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Piedmont's Magical Valley

Valle Maira - an Occitan paradise
 
This Holiday in a nutshell
  • self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking, luggage transported
  • walk the highlights of the ‘Percorsi Occitani’
  • stay in cosy mountain retreats, enjoying regional specialities
  • challenging high mountain walking following ancient ways
  • stunning lakes and abundant fresh springs

 

In Piedmont’s remote and rugged Valle Maira, which occupies an enchanting fold of the Cottian Alps close to the French border, the Occitan language still lives on – often in song – and formerly deserted mountain villages are being born again, thanks to the renovation of a network of ancient paths which circumnavigate the valley, known as the ‘Percorsi Occitani’.

This is first-class mountain terrain, with something for every strong walker: accessible peaks, multi-layered views and history at every turn, from frescoes to WWII fortifications.
     
Penny Kendall, Inntravel photographer

Linking picturesque hamlets and villages that adhere to age-old traditions, many of the paths criss-crossing this extraordinarily beautiful high valley are paved in stone at lower levels – where mixed forest is interspersed with Mediterranean vegetation – and are often bordered by crumbling dry stone walls, while the rocky alpine landscape of the higher slopes is dotted with plentiful springs and lakes. It’s not that long ago that glaciers shrouded the highest of the north faces, and the summits, though mostly free of snow in high summer, are impressive.

Taking in some of the high peaks which are accessible to walkers, this is a varied, challenging holiday, with significant ascents and descents each day as you explore the well-signed paths and tracks. Our carefully planned routes and quality hotels converted from old mountain dwellings – as well as a useful transfer here and there – allow you to enjoy this wonderful area and its magnificent views to the full, savouring warm hospitality and delicious Occitan cuisine each evening.

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