- NORTHERN ITALY
- CENTRAL ITALY
- SOUTHERN ITALY
- INSULAR ITALY
The Maritime Alps are located at the south-western end of the Alpine chain, reachable from Cuneo in about half an hour by car. The limits of this sector are identified in two important international crossings, Colle di Tenda and Colle della Maddalena, whose crossroads is Borgo San Dalmazzo.
There is a third pass, Colle della Lombarda, which leads to the French ski slope Isola 2000. Although winding and narrow in some places, this road offers numerous panoramic points and allows you to reach the Santuario di Sant'Anna, the highest sanctuary in Italy. Europe, at 2035 meters above sea level.
On the Italian side, there are three valleys of the Apuan Alps: the Vermenagna Valley, the Gesso Valley, the Stura Valley. These mountains also offer numerous routes which include the hunting mule tracks of the ancient Royal Reserve. Renowned is the Alta Via dei Re, a seven-stage route that covers a large part of the Maritime Alps. These mountains have been frequented by the royal family of the Savoy for over a century, as can be seen at the Terme di Valdieri.
Vinadio is a small charming town, located about nine hundred meters on the slopes of the Apuan Alps. You will be impressed by its huge Fort Albertino, built in the first half of the 19th century, in harmony with the surrounding mountains.
A recommended parking spot is a large square, to the west of the small town, from which, after crossing the road, you can access the mammoth fort. After having crossed the bridge, which seems to be the access to a knightly fort, you will find yourself in the central square of the town. A short tour through the alleys of the village is also recommended.
To give a dimension to the fort, the length of the walls is about 1200 meters, while the walkways, which unfold on three levels, reach almost 10 kilometers.
Vinadio also offers a path that leads to the small village of Aisone, also in the Stura Valley, whose territory is characterized by life-size deer sculptures, which symbolize it.
Near the Vinadio car park, there is also the intersection that leads to the Colle della Lombarda pass, before which there is the Sanctuary of Sant'Anna, the highest sanctuary in Europe, at 2035 meters above sea level and built in the 17th century.
In addition to visiting the place of worship, from here it is possible to follow numerous hiking trails and, in just a few minutes' walk, you can admire two surrounding alpine lakes: Lake Sant'Anna and Lake Cuore. This is certainly a place that perfectly associates spirituality with the sense of freedom and grandeur of the surrounding context.
There are numerous other paths that lead to the discovery of fantastic views and alpine lakes or to the crossing of the French side. Particularly recommended is the path to the west, passing through the Tesina Pass.
Valdieri is a crossroads for the Gesso Valley, which is located right in the heart of the Maritime Alps and from which it is possible to venture along numerous paths.
Along the road to Festiona, in the direction of the Stura Valley, a short visit to the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Colletto is recommended, from which it is possible to admire a beautiful panorama.
Continuing, however, in the direction of the Gesso Valley, you can reach Entracque, a pretty village, where you can visit the wolf museum at the"Men and Wolves Visitor Center". Hiking trails also start from here.
Alternatively, you can proceed in the direction of the Terme di Valdieri, renowned spas since the nineteenth century, from which you can start on a path that leads to France. Along the way you will find the Valasco Refuge and the La Refuge, also refuges of the Alta Via dei Re, a renowned hiking route, which starts from Sant'Anna di Valdieri and is divided into seven stages.
The Alta Via dei Re is a seven-stage route that covers a large part of the Maritime Alps. It starts from Sant'Anna di Valdieri(which is located between Valdieri and the Terme di Valdieri) and reaches San Giacomo di Entracque, along a hiking route that allows you to discover numerous panoramic places, alpine lakes and the richness of flora and fauna. at about 2500 meters above sea level. The route also passes by the slopes of Monte Argentera, with its 3297 meters.