A Living Museum
The 'Centro Visite Alevé'
The Bosco dell’Alevè (the Alevè forest) spreads over almost 850 hectares in the Varaita valley, through the districts of Sampeyre, Casteldelfino and Pontechianale.
It is the largest forest of its kind, being a pure Pinus cembra forest, also known as Swiss pine, Austrian stone pine or just Stone pine. This particular pine is exclusive to the Alps and Carpathian Mountains of central Europe and has been known since Roman times.
Because of the unique characteristics of the Pinus cembra, the Alevè forest has been defined as a Site of Community Importance by the European Commission Habitats Directive.
The Po River Park, which confines with the Alevè forest, has decided, along with the region of Piedmont and the district of Casteldelfino, to set up a museum or visitor’s centre in order to promote the Alevè forest. A full size diorama of the forest has been set up, where the visitor has the sensation of actually adventuring into the woods. Among the dense pines, branches brush against your face.
In the greenery of the forest, you can catch sight of some of the most important animal species in the forest, among which squirrel, hare, and boar. In the tree tops you can spot woodpeckers, red crossbills, tits and above all the spotted nutcracker, which owes its fortune to the forest.
On the backdrop, a rock wall harbours chamois, black grouse and partridge. In a cleft, a magnificent example of the European eagle-owl stands out.
Following the trail, you reach the far side of the diorama where an obligatory passage leads you to a reconstruction of the Lake Bagnour.
The lake unfolds with the forest and the mountain on the backdrop. Not far away, a roe deer quenches its thirst, while a bunch of marmots gather together on a steep slope on the right off the trail. Many other details enrich the diorama, where even the sun’s rays peering through the treetops are magically evoked by a skilful play of light.
The museum is only open in certain times of the year, so be sure to book your visit in advance.
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