Piazzale dei Cannoni

Piazzale dei Cannoni

Archeology and history
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Come and walk along one of the most important former commercial routes in the Southern Alps for the salt and fabric trades. At the end of the route, the Piazzale dei Cannoni (Square of the Cannons) is a viewpoint which opens onto the Gelàs glaciers (altitude 3143m).
An intangible link, whose memory is marked by the name, unites the village of San Giacomo di Entracque with the famous town of San Giacomo di Compostella (Santiago de Compostella).

2 points of interest

  • Fauna

    The bearded vulture

    The bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), also known as the lamb vulture, has a wingspan that can reach 285cm and can weigh more than 6 kilos. An accomplished glider, it can exploit even the mildest ascending thermals. It is a carrion eater, feeding exclusively on carcasses of dead animals, ungulates for the most part, both wild and domestic. It consumes bones, cartilage and ligaments, and is known to drop bones from great heights in order to break them into manageable pieces. Monogamous and long-lived, the bearded vulture nests on rocky cliff faces at altitudes beween 1,000 and 3,000 meters.
  • History and historical trail

    The Piazzale dei Cannoni

    The name Piazzale dei Cannoni, or better still, Piana dei Cannoni, is due to the presence there of the 181st Artillery Battery, armed with 210/8 mortars, during the Second World War. The mortar emplacements are just south of the dirt road, along the slope, but they are not easy to spot. On the opposite side of the valley, across the torrent, there are the remains of probable logistical outposts and even an open-air kitchen.


From “Rifugio escursionistico”, take the path which gradually rises, following the river, until you reach the stone sheep barn “Gias Isterpis”.
As you climb upwards, the view opens out onto the foothills of Gelàs (3143m). Keep your eyes open: several bearded vultures have been reintroduced under the aegis of the Maritime Alps Natural Park and the Mercantour National Park in the last few years. It is also possible to see golden eagles nesting in the surrounding area.
Continue along the path until you reach “Piazzale dei Cannoni” (1433 m): you can look over a beautiful panoramic view of the Gelàs, the highest Mercantour peak. On the grassy and stony slopes which border the path, Marmots, chamois and ibex make their summer homes on the grassy and stony slopes which border the path.
Follow the same route on the return journey.

  • Departure : San Giacomo di Entracque
  • Arrival : Piazzale dei Cannoni
  • Towns crossed : Entracque

Altimetric profile


Società Nuova Benese service
Regular bus route Cuneo, Valdieri, Entracque
Tel.: 00 39 (0) 171 69 29 29

SNCF Regional Express line (TER) Provence Alpes-Côte d’Azur
For travel across the region and to Cuneo
Tel.: 00 33 (0) 800 11 40 23

Access and parking

San Giacomo di Entracque, 30km from Cunéo

Parking :

Parking spaces near to Rifugio escursionistico San Giacomo


Free rental of "joëlette" off-road wheelchairs:
Reservations at Maritime Alps Natural Park at Valdieri. Rental at the Park Office at Entracque.
Tel.: 00 39 (0) 171 97397
Emergency number :114

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