We The Italians | Italian gardens and parks: Valsolda Regional Forest

Italian gardens and parks: Valsolda Regional Forest

Italian gardens and parks: Valsolda Regional Forest

  • WTI Magazine #147 Jan 22, 2022
  • 157

This forest, one of the wildest in the region, stretches for about 786 acres on the limestone Prealps of Lombardy. It borders with Switzerland and with with the municipalities of Porlezza and Val Rezzo. In 2004, it was included in “Natura 2000” site collection and was acknowledged as a “Special Protection Area” (SPA). In 2007, it was declared a Regional Nature Reserve.

Countless interventions have contributed over the years to its present appearance: natural engineering works – in order to prevent damage due to hydrogeological instability, re-naturalization of the forest, maintenance of trails, signs, and information panels for visitors, as well as parking and picnic areas.

The forest is divided into two main areas: the central and northern part, which is called the “Integral Nature Reserve”, and the southern part, which is called the “Oriented Nature Reserve”. Only the latter is accessible to the public and hosts educational-cultural activities.

The trails

The most popular trails are the “wildlife” one, and “Via dei Canti”. Visitors can thus enjoy and experience the forest, its rock formations, the ravines and the valleys following these highly popular itineraries.

“Via dei Canti” reaches the peaks of Pradè and Torrione, at an altitude of 5.921 ft., and continues on a path full of sounds easily recognizable thanks to several information panels. Along this route, visitors can enjoy some historical landscapes and, walking among large European larches (Larix decidua), may even have close encounters with chamois and golden eagles.

Along the “wildlife” trail, there are the remains of an extinct cave bear and the grotto where, according to a legend, a wolf found shelter. Visitors can eventually reach Alpe Pessina, enjoying numberless evocative sights. That would be the highest peak in the forest, at some 4.000 ft. above sea level.
A monumental whitebeam (Sorbus aria) grows in that very area, protected by a rocky wall.

The luckiest trekkers may walk down the mountains in the company of deers, roe deers, and some wild boars. With the help of binoculars, chamois and golden eagles can be observed on the north-east slopes of Alpe Pessina.

Climbing, lake watersports, and biking are allowed as well.