SOANA VALLEY … STILL TODAY LIKE TIME AGO
The landscape in this valley, narrow because of fluvial origin, with lush vegetation due to high humidity during the whole year and with small towns, seems to be really unique compared to the rest of the territory. Here you can see the tipical deciduous forests, basically consisting of chestnut tree that gradually rising gives way to the beech. Along the paths of the valley it's easy to run into the alpin chamois or other animals that live in the forests.
In cities and towns you can still hear people talking patois, the typical french-provencal dialect, and meet people still wearing their typical costumes for the whole year. The real pride of the valley is the Eco-museum of copper, at the old forge in Castellaro of Ronco Canavese, in which you can relive the atmosphere of the ancient craft of copper processing. The building dates back to the end of '600 and guests, upon request, can take part to laboratories and activities to learn how to beat and model the copper (the Eco-museum is closed for renovation. For info tel. 011 8606233). In Campiglia Soana, Valprato municipality, an Alpin garden is under planning, it will address the relationship between human beings and the environment, retracing the agriculture and crops history, traditional uses and behaviours of the area. The valley routes are rich of religious sites, you can easily meet up with numerous churches, chapels and votive pillars. Famous is the sanctuary of San Besso, where every year, on the 10th of August, the charming party will take place. For climbing lovers we suggest you to visit the climbing site of Pianprato.
To the left of the valley, at the foot of a big overhanging rock, you will see the "Santuario San Besso", an old place of worship. Every year, on the 10th of August, people of Soana Valley and of Cogne, on the Aosta Valley side, go up 2000 metres to the sanctuary for a big festival. It is an unmissable occasion, even for tourists. There are many nature trails in the area.
A wonderful yet not heavily visited valley, once it was the favourite route for the villagers to go to Cogne valley. Going back up the ravine a beautiful larch wood opens onto green clearings where you will find ancient hamlets, which have now been abandoned. The borough of Boschiettiera is an example of this, where you will find an old oven still working.