Building with what there is
If you stop to listen to it, traditional architecture has a lot to tell you about mountain people and the relationship they built with the alpine environment. A story that lasted for centuries, but was rudely interrupted after the second world war, leaving behind broken roofs, delapidated walls and memories ...
Walking the paths in the Park you often come across houses or hamlets, some restored some in ruins, where you can still see the former architecture beneath the rendering or inspite of the poor conditions. Understanding what they were building, how and why, means learning a lot about the world they lived in.
In the Maritime Alps, as elsewhere in the Alps, until the middle of the twentieth century people built using materials that were immediately available nearby and taking great care to artfully make the most of the natural sunlight and heat, while minimizing the loss of heat from inside.
The houses were home to people and animals. They served as houses, stables and warehouses, pantries and workshops all at the same time. But if this is generally true for the highlands, what characterizes the territory of the Maritime Alps Park together with very few other sites in Piedmont is the architecture with rye straw roofs. Today the best example is that rebuilt by the Park according to the indications of the last local thatchers at the entrance to the hamlet of Sant'Anna di Valdieri.