Alpi marittime in 5 photos
The Argentera Massif
An image that expresses the grandeur of Alpi Marittime, real mountains in every respect.
Although the glaciers of the area, the southernmost in the Alps, are now reduced to the bare minimum, these are still severe, wild and solitary mountains. Never looming or overwhelming: peaks and walls of gneiss can inspire awe, but hardly ever fear.
They must be faced with respect, but without the tension that arises from tackling high mountains.
Panorama from Cima dell'Argentera
In the foreground the Gesso Valley, followed by the soft profiles of the Ligurian Alps submerged in a light blanket of clouds. On the horizon, the dividing line between sea and sky: Coolidge's Maritime Alps, those of the grand panoramas. Very special not only because you can see or more often glimpse the sea, but also because they include on one side the alpine giants, from Monviso to Adamello via Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa, and on the other side the Apuan Alps. Being the middle ground between the Alps and the Mediterranean, between the Po Valley and Provence, is what makes the Maritime Alps truly unique.
Lago della Vacca
The little Lago della Vacca lake sits in the centre of a basin that is gradually filling up with debris. One day not so far away there will be a grassy plateau in its place. But before then you will still be able to enjoy the tranquil setting of one of the most secluded places in the Maritime Alps. There are approximately eighty water pools in the park, plus streams, waterfalls, torrents: in the silence of solitary valleys, the thousand voices of flowing water bring joy and delight the eye. Blue mountains, with their lakes and clear skies.
Even with the help of a good telephoto lens, it is not easy to immortalize a chamois from a close distance, the symbol of Alpi Marittime. The same cannot be said for the ibex, not at all shy animals, that allow you to approach to within a few metres. In the Maritime Alps there are thousands of chamois, 4000 in the Park alone. Many more than anywhere else in the Alps. The fauna catalogue also includes 500 and more ibex, as well as all the main Alpine species, including eagles and bearded vultures - a bone-eating vulture reintroduced with an operation that has affected the whole of the Alps. A visitor survey conducted here found that hikers come mainly to see the animals.
Military road to Lago Claus
In the mid-nineteenth century, Vittorio Emanuele II came to the upper Gesso Valley and discovered a territory in which his hunting passion could be best expressed. His son Umberto I and his grandson Vittorio Emanuele III inherited the Kingdom but not his marked predilection for handling weapons. However, the royal family of the House of Savoy never failed to visit the Gesso Valley, and the memory of their presence is still omnipresent today, thanks above all to the hundreds of kilometres of roads and mule tracks built to reach the shooting hides. A network reused and expanded in the period between the two world wars, put to good use today by hikers.