The Varaita Valley

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Extended over 60 km, Val Varaita is one of the strongest areas of provincial tourism, with its countries rich in traditions.

Its tourism in the summer focuses on greenery, on walks, on hikes, on mountaineering, without disdaining outdoor sports, while in winter it offers wonderful off-piste descents with alpine ski itineraries that can be made from mid-February until at Easter.

The Pineta Nord school camp is excellent for children and beginners, served by two ski lifts with programmed snow and it also equipped with a natural ice skating rink. And for those who love the thrill nothing more exciting than the ice falls, which here, in Val Varaita, thanks to the climate, the exposure and the high altitude maintain the best ice conditions even in times of rising temperatures . The convenience of access allows, then, to go up even after the snowfalls and to link different paths in one day. The valley is therefore an excellent diversified playground for all lovers of cascades. Many are the so-called classic waterfalls, that is, those flows that are formed every year and climb from December to mid-March. Each waterfall has its name, assigned by the first climbers or by the alpine tradition. Skiing and fun are the key word for this valley.

In Sampeyre, for example, there are two ski lifts suitable for beginners and medium-capacity skiers. To satisfy cross-country skiing enthusiasts, it has been set a track suitable for major competitions of the Caminada Bianca, a cross-country race which – along with that of Casteldelfino –  takes place every year in February. There is also a hiking trail, which runs from Becetto to Colle del Prete. Valmala, on the other hand, in addition to a long tradition, boasts 35 km of track of every degree of difficulty. In the high valley, among splendid mountain frames, the slopes of Bellino (18 Km.) And Chianale (9 Km) wind through; here, thanks to the high altitude (1700-2000 m) it is possible to ski from the end of November to late spring. Casteldelfino is also a popular destination for skiers, thanks to the importance of the cross-country tracks tracked in 2-3-5 and 12 km. A track approved by the Italian Winter Sports Federation for international competitions runs through the splendid Casteldelfino pinewood up to the Torrette, connecting with the Sampeyre slopes. There are also two ski lifts for beginners and a natural ice skating rink.

The Varaita Valley, together with the Po Valley, is the closest to the Monviso massif. It starts from Verzuolo and ends with the basin of the Agnello that culminates, at 2,746 metres of altitude, with the homonymous pass that connects the French Queyras. After Verzuolo, Rossana, Venasca, Brossasco, Melle and Frassino, we arrive at Sampeyre and then again at Casteldelfino, where the valley forks and leads to Pontechianale and Chianale, to the Colle dell’Agnello, and to Bellino on the other . The main feature of this valley are the extraordinary landscapes that alternate: the gentle and fertile slopes of the initial stretch are transformed into alpine horizons, green pastures and steep grasslands, vast deciduous forests and pine and larch pine forests. The so-called “emerald” valley has always shone in the thousand shades of the lush green vegetation.

To make the discovery of this valley special is also its cultural identity, the Occitan soul, which is felt in the pride of belonging. It is a strong spirit that regains new vigour, combining modernity and tradition. Occitan, an ancient language of troubadours, is still spoken today in a large part of the valley, a treasure chest of ancient memories. The costume parades of the “Baìa” and the “Beò”, the processions of the patron saints, the ancient instruments with their notes renew each time, in a kaleidoscope of colours, rhythms and emotions of this precious heritage. On the table it translates into unique combinations of traditional flavors and aromas: the “raviòles“, potato and cheese gnocchi seasoned with melted butter, the “crosetins“, prepared with rye flour, the bread of Melle and Venasca, desserts of chestnuts, cured meats, honey, cheeses and mountain tome and again the goodness produced on the territory of the Municipalities of Melle and Frassino where the famous “toumin dal Mel”, a soft cheese-based specialty, originates. A curious peculiarity is the cultivation of officinal herbs in Bellino, Casteldelfino, Frassino and Melle with companies that operate mainly in the organic sector.


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