Grande traversée Alpi Marittime
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Grande traversée Alpi Marittime
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Grande traversée Alpi Marittime

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A great itinerary of discovery with an exceptional variety of environments and scenery. From big walls and lakes of the Argentera massif to the pastures and karst plateaus of Marguareis and the mediterranean scrub and ancient villages of the Riviera dei Fiori. A nineteen day walk from the Colle della Maddalena, the gateway to Provence to the caves at Balzi Rossi, a prehistoric site overlooking one of the most picturesque stretches of the Ligurian coast.

19 steps

7 points of interest
History and historical trail

The Valscura Barracks

Since the end of the eighteen hundreds(an inscription on the remains of a shelter reads "3° Compagnia Alpini, 1888") Lower Lake Valscura was chosen as the site where troops were garrisoned to defend the strategic pass of Bassa del Druos. Beginning in 1888, when barracks were erected to house 140 soldiers and two officers, for almost fifty years buildings were constructed on this site, until the entire complex was finally transformed into an armory, officially known as A131,containing munitions, explosives and artillery pieces.

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Architecture

The Valdieri Royal Hot Springs

First cited in the mid sixteenth century. When King Carlo Emanuele III decided to valorize the Valdieri hot springs, in 1755, a building and other appurtenances were quickly built in order to create a spa around the sulfurous waters. Cavour called Valdieri "the richest in health-preserving waters in all the nation, and perhaps in all of Europe as well". Vittorio Emanuele II, who first visited Val Gesso in 1855, became a frequent guest at the spa, and it was at his behest that, on 10 July 1857, the first stone was laid for the structure that was to become the Hotel Royal.

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Lake

The Lagarot di Lourousa

Springwater, welling up among meadows and larches, forms numerous limpid pools and streams; the water is at times turquoise, at times milky and at others perfectly transparent, making this a particularly striking location, perfect for a contemplative rest. The Canalone di Lourousa, bordered by Monte Stella and the Corno Stella and scoured by the Gelas di Lourousa, lies beyond the plateau of the same name, and a look over one's shoulder yields a view of the imposing outline of Monte Matto.

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Lake

The Chiotas Reservoir, the Della Piastra dam and the Lake della Rovina

The Chiotas Reservoir is closed off by two dams: the Chiotas dam and the Colle di Laura dam. The Chiotas dam, an arch-gravity structure, is 130 meters high and stretches for a length of 230 meters. Its thickness varies from 37.5 meters at its base to 5 meters at the top. The mass gravity Colle di Laura dam is smaller, rectilinear and only 30 meters at its maximum height. Its length is 70 meters. The Chiotas Reservoir has a carrying capacity of 27.3 million cubic meters of water.

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Architecture

The Genova Figari Refuge

To valorize the hiking trails along the Argentera Massif, in the last years of the nineteenth century the Liguria chapter of CAI decided to build a refuge near the upper Gias del Monighet, in the Vallone della Rovina. The Genova Refuge, as it was named, was inaugurated on 15 August 1898.
But the fate of the first refuge in the Maritime Alps was definitively sealed in 1968: the reservoir of the new Chiotas dam would submerge it permanently. ENEL assumed the task of building another refuge, which was inaugurated in 1981.
The refuge is named for Bartolomeo Figari, who as Secretary General of CAI saw both the successful conquest of K2 and the birth of the National Alpine Rescue Corps, to which he bequeathed all his worldly goods.

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Geology

La Conca delle Cársene

The Conca delle Càrsene is a vast plateau consisting of limestone rocks, characterized by expanses of bare, white rocks alternating with grassy cover.
It manifests the typical aspects of karst areas with limestone pavement, dolines and sinkholes. A superficial hydrographic network is completely missing: rain and snow meltwater are immediately absorbed and give rise to the resurgence of Pis del Pesio, located several hundred metres below.
Curiously, there are also areas located beyond the Alpine watershed, such as Plan Ambreuge, that are part of the catchment area, so water falling south of the Alps, after an underground journey, flow out on the Italian side.

[Alpi Liguri, p.80]
[La Guida del Parco Alta Valle Pesio e Tanaro, pp.46-47]

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Cross-border

The Colle delle Selle Vecchie

This was an important pass in past ages, probably on one of the salt routes, it was widely used by the shepherds from Briga in their transhumance towards the pastures at the foot of the Marguareis Massif.
The place name refers to the "selle", or "cellars" for the preservation of cheeses, once evidently present in the surrounding area. The cellars are generally stone buildings, with a barrel vault, covered and insulated with grass clods to ensure constant temperature and humidity inside.
[A. Parodi, R. Pockaj, A. Costa - Nel cuore delle Alpi Liguri, collana Sentieri e Rifugi, Andrea Parodi Editore, 2012, p.34]

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