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A road "routo" through the mountains

Valle Stura

The plains at Demonte in Valle Stura.

Valle Stura is the northernmost and largest of the valleys in the Maritime Alps, the valley floor is wide and suited to farming which has continued here more than elsewhere. The valley is 60km long, and is the classic routo the historic route that led from Piedmont to Provence across the important Maddalena pass. Other routes, the draio, or drove roads for transhumance are a characteristic feature of this long valley of gentle pastures and impressive canyons, where, recently the Sambucana sheep breed has been rediscovered. Shepherding is also the theme of the Ecomuseum at Pontebernardo. Another museum not to miss is the Moving mountains housed in the nineteenth century fort at Vinadio. The fortifications themselves, built in various periods, are some of the most interesting features of this area, along with the cross-country (nordic) skiing centre in Aisone, the downhill ski slopes at Argentera and the almost infinite possibilities for hiking in summer and for backcountry skiing or hiking with snow shoes in winter. The little villages along the road up the valley seem to be there specifically to offer a sumptuous breakfast before an outing or for a relaxing break in an "osteria" on the way back down. Each of the ten lateral valleys off the Valle Stura hides a promise and something to discover: the spa at Bagni di Vinadio, the hamlets high in the mountains, the lakes, the routes to do on foot or mountain bike in the Arma or san Bernolfo valleys, and much much more...

Aisone

Aisone basks in the sun on the slopes below pine and larch covered ridges. The climate is so favourable that in some plots even grapes can ripen.


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