A compact rock, shaped by glaciers
The Alpi Marittime Park is located in the South-West Alps, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Piedmontese plains. With more than twenty peaks over 3000 metres, the Maritime Alps are characterized by narrow, deep valleys with steep flanks. The secret of the severe charm of these mountains lies in their geological history, written over thousands of years by rock and glaciers.
The protected area has a crystalline rock heart, the granites and the gneisses of the Argentera-Mercantour Massif, which occupy the upper valleys. Here you can appreciate the effects of glacial erosion, which shaped the landscape to give it its current appearance, dotted with cirques and glacial lakes, moraines and large smoothed rocks.
On the borders of the Park there are large areas of sedimentary rocks, where karst features show on the limestone and dolomite as various forms of erosion including caves. The variety of rock types is the key to understanding the succession of different types of landscapes and species in the space of a few kilometres, in other words the extraordinary biodiversity of Alpi Marittime Park.
The crystalline massif of Argentera
The Park territory surrounds the crystalline Argentera massif which occupies the Upper Valle Gesso and part of the Valle Stura di Demonte with harsh, severe mountains.
Around the Argentera Massif there is a wide band of sedimentary rocks. Vast outcrops of limestone and dolomite form the ridges between the lower Gesso Valley and the Stura and Vermenagna valleys.