Walk in the Maritime Mercantour
A Long Origin
The contact zone between the Alpi Marittime and Mercantour parks, the dividing line is straddled by a criss-crossing network of the most extensive and effective paths and trails in the Alps. This is an asset explained from a few relatively recent events marking their history. As in the rest of the Alps, the major border crossings have been used since antiquity from armies, merchants, pilgrims.
In the Maritime Alps, over the Tenda and Magdalene Hills/Larche, currently crossed by roads of international importance, is the secondary role of those that were once only passable by foot: think of the Colle di Finestra or the Colle di Ciriegia. The passes are the ancient "salt routes", drawn in particular to promote commerce between the Po Valley and the Nice coast.
Le vie del sale (3 pictures)
In the meantime, between the villages of the middle and lower valleys, a dense network of connections has developed over the centuries. It is sued to move from one country to another without losing altitude and to exploit the resources of the mountain, from the forest to the mountain pastures. Up to now, there is an evolution common to the interior of the Alps.
Then, in the area between the Stura and Gesso Valleys, on the side of the Po, Vésubie and Roya on the Mediterranean Vittorio Emanuele, the future king of Italy, established a game reserve. In order to advance the so-called “imposte di caccia”, ot the places where the real and the following lurk in waiting to shoot down the charmois, several miles of trails are built.
And we come to the Second World War. In the period that precedes it, at the behest of Mussolini’s Italy fortified the mountains on the border with France. The Maritime valleys became a giant construction site. The ancient transhumance routes and hunting became the connections between the valleys and the barracks and bunkers built at the crossings. Of this tragic period, there is the extraordinary testimony of a very exclusive network of trails and military roads paved in many places, elevated and carved into rock, true works of infrastructure.
Strade e sentieri militari (3 pictures)
When nascent alpine tourism also makes its appearance in the south-western Alps, the area becomes well-equipped to respond to the changing needs of walkers. Over time, the hiker audience has grown and grown, but despite this, there are many unexplored corners of the Mercantour-Maritime Alps, which can still be safely reached.
Parchi da scoprire camminando (6 pictures)
To make the wealth of hiking trails more accessible, the parks of the Maritime and Mercantour Alps, in collaboration with the Écrins Park, are creating a website dedicated to the area. The potential visitor can program an output on the basis of criteria ranging from technical difficulty of the route to its altitude, the geographical location or historical interest or natural beauty. It will be flexible, versatile : http://rando.mercantour.eu
Today, please visit the following sites to organize your trip: http://www.parks.it/parco.alpi.marittime/iti.php