The Provençal Troubadour Peire de Vidal who sang of a “doussa terre de Canaves” was certainly impressed by the nature of these valleys, by the landscape that reconciles a harmonic human presence and expresses a particular sweetness, by the green hills and vineyards and the wide horizons of the plain, reassured by the austere profile of the mountains.
In the Canavese Valleys you can find, in the wild highlands, unspoilt nature, complete wilderness, with a unique flora and fauna, while at lower altitudes you can discover sweet landscapes of green hills, studded with vines and orchards, dotted with forests and small towns.
The Canavese Valleys host the Piedmontese slope of the Gran Paradiso National Park, the oldest protected area in Italy, established in 1922 to protect the two thousand two hundred hectares of hunting grounds donated by King Vittorio Emanuele III to the Italian State. The animal that is the symbol of the Park is the ibex, but it is really easy, especially if accompanied by an experienced guide, to also see chamois, marmots, large birds of prey like the eagle and the bearded vulture or discover the extraordinary vegetation biodiversity present in the Park. In the woods of the valley the most current trees are larches, mixed with spruces, stone pines and more rarely silver firs. As you climb the slopes, the trees are replaced by wide alpine meadows, full of flowers in late spring. If you continue climbing, and up to the 4061 meters of the Gran Paradiso you find rocks and glaciers that characterize the landscape. A dense network of hiking trails allows excursions for all kinds of levels.
The presence of the National Park is a force of attraction that brings a large number of foreign visitors every year.
The Gran Paradiso National Park now has its own network of facilities for the reception, the information and visit of tourists : visitor centres in Locana, Noasca, Ceresole and Ronco; a tourist office and environmental education centre in Noasca; nature trails in Noasca, Ceresole and Ronco; exhibits on wildlife, local culture and the environment, information kiosks. Thanks to these structures, an articulated offer for school trips and educational environment, that can use the Park as an interesting laboratory for research and discovery of biodiversity, has been organized over the years. In addition to educational programs dedicated to the flora and fauna, tours and stays dedicated to renewable energy and the popular culture of the territory are also offered.
Not only the Park, though: the quality of the natural environment and the pleasantness of the landscape of the Canavese valleys, from the Alto Canavese to the Valle Sacra, from Valchiusella to the Dora Baltea, thanks to the extensive network of trails, paths and lanes, make the area particularly suitable for hiking, biking and horseback riding, especially for those seeking relaxation and a welcoming environment to practice their activities. We offer a booklet proposing an abundance of one-day excursions or treks over several days that you can travel independently or accompanied by guides and nature guides. We advise you, in order to be safe and fully enjoy all the nuances of your excursion, to use the services of the guides affiliated with the Consortium that will introduce you to the secrets of this land. Tourist services (link)
On the territory there is another protected area, the Sacro Monte Natural Reserve of Belmonte, that also has wonderful attractive values from the historical, cultural and religious point of view.
The nature reserve was established by the Piedmont region over part of the territory of Cuorgnè, Pertusio, Prascorsano and Valperga, and includes most of the hill of Belmonte, an elevation that stands isolated at the entrance of the Orco Valley, a unique granite outcrop from the summit of which you overlook the plain, from the range of Ivrea to the hills of Turin. Outcrops of pink granite alternate with forests consisting of chestnut coppices, oaks, chestnut trees and birches. The red granite of Belmonte is a rock subject to intense alteration of meteoric origin, so as to form deposits of fine reddish gravel, sandy land that is easily subject to the erosion that affects the sides of the elevation, and, especially on the northern side, generates little cove-shaped valleys locally called ” sabbionere “, in which the sand, depending on the locations, assumes a reddish, violet or white colour. The vegetation retains some fairly rare species typical of wetlands, such as the royal or large fern, the biggest fern that can be found in Piedmont, and the sundew, a small carnivorous plant, a few inches high, with leaves bristling with sensory tentacles to catch small insects. A traditional route on foot that involves the park of Belmonte (beyond the route of the Via Crucis which covers the top of the Sacred Mountain) is the so-called Trail of Tabernacles, which leads from Valperga to the Sanctuary of Belmonte, thus named for the presence along the path of votive pillars of the 15 mysteries of the Rosary, which you can cover in about 40 minutes uphill.
About relaxation, a word should be said about the beautiful streams frequented for relaxation and bathing in summer (Orco, Chiusella, Piova, Savenca) with frequent areas equipped for tourist stopovers along the banks.