An unspoilt reserve in the Piedmont Alps
A protected natural area since 1992, the Val Grande National Park extends within the borders of the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola in Piedmont. The discovery of rock engravings and funerary objects in the necropolises of Malesco and Miazzina trace the origins of the first settlements back to the Iron Age. During the Second World War, the wilderness of the Val Grande and Val Pogallo offered shelter to many partisans, before a ferocious Nazi round-up decimated them. Today, there is only one village within the park, Cicogna, with less than twenty inhabitants.
The large expanse of land devoid of human settlements, as well as the morphological characteristics of the Lepontine Alps, make it a popular destination for nature and hiking enthusiasts, who can easily come across artefacts and engineering works, now shrouded in vegetation, which creates a ghostly effect.
Within the park is the Val Grande Nature Reserve, including Cima Pedum, and the Monte Mottac Nature Reserve. There are numerous bivouacs and four shelters. Due to the depopulation of the territory, the fauna has reclaimed its place. Here, it is easy to come across chamois, deer, wild boar, wolves and foxes, while the mythological basilisk, locally called baselesc or re di biss, is a regular presence in the area’s legends and folklore.