Stura valley

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Ph. Marcovaldo - Vinadio Albertine Fort
Ph. F. Voglino - Sheep-breeding Ecomuseum in Pontebernardo
Ph. R. Gaborin - Ferriere hamlet

The Valley is crossed by the Stura river which flows from the Maddalena lake at an altitude of almost 2000 metres, and flows through the Olla gorges which separate the Maritime Alps from the Cottian Alps.

The valley features a series of gentle slopes in the first section, whilst the upper part is more rugged and typically alpine. The road that runs through it ends at the 1.996 m of Colle della Maddalena (Col de Larche in French) that connects the province of Cuneo with the val d’Ubaye and the village of Barcellonette. Almost on top there is a stone in memory of  Fausto Coppi, who during the 1949  Giro d’Italia  began a solitary and legendary breakaway that made him win out the Cuneo-Pinerolo stage.

The nature is wild and shows corners of landscape which seem to stand still in time. But the real charm of the valley is represented by its old alpine houses, built to fit the ground conditions: they are made of stone walls and thatched roofs which endure the passing of time and the sudden temperature changes.

Among the places to visit, we recommend Demonte, with its picturesque old town centre and Vinadio, with its imposing Albertine Fort (one of the most interesting military building in the Alps, that nowadays hosts the multimedia exhibition called “Montagna in Movimento”, that is “Mountain on the move”) and the sulphurous thermal baths in the hamlet of Bagni (at about 1300 m), open all year round.

From Vinadio one can reach the steep valley that leads to the Lombarda Pass – negotiable in summer only – at the border between Italy and France. There, at a height of 2035 m, one will find the Sanctuary of S. Anna (the highest in Europe) an ancient hospice that used to shelter pilgrims coming from Provence.

The Stura valley, which is partially included in the territory of the Maritime Alps Park, is ideal for those who love mountain excursions and outdoor activities such as mountaineering and climbing; there are a lot of opportunities in the main valley, but also in the side valleys called dell’Arma, Bagni di Vinadio and Sant’Anna. Water sports facilities for canoeing, kayak canoeing and rafting are located in Festiona di Demonte and Gaiola. While winter sports lovers can cross-country ski on the homologated track for national sport competitions at Festiona or downhill ski at Argentera.

Sambuco sheep, famed for their tasty meat, are one of the symbols of the valley and every year, in late October, they are on show at the All Saints’ Fair of Vinadio. To those sheep and to the old stories of seasonal migrations of local shepherds is dedicated the Sheep-breeding Ecomuseum, located in the hamlet of Pontebernardo (municipality of Pietraporzio).


How to get there
Take the A6 Torino-Savona motorway, exit at Cuneo
and then follow the road signs to Borgo San Dalmazzo, where the valley begins, and from there to Demonte/Vinadio.
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
•    Borgo San Dalmazzo – Cold Fair – end of November / beginning of December
•    Demonte - San Luca Fair – parade of the cattle and flock returning from alpine pastures – October
•    Various places - Canoeing competitions – April and September
•    Vinadio: All Saints’ Fair – Sambuco sheep show – last Sunday 

Tourist Office
Via Divisione Cuneense, 5 - 12014 DEMONTE
Tel. +39 0171 955555 - fax +39 0171 955055