Gesso valley

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Ph. T. Aimar - Entracque - Sant'Antonino Martire parish church
Entracque - Lake Chiotas and Genova mountain hut
Ph. T. Aimar - Terme di Valdieri - Bela Rosin chalet

The Gesso Valley begins just outside the town of Borgo San Dalmazzo and goes up towards Valdieri where it splits into the valleys of Entracque and Terme di Valdieri.
Here visitors enter the Nature Park of the Maritime Alps, the larger protected area in Piedmont. Thanks to its proximity to the sea, the park houses some Mediterranean plants, such as the Juniperus Phoenicea and other endemic species. It borders on the National Park of Mercantour (France) with whom works and develops international projects, such as the return of barbed vultures in the area and the preservation of wolves.
For more information on the area and the visitors’ centres of the Park, click here. 

During the XIX and XX centuries this valley was chosen as a destination for the Summer holidays of the royal Italian family, the Savoy, and as it was their game reserve, here the environment has always been protected and it is not unusual to see a chamois or a ibex.  Traces of the presence of the royal family – like the hunting lodges  - can be seen in various places along the valley. The Thermal baths of Valdieri are open from mid June to mid September: hot sulphur water pours out of the mountain at about 1400 m of altitude and it is used in different ways to cure a large number of diseases.

Entracque is a lively village situated at about 1000 m in the short side valley that takes the same name. It is a Summer and Winter holiday resort and it preserves many tiny jewels, such as the 16th-century parish church of Sant’Antonino Martire, the homonym fountain and the Museum of Sacred Art, plus the interesting Men and Wolves Wildlife Centre opened in 2010. (For more information, click here.) In Winter Entracque becomes a nice destination for alpine and nordic ski lovers. There are also a number of off-piste trails that we suggest only to expert skiers. Near Entracque there is the Luigi Einaudi hydroelectric power station, the biggest in Italy and among the most important in Europe. It is formed by three lakes: two of them (lake Chiotas and lake Piastra) are artificial, while the third was formed by working on an existing lake now called lake of the Rovina: a free guided visit to the power station takes visitors inside the mountain by a little electric train (Tel. +39.0171.978811).

The Gesso Valley is well known among hikers and trekkers thanks to the high number of mountain huts, camping-sites and hotels connected through a network of mountain paths of different levels. The look goes to the peaks that go over 3000 m: Clapier, Gelas, Matto, Argentera, Corno Stella are mountains for climbers only and in the XIX were climbed by French mountaineers attended by legendary local guides.

As far as typical products are concerned, we must mention dairy produce, the Entracque potatoes and the gastronomic tradition of the village of Roaschia, well known also for the breeding of the "frabosana-roaschina sheep”, appreciated for its milk.

How to get there
Take the A6 Torino-Savona motorway, exit at Cuneo or Mondovì and then follow the road signs to Borgo San Dalmazzo, where the valley begins, and from there to the Gesso valley.
If you arrive from the French border (Tenda Tunnel), descending from Limone, just proceed towards Borgo San Dalmazzo and then follow the above mentioned directions.

Events and shows
•    Entracque – Potato fair - Septembre
•    Entracque – Madona das Cuiette – December
•    Valdieri –Alpine Carnival – March
•    Valdieri – Hamlet of Sant’Anna – Rye feast – August
•    Valdieri – Anan a balar cun Masche e Servan - September

Tourist Office
Piazza Giustizia e Libertà, 3 - 12010 ENTRACQUE
(open only at weekends, at Christmas time and in Summer)
Tel. +39 0171 978616 - Fax +39 0171 978991 

San Giacomo office c/o Nature Park of the Maritime Alps
Via Provinciale San Giacomo - 12010 ENTRACQUE
Tel. +39 0171 978068 -  Fax +39 0171 978991 

Nature Park of the Maritime Alps
Piazza Regina Elena, 30 - 12010 VALDIERI
Tel. +39 0171/97397 - Fax: +39 0171/97542