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The Italian Alps: the Val Maira

Discover the extraordinary cultural and historical heritage of the Val Maira
  • Duration 6 days
  • Activity Walking holiday
  • Holiday among adults
  • Theme mountain
580€

Information : The Italian Alps: the Val Maira

  • Comfort
  • Difficulty
  • Note No note
  • Roadbooks French

Presentation

The Val Maira is a little-known valley in Italian Piedmont. It lies to the East of the Ubaye (French Alps) and to the South of the Varaita Valley. This remote region still contains traces of an extraordinarily rich past: flamboyant mural frescoes on church facades, mediaeval towns with roofs hewn from flat stone ('lauzes'). Ancient Occitan pathways, once the principal means of communication for travellers on foot or horseback, still lead from village to village. Higher up, above the larch trees, lofty mountain scenery awaits you, with unique flora and fauna and lakes of pure turquoise. Most Piedmontese speak Occitan, French and Italian. They are known for the warmth of their welcome and for their delicious food!

You'll love

  • the warm-hearted Piedmontese (most of whom speak French)
  • the old houses and buildings (and even roofs!) built in stone
  • the traditions and culture of the Occitan villages
  • gazing at the mountain lakes of the Val Maira
  • an abundant Alpine fauna

Program : The Italian Alps: the Val Maira

  • D1 Arrival in Preit

    Arrival late afternoon in Preit.
    Dinner and night in a typical hostelry in the village centre.
    Jacuzzi available (supplement).

  • D2 Walk around Preit - The Lago Nero

    13 km - total uphill 800m - approx time 4hrs30
    The Lago Nero is a little gem in the Val Maira - a pretty glacial lake with glints of turquoise, it is surrounded by blueberry and larch trees, and rhododendrons. From the lake you get a lovely view of the so-called 'Giant of Piedmont' - Mount Viso, a heady 3841 metres!
    This walk is a good warm-up stage, climbing steadily up to the lake on fine trails then down along a typical Piedmontese track. A good opportunity to make acquaintance with the characteristic architecture of the Canto of Canosio.

    Dinner and night in a typical hostelry.

  • D3 From Preit to Chialvetta

    8 km - total uphill 766m - approx time 4hrs.
    The first objective on this second day is to reach the small village of Chialvetta in the neighbouring valley of the Unerzio, following a route that alternates between forest and alpine pasture. The climb from Preit leads to the farm of the Soleglio, from which the track rises across the meadows to the Col de Soleglio Blue. The descent towards Chialvetta begins in enchanting scenery. Marmottes, chamois and larch forest enhance the picturebook surroundings. The village of Chialvetta is composed of typical pretty houses and has a superb church.

    Dinner and night in a typical hostelry.

  • D4 From Chialvetta to Saretto

    13km - total uphill 746m- approx time 5hrs.
    Today's walk links the villages of Chialvetta and Saretto by the Col (pass) de Ciarbonet, altitude 2206 metres. First you go into the Valley of Unerzio, through the pretty hamlet of Pratorotondo and the refuge of Viviere. Then a track across the meadows brings you to the pass at Ciarbonet.
    From this 'col' you go down through a majestic larch wood down to the campsite at Sorgenti di Maira and the sources of the river Maira before reaching Saretto.

    Dinner and night in a typical hostelry.

  • D5 All around the 5 lakes (Saretto)

    16km - total uphill 1050m - approx time 5hrs.
    Easy track : 12 km uphill 800m
    This long ramble starting from Saretto takes you past no less than five mountain lakes, of which the two most remarkable in the upper Val Maira are those of Visaisa and Apzoi.
    The route passes then goes up into the Mélézins before reaching the authentic high alpine stage. Chamois and marmottes are often seen, along with an ever-present multitude of alpine flora.
    Over 30% of the route is at more than 2300m, near the French border among scattered traces of the First and Second World Wars.

    Dinner and night in a typical hostelry.

  • D6 Circular walk round the Provenzale (Saretto) and departure

    15km - total uphill 812 m - approx time: 4 hrs30.
    The Rocca Provenzale is the remarkable summit of the Val Maira. During this walk you will see it from close up as you go over the Col Greguri at 2300 metres.
    What a variety of landscape today... some fashioned by human activity around Chiappera, or others more remote and rocky where only mountaineers and Ibex master the situation!

    Departure.
    Possibility to extend your stay at the first accomodation with jacuzzi.

Tariffs high season

FROM JULY TO AUGUST, DEPARTURE EVERYDAY

IN A TRIPLE ROOM

Adult : 585 €
Junior (12 - 17) :  585 €

IN A DOUBLE ROOM

Adulte : 615 €
Adolescent (12 - 17 ans) :  615 €

IN A SINGLE ROOM

715 €

SOLO TRAVELLER

740 €

Tariffs low season

on June or on september, departure everyday

IN A TRIPLE ROOM

Adult : 550 €
Junior (12 - 17) :  550 €

IN A DOUBLE ROOM

Adult : 580 €
Junior (12 - 17) :  580 €

IN A SINGLE ROOM

680 €

SOLO TRAVELLER

715 €

What's included?

  • Half board + picnics in traditional inns
  • Baggage transfer.
  • Transfer to retrieve vehicle at Preit.
  • Roadbook and 1 : 20,000 map provided.
  • Technical and logistical assistance.
  • Vehicle parking at first lodging.

What's not included?

  • Beverage and extra
  • Round trip transfer from Home to the first accomodation
  • Facultative cancellation and rapatriation insurance

Characteristics of circuits

  • Walking holiday from place to place without guide.
  • For experienced walkers in good shape.
  • Daily stages: 4hrs to 6hrs30 in the mountains.
  • Total daily uphill: from 750 to 1050 metres.
  • Altitudes: from 1300m to 2500m.

Organisation

Accommodation is of the "albergo diffuso" type: an Italian concept that offers the services of a traditional hotel within a structure reminiscent of private property rentals. One of the particularities of this kind of hotel is its horizontal layout which subdivides hotel services into several buildings. For example, whilst the rooms and flats are situated in different streets of the same neighbourhood, reception may be in location X, the restaurant in location Y, and other services in location Z, all within a radius of 200 metres.

We have chosen these lodgings for their atmosphere and friendly reception as well as the quality of their architecture and environment. However clients should be aware that they do not meet the same standards and norms as those of the French hotel trade.'

Access

By car

Four principal ways into the region: Tunnel de Frejus, Col de Montgenèvre, Col Agnel, Col de Larche.

By air

Turin Airport (Italie) + car rental

By train

Railway station of Turin (Italie) or Railway station of Briançon (France) + car rental

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