in Val Pellice

Tourist information portal of Pellice Valley (Piedmont, Italy)

Environment and its excellence

The territory, sites of Community interest, fauna

From broadleaf forests to high alpine stony grounds, going through a bunch of different environments, the Val Pellice and its secondary valleys offer tourists a great biodiversity in just twenty kilometers as the crow flies.

The territory is rich of several elements such as the different orientation, a miscellaneous of sun exposure and altitudes, a non-intensive agro-pastoral management with high sustainability criteria, the abundance of water in rivers and streams: all this makes the territory deeply rich in many types and special habitat ideal for a high number of plant and animal species.

For these reasons, three Sites of Community Interest are located in Val Pellice, as established by the EU Habitats Directive:

  • stations of Myricaria germanica;
  • the oasis of Pra-Barant;
  • the Pian Prà-Rorà forest.

Recognized for the importance of the biodiversity conservation, such sites are linked to another 10.000 sites spread out across Europe and forming together the Natura 2000 network.

The Valley, of ice age nature, is part of the geological massif called Dora-Maira, characterized by the simultaneous presence of continental and oceanic lithological associations. The birth of the Alps is in fact due to the convergence and the clash of two massive plates, which in their approach included the Ligure-Piemontese Ocean basin and then, with the collision, generate Alpine chain. In this process, geological forces had metamorphosed the original ancient rocks in a rich variety of colors and shapes: from green ophiolite of oceanic origin to the solid gneiss of continental origin.

Located inside the Geoparc of Cozie Alps, where numerous sites testify the geological vitality of the Alps: the Conca del Prà, with its wide base once occupied by a large glacial lake, the slopes of Monte Granero and the Stone Ecomuseum in Rorà ,important evidence of mining that since '800 has features the famous Stone of Luserna.

The Sites of Community Interest

Stations of Myricaria germanica

Stations of Myricaria germanica are extended over a hundred hectares between the territories of Villar Pellice and Bobbio Pellice. The shrub Myricaria germanica testifies the presence of an Alpine river habitat with a high level of biodiversity. Essential conditions for its settlement are: an environment with a high level of naturalness, a rich fish fauna and traditional not intensive agricultural management.

The Prà - Barant oasis

The Pra Barant emphasizes the presence of various habitats, typical of the Alpine region, distributed in a wide altitudinal range. The abundance of animal and plant species, especially endemics, had already decreed the establishment in 1976 as Wildlife Protection Oasis. For the peculiarity of the territory and its various climatic influences and since border area, there is an Alpine Botanic Garden, with an abundance of floral species.

The Pian Prà forest

Beech woods and clearings characterize the Pian del Prà forest, near Rorà, with an interesting presence of Carabidae beetles, testifying ancient glaciations and representing a great ecological indicator.

The fauna

From the lower hill slopes at the bottom of the valley to the high mountains at the head of it, there are several habitats with different characteristics, which are chosen by our local fauna and respective specific need.

In the forests at the bottom of the valley, you can find red squirrel, foxes, badgers, hares, as well as numerous small mammals.At higher altitudes, you can meet, in addition to the whistling marmots, some of the big alpine wild ungulates: the chamois, ibex and bighorn sheep. Throughout the territory, it is easy to notice signs of wild boar and, at lower elevations, observe deer, daytime hidden in the wood, at sunrise and sunset often grazing in large meadows at the valley bottom.

The ermine on crags and mountain scree slopes is a charming and fleeting presence, but each time amazing!

On the meadows and the in the upper valley passes, it was reported the presence of the shy wolf. His fleeting wandering along the "green corridors" represented by the high lands, little populated, is with no doubt due to the high level of naturalness of the valley.

From the small goldcrest, the smallest bird of Europe, to great bearded vulture, the nesting or in transit bird community is well represented by numerous species, colonizing different habitats. Many species of sparrows, including the most common and visible, are the chaffinches, the redstart, the white wagtail and gray wagtail, robin and a variety of tit bird; also present various types of peaks as well as corvids such as forest jays, and in the upper valley the crows and the common raven. Other typical inhabitants of the highlands are the alpine galliformes: the black grouse, ptarmigan and rock partridge will reveal their presence to the hiker, with a sudden and unexpected flutter of wings. Not rarely, looking up you can see circular flight of birds of prey: we are walking on their hunting territory! Among others, we mention buzzards, kites and short-toed eagles. It appears more frequently also the griffin from neighboring French Alps.

The valley is a "corridor" much used by migratory birds. Censuses are carried out in many sites and it is often signaled the presence of species normally absent.

The great variety of environments give the chance of a high variety of possible sighting: if we move with a light step, keen eye and light heart, we will surely be rewarded. A good pair of binoculars and a little luck complete the useful baggage of the watcher.