Val Maira

A week trekking and lodging in this rare and beautiful region in the Italian Alps

La scuola balcony.jpg

There is such a rich and storied history to the alpine valleys on the border with France. Join us for a week as we hike and explore this spectacular mountain paradise. Long linked with France and Spain through the ancient occitana / occitanie dialect, for centuries this region has been a trading corridor for staples of life such as olive oil, cheese, wheat, wine, salted and preserved fish and meat, fabrics, tools and hardware. Along with these everyday items came the cultural traditions of music, language, literature and lifestyle of people from hundreds of kilometers away. 

Almost completely abandoned and undeveloped since the 1950’s as inhabitants were drawn to the industrial revolution, jobs and hope of a better life in nearby Turin, Milan and the Po river valley below, Valley Maira’s awe inspiring natural beauty and architectural integrity is mostly intact. Recently, relatives of ancestors have been returning to open agritourismi, albegros and rifugios. Respecting native architecture and historic building methods, with a nod to modernity, energy efficiency and good taste, they have restored and renovated buildings long since abandoned. If not for the thick stone walls and flat, thin stone “lauze” roof tiles, these structures would no longer be in existence.  

The food culture here adheres to the Slow Food principles set forth in the 1980’s by Carlo Petrini in nearby Bra. Locally milled wheat, alpine cheese from the valley’s sheep, goats and cows, as well as locally grown vegetables and seemingly unlimited food products grown and produced in the Piedmont provide the raw ingredients for modern takes on “cucina tipica Piedmontese”. In short, the food of Valle Maira is delicious and reason enough to come!

Our itinerary takes us through the region on day hikes linking our previous night’s lodging with the next. We will follow a grand circuit of the valley referred to as the “percorsi occitani.”  

Our guides are intimately familiar with the geography and history of the area, providing you with cultural, historical and route knowledge. 

Our lodging and dining owners are often the cooks and caretakers. They love their land and it shows in the warm and genuine welcome we receive as we walk into their inviting accommodations at the end of an exhilarating day hiking in the mountains.

Fully guided Six night/Seven day trek - Milan airport pick up, ground transportation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, mountain hotel and rifugio lodging. Barolo and Barbaresco red wines, as well as Ligurian and Roero whites and numerous locally micro brewed beer are featured in even the most remote mountain huts. $2,900 per person double occupancy — single supplement $500 Comprehensive trip cancellation / interruption / medical insurance is available through Travelex and can be included in the package for an additional $250.