Natural Park of the Marguareis Massif

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Ph. Parco Pesio - Morgantini hut
Ph. R. Gaborin - Snowdrop
Roe deer in the Pesio valley
Ph. F. Voglino - Gias Sottano Sestrera
Ph. Parco Pesio - Colle dei Signori
Augusta Bagiennorum - Roman Theater
Ph. D. Salvestrin - i Ciciu del Villar
White airon

The Park Authority, whose head offices are situated in Chiusa di Pesio (CN), manages the Natural Park of the Marguareis Massif and five Nature Reserves. In this way, you have a sole reference point for the spare time you wish to spend in the most varied landscapes of the Province of Cuneo.

•  Marguareis Nature Park   
The park encloses the two slopes opposite of the Marguareis mountain (2651m), which is the most enhanced and fascinating one in the Alpi Luguri, including the Pesio and Tanaro valley. These valleys differ from each other but are both very rich when talking about their history, monuments and landscapes.     
In the Tanaro slope, as well as in the Pesio valley, there is a natural itinerary that deepens the knowledge about the great naturalistic heritage of these valleys. A great amount of high situated mountain huts (Garelli, Mondovì, Pian Rosso) make the complete tour around the massif Marguareis mountain more comfortable. The mountain hut Pian delle Gorre is situated in the middle of the park, surrounded by european silver fir tree forests belonging to the Pesio valley. For those who love animals, it the observatory of the fauna is worth seeing, not far from Pian delle Gorre, where one can admire, with a little bit of fortune and silence, deers, chamois and roe deers. 
Near the mountain hut Garelli one can find two botanical stations, which are two hours of walking from the Pian delle Gorre away and at an altitude of nearly 2,000 metres. The stations are connected by an itinerary, which shows solely plant species of the Alpi Liguri and Marittime and they are opened every day (from the first of July to the 15th of September) with free entrance. 
The park houses the most important alpine karstic system of Piedmont, with over 150 km of explored caves reaching the 1,000 m of depth. The landscape is characterized by large forests of silver firs, beech, and larch trees. Thanks to its geographical position and climate, Pesio Valley boasts an extraordinary variety of floristic species (about 1,500) including both continental alpine species and Mediterranean species, among which Cypripedium calceolus, Saxifraga cernua, Phyteuma cordatum, and Viola pinnata stand out.   
From an architectural point of view one can find a wonderful Middle-Age monastery (Certosa di Pesio) in the Inner of the park in the Pesio valley. Instead, in the Tanaro slope it is worth seeing the traditional inhabited localities of Carnino.
Another place of interest is the Museum of the park (Museo del parco – Centro Aldo Viglione), near Via S. Anna 34 n Chiusa Pesio. It keeps a permanent exhibition with 300 photos made by Michele Pellegrino, which allow to gain an insight of the local environment and which make the visitor consider about the maintenance and appreciation of the natural heritage.

 

NATURE RESERVES

• Bene Vagienna Special Nature Reserve
The towns of Bene Vagienna and Lequio Tanaro are situated where the Cuneese plateau is cut into deep valleys joining the Tanaro river. Between them, the deep valley of the stream Mondalavia stretches: it is an area of great naturalistic value situated at the edges of what was once one of the main Roman local towns: Augusta Bagiennorum. The presence of the Special Nature Reserve invites to visit both the archaeological excavations in Roncaglia (free entrance) and the naturalistic and landscape beauties of the area. During the archaeological excavations the ruins of the Quadrangular Towers, the Forum, the Temple, the Civil Basilica, the Baths, the Aqueduct, and several houses have been found.

• Ciciu del Villar Nature Reserve
Situated in the Piedmont area between Dronero and Busca, this Nature Reserve protects an extraordinary geological phenomenon: the erosion columns. The so-called "stone mushrooms" derive from the selective erosion of a single side, and can be found here in considerable quantities and characterized by different sizes. The itinerary across this "rocky garden" can be carried out along the Equipped Trails, while at the entrance of the Reserve the Visitor Centre will welcome you with the related services, picnic areas, and its sport, tourist, and hiking trails. The Reserve is open all year long from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., admission with fee. Ph. +39.3271176661 - riservadeiciciu@provillar.it - www.provillar.it

•  Nature Reserve of the Belbo Springs
In the area of Alta Langa, a few kilometres from Ceva, there is a small undulating plateau lying among the towns of Montezemolo, Camerana, and Saliceto. Among these hills covered with woods the stream Belbo has its source: it meanders for some kilometres through wetlands, where people fond of botany can admire important flowers, and in particular, the orchids which are present with 22 species. The area is beautiful for in-between season walks, while in winter you can practice cross-country skiing. A thick net of narrow roads and trails makes the area suitable for mountain-biking and horse riding. The visitors are welcomed in Montezemolo by the new Park Visitor Centre and by some picnic areas.

• Crava Morozzo Nature Reserve
The protected area (a LIPU Sanctuary since 1979) is the most important example of wetland in southern Piedmont, unique and important for the stop of several birds during the migratory period. The wetland consists of the Crava and Morozzo lakes, artificially built in 1928 to exploit the water of the Pesio and Brobbio streams. In the Sanctuary, where about 200 among aquatic and non-aquatic bird species have been recorded, you can carry out guided visits if you book in advance. You can visit the Reserve during the whole year, and each season is characterized by interesting bird-linked aspects.

• Nature Reserve of the Bossea Cave
The Bossea Cave is in the Corsaglia Valley, near the village of Frabosa Soprana. Situated at 836 meters above sea level, it is one of the most beautiful and important caves in Italy. For further information click here.


Ente di gestione del Parco Naturale del Marguareis 
Via S. Anna 34 – 12013 CHIUSA DI PESIO (CN)
Ph. +39 0171 734021 fax +39 0171 735166
parcomarguareis@ruparpiemonte.it 
www.parcomarguareis.it