Valsavarenche: wilderness and eccellent produtions in an untouched valley
The oldest italian national Park has preserved a rare strip of authentic wilderness in a country where we've witnessed an increasingly distortion of the territory by human being.
The Valsavarenche is the example par excellence of this wild environment, both wide and severe, a concentration of nature-history and culture, that has been able to maintain during time the splendour of his traditional environments. It offers, moreover, a parcel of “100% protected and wild nature”, as it is the only Valley totally included in the territory of the protected area.
The network of wide high altitude mule tracks, that covers a distance of 325 km, of which 128 in Valsavaranche, is the most precious heritage of the king hunter Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoy, that, deeply in love with these places amenity, built the royal houses for ibexes and chamois hunting porpuses, giving birth to the Royal Hunting House. Over time, it would have become the First italian National Park.
Still today the royal streets are the supporting structures of the protected area paths network, often paved with stones and sustained by dry-stone wall built with admirable art. The most ancient and to-be-seen street in Valsavarenche is the Degioz one that develops towards the Orvieille hunting house, at 2165m of altitude: an itinerary of great beauty and extraordinary panoramas that permits, to less expert excursionists too, to have an unforgettable experience on high mountain, viable with calmness during summer days, but also in autumn and spring, when sighting ibexes and chamois is easier.
“Paradise-like” areas in which is possible to get unique experiences: the water rushing, the marmots “whistle”, the vulture flight, the sudden escape of a chamois flock, the ibexes battles balancing on hardy rocky walls, the shiny glaciers on the background of any trip, the predator observation, are some of the emotions that the Park valleys environments offer to the excursionist. Anything but rare experiences: they can be, on the contrary, enjoyed by everyone.
Before getting to the Valley you’ll find the village of Villeneuve where you’ll be able to buy delicious traditional cold cuts at the Segor Butcher, active since 1959. The production is wide and diversified: fresh and seasoned boudin, Valle d’Aosta sausage, salami campagnard, local salami, spicy salami, gambetta sausage, beef mocetta, salsiccetta, cotechino, salamelle to cook, Villeneuve coppa, lard from the pig’s cheeks, wrapped bacon, herbs lard, lonzino del Castello with sage, lonzino del Castello with garlic, spicy lonzino del Castello.
Still in Villeneuve is possible to sight the Maison Anselmet winery, whose family has a long tradition and knowledge in wine production handed down from father to son (just think of the purchase of a vineyard by an Anselmet already in 1585). A visit with wine tasting is therefor is a must-do!
Going through the Valsavarenche, among the Quality Trademark operators, we find the Gran Paradiso Camping, unveiled in the ‘70s of the last century and placed on a plain wood area, suitable for open air tourist activity.
Other than the Camping there are moreover two agri-food producers that work with great passion: the Livio Carlin bee-keeping, with over 70 productive beehives and active since 1991 and the Agri-farm Da Emy that cultivates, dries and packs, with care and skill, the small plants of the well known and precious genepì. You can buy it directly in the farm or in the shops of the Valley: a unique experience will be to try producing genepì autonomously once back home!
The Livio Carlin bee-keeping, instead, according to the organic and certified production rules, produces acacia, dandelion, lime, rhododendron, chestnut, mountain flowers honey and wood honeydew.
Not to be missed, moreover, the Visitors Centre with the “Precious predators” exhibition, that explores life, survival, activities and presence on the territory of those predators that live in the Gran Paradiso National Park. The structure hosts also the special “Wolf Area”, a documentation centre that holds and offers evidences and documents on the wolf presence in the Park.
In St. Pierre, Espace Gran Paradis area, other Quality Trademark operators deserve special mention: La Croix farm, where DOP fontina and the characteristic butter coloù are produced, and, if you’re looking for an accommodation, La Meridiana Hotel and two Bed&Breakfast: Vetan Petit Coin de Paradis, placed in a rural village at 1700 m high and Le Vieux Noyer.