Upper Varaita Valley
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  The Varaita Valley is one of the Alpine valleys located in Piedmont in the Province of Cuneo. You can easily reach it from the Torino-Savona Highway. Take the Marene or Fossano Exit, and go on toward Verzuolo or Costigliole.


The Valley runs for over 40 km in the East-West direction, going up gradually from the 400 m above sea level of Costigliole to the 2748 m of the Col de l'Agnel. During summer time the Col, which is the highest in the South-Western Alps, is open to cars and links the Varaita Valley to the French region of Queyras.


At Casteldelfino the Varaita Valley splits up in the two branches of Pontechianale and Bellino, following the path of the two major streams which merge into the lower part of the Varaita torrent.

The major mountain is Mount Viso (3841 m), already well-known to the ancient Romans (Virgil, Eneide) and quoted by Dante in the Divina Commedia (Inf, XVI, 95). During the ancient times Mount Viso was long considered the highest peak in the Alps. Due to its majestic shape of a triangular pyramid, it is easily spotted from most of the plains in Piedmont.

In fact it is the highest peak in the Cotian Alps and marks the intersection of the Varaita Valley with the Po Valley and with the French Val de Guil. The summit is located entirely in the Italian territory.

  The first person to climb Mount Viso was the English explorer William Mathews who, together with the local guides Michel Croz and Jean Baptiste, reached the summit on Aug 30, 1861. The mountaineers started their ascent leaving from Casteldelfino, thus the Val Varaita path was for long considered the preferred way to climb Mount Viso.  
  Other peaks that you can easily spot from the Bellino Valley are the Pelvo d'Elva (3064) and the Pelvo di Ciabrera (3152), while from the Pontechianale Valley the Roc della Niera (3177) and the Rocca Bianca (3064) are visible. In both branches of the Valley there are many Alpine lakes, in particular it is worth mentioning the Forciolline Lake at the foot of Mount Viso, and the Lago blu above Chianale.  
Territory  -  Habitat  -  History  -  Architecture  -  Tourism  -  Sports