the wolf. It includes an enclosure of about eight hectares inside of which are housed some specimens of Canis lupus italicus. These are exclusively animals that could not live in freedom: either because victims of serious injuries, or because they were already born in captivity.
How the animal arrived in the Alps, the formation and life of the herds, hunting techniques and the fascinating story of Ligabue, the young male followed in his movements from the Parma Apennines to the Maritime Alps: these are some of the themes developed in the visitor center at Casermette di Entracque.
A second exhibition space in Entracque village is part of the complex. It can be easily reached by a shuttle included in the cost of the ticket but also by an itinerary that can be followed on foot or by bicycle. The Entracque center is dedicated to the relationship between man and wolf: from the myths of ancient Rome to Lupo Alberto, the comic character. In the exhibition center of Entracque, the narrating voice of a storyteller guides the visit. The visit of the two sections is independent and therefore one can start with one or the other. The time required for each visit is just over an hour. In the exhibition center of Entracque, the visit is guided by the narrating voice of a storyteller. Here, too, there is a projection in each of the four rooms.
Visitor Center of Terme di Valdieri
The visitor center houses a permanent exhibition presenting the main naturalistic features of the Park. In the structure there is a point of sale with publications, maps, and various souvenirs. A room hosts temporary exhibitions. Opening: from mid-June to mid-September.
To make easier the knowledge of flora and vegetation of the Park, at Terme di Valdieri, the alpine botanical garden Valderia has been set up (open from 15th June to 15th September). In fourteen natural or artificially recreated environments there are more than 450 species of flowers and plants, many of which are endemic.
Visitor Center of Vernante
The center houses a permanent exhibition about beech forest and the activities of the alpine pastures, rooms for exhibitions and a park-shop.
Attilio Mussino Museum
The museum is dedicated to Attilio Mussino, one of the most famous illustrators of Pinocchio who lived the last years of his life in Vernante. In the permanent exhibition there are his original drawings, copies of the book dedicated to the puppet, objects and other works of the artist.
Museum of Rye Civilization
This small museum in the hamlet of Sant'Anna di Valdieri is part of the Rye Ecomuseum. It is a container of stories and traditions that find their common denominator in rye. A story that leads the visitor to lands where houses are covered with straw, to places where time is marked by reasons, by propitiatory rites, by evening meetings in the stables. In the rooms of the museum there are sections dedicated to the botanical and cultivation aspects of rye; multimedia stations tell about the rye bear and bread-making; rotating panels illustrate the medical uses of the cereal and the relationship between rye and witchcraft. The path allows to know the environment and to read the signs operated by man for his own survival. The main objective is to make people aware of the peculiarities of living in the mountains, of the difficulties that this environment imposes in the movements, in the productive activities, in the daily habits.
Maritime Alps Natural Park
Piazza Regina Elena, 30 - 12010 Valdieri (CN)