An oasis of protected nature
Alpi Marittime Nature Park
Parco naturale delle Alpi Marittime was created in 1995 by the union of Parco naturale dell'Argentera (gazetted in 1980) and Riserva del Bosco e dei Laghi di Palanfré (gazetted in 1979). A single large protected area was formed, covering 28,455 hectares, spread over three valleys (Gesso, Stura, Vermenagna) and five municipalities (Aisone, Entracque, Roaschia, Valdieri, Vernante).
The Maritime Alps, the southernmost tip of the alpine chain, divide the Piedmontese plains from the Côte d'Azur. They fall between two mountain passes that have been used since ancient times, Colle di Tenda and Colle della Maddalena.
Both sides of the Maritime Alps are protected, the French side is covered by Mercantour National Park. Mercantour is world famous for the Vallee des Merveilles, a site with thousands of rock engravings, mostly from the Bronze Age. The two parks share a common border for over 35 kilometres and together form a protected area of over 100,000 hectares, which could, in the near future, become the first International Park.