Maira Valley

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Ph. F. Voglino - Ciciu del Villar
Ph. T. Aimar - Elva, Hans Clemer frescoes (detail)
Acceglio - Maira Sources

The Maira valley is quiet and reserved by tradition, offering ideas for totally unspoilt Alpine tourism. It is crossed by the Maira river: the first part of the valley is rather narrow with a series of narrow gorges and sections, the upper part is wider, opening out into vast basins. From there one can enjoy wonderful views over the highest peaks of the Cottian Alps.

The Maira valley visitors will discover local traditions, the provençal language, craft woodworking workshops, dairies and Merens horse breeding farms.

We suggest a detour to Villar San Costanzo where the land erosion process, which began 15,000 years ago, created curious mushroom-shaped geological phenomena,  known as “Ciciu”, which extend over a vast area, today part of a Natural reserve. Also the nearby Villar Abbey, with frescoes dating back to the XV century as well as a XI century vault, it’s worth a visit.

Going back to the main valley, one can visit Dronero, an ancient town featuring a notable Medieval “devil’s” bridge, and then proceed upwards to find some little jewels such as the churches of San Salvatore in Macra, San Sebastiano in Celle Macra and San Peyre in Stroppo. An undoubted masterpiece is the parish church of Elva with its apse totally frescoed by the Flemish artist Hans Clemer in the early 16th century.

Acceglio  is the last village in the valley and its territory, at the border with France, is marked by a dense network of hiking paths leading through a magnificent scenery in one of the most charming corner of the Western Alps. The area is dominated by the imposing massif called Croce Provenzale (2.402 m) and Rocca Castello (2.451 m), that offers exciting climbing opportunities and can be reached from the hamlet of Chiappera.

The side valley that leads to the municipalities of Marmora and Canosio, which enshrine true gems of rural art and architecture in each one of their numerous hamlets, is worth a detour. From Canosio, hikers can reach the Plateau Gardetta, which in 2001 was recognized Geological Italian Heritage, and the spectacular rock faces of Rocca la Meja.

For those who are fond of the Occitan culture, Espaci Occitan, in Dronero, can be considered the first cultural centre in Italy devoted to the Occitan world and to the study of its linguistic and cultural peculiarities.

Near Roccabruna, around the top of Monte Roccerè (at an altitude of 1800-2000 m), one can see thousands of rock carvings made by men, maybe while making ritual offerings, during the Bronze Age (2200-900 b.C.). These cup marks are small sized, from 5 to 20 cm, and with various depth. More details and pictures on the website 

There are also a lot of sporting facilities and opportunities like: horse-riding, archery, fishing, hang gliding, mountaineering, mountain biking, trekking, rock climbing, canoeing. A ring trail across the Maira Valley that can be done on foot, by MTB or on horseback is suggested on the website

In short… a valley which has something for everyone.

How to get there
If you take the A6 Torino-Savona motorway, exit at Marene and then follow the road signs to Saluzzo and from here towards Busca. Then from Busca follow the road signs to Dronero, front door of the Maira valley.
If you arrive from the French border (Tenda tunnel) just proceed towards Borgo San Dalmazzo and from there follow the road signs to Caraglio, and then to Dronero.

Events and shows
•    Dronero – Anchovy Feast – June
•    Macra - Saint Marcelin’s  Fair - April
•    Roccabruna- Chestnut Fair and Valley Festival- October
•    San Damiano Macra – Autumn Fair – end of October

Tourist office
Piazza XX Settembre,. 3 - 12025 DRONERO
Ph. +39 0171 917080 - Fax +39 0171 909784 -

Seasonal tourist office
Borgo Villa – 12021 ACCEGLIO
Ph./Fax +39 0171 99424