Visit the Maira Valley in summer and winter
An unspoiled valley, intact and rich in history, tradition, nature and art: a small natural paradise in the mountains of Piedmont
The Holiday Apartment Nidi di Rondine is located in the hamlet of Tetti, in the municipality of Dronero (Cuneo), at the entrance of the Valle Maira, in a panoramic position at 621 meters above sea level with a view that widens from the San Bernardo, Roccerè mountains, the Pelvo d Elva, the peaks of Cauri, of Bicocca up to Mount Chersogno.
It is a country of medieval origin, in the heart of the Cottian Alps, founded between 1000 and 1100 thanks to the migration of some people at the foot of the ancient Castle, whose tower remained and straight until 1840 and of which today only a mullioned window fragment inserted in the current building “the civic hospital”.
It is an important land that of the municipality of Dronero, “feud” of Giolitti in the last century and “home” of counts and marquises in its history, which still today tells this extraordinary past with the monuments, the noble houses, the nineteenth-century villas, the bridges, churches, squares and alleys that have come down to us and that can be observed and known by walking around the city.
Walking along the ancient “Carrera Magna” you can meet the remains of the city walls or come across the famous crenellated medieval bridge, built in 1428 and also called Ponte del Diavolo for a particular legend that, if you come to visit us, we would be happy to let you discover.
Even the etymology of the word Dronero is still not clear today: the historical interpretation has it that it derives from the name of “Dragon”, a symbol on the coat of arms of the city that leads back to a nobleman from the family of the lords of Verzuolo, founder of the city. For others, the Dragon traces back to the Latin term “Draconanus”, the soldier who carried the banner of the dragon or, again, from the medieval one “Draco”, that is, a rough territory, with a cliff and a stream.
Instead, what is certain is the Torrente Maira which crosses the town and gives its name to the valley of which Dronero is the gateway, to fascinate tourists who come from all over Europe to discover its magic. Valle Maira in dialect means “lean valley”. It is a simple Territory, which lives on agriculture, breeding and craftsmanship, but also on tourism thanks to the infinite beauties of which this uncontaminated paradise, which has remained outside the cementification and urban development, is the custodian.
The highest and most beautiful mountains for demanding excursions are Chersogno, Pelvo, Sautrun, Marchisa, Rocha Povencale, to name a few, but there are also a myriad of lakes and easily accessible steps, via ferrata and walls to climb, as long as you respect the their times and the right seasons.
The heart of the valley welcomes a jewel, a Dolomite mountain: the Gardetta plateau with its amphitheatric plan, which is part of the Italian Geological Heritage and is also an astrological observatory. Unique dinosaur footprints have been found on this mountain, so much so that it deserves mention in the most important scientific journals: an excursion certainly not to be missed!
The municipality of Dronero also borders with the municipality of Roccabruna where you can observe the famous “coppelle”, prehistoric rock carvings in what has become the most important site of Bronze Age Rock Art.
In the nearby town of Villar San Costanzo you can walk among the “Ciciu”, karst formations similar to large mushrooms with a hat in rock and the stem in earth and clay created by erosion and located in a protected natural area. Another point not to be missed is the Medieval Castle, in the municipality of Montemale.
For those wishing to go a little further, less than an hour s drive opens up the splendid scenery of the Langhe and Roero, with the cities of Alba, Barolo, Cherasco, La Morra, Serrelunga ready to welcome you with good wine, traditional Piedmontese cuisine, the famous truffle and the typical hilly landscape famous all over the world!
The natural waterfalls of Stroppia, although not yet well known beyond the Piedmontese borders, with their jump of almost 500 meters are the highest in Italy.
They are located in Chiappera, in the municipality of Acceglio, and can be reached by hiking for a couple of hours (along the Dino Icardi path) following the indications through the yellow-blue notches: one of the main characteristics of these waterfalls is the fact that appear in all their beauty and majesty in late spring and then disappear in summer, due to the lowering of the lake above, the Niera: remember it if you decide to go and see them.
You can then continue along the suggestive path carved into the rock until you get to the Stroppia Refuge, or, crossing the Vallonasso di Stroppia valley, reach Lake Niera, a real natural spectacle.
The Occitan Routes represent the most known and popular hiking circuit in the Maira Valley, in the western Piedmont Alps.
A 77 km trekking route created in 99 and divided into 4 stages (with a difference in altitude ranging from 600 to over 700 m above sea level): it starts from the Ciciu Nature Reserve, in the plain of Villar San Costanzo, to climb up to the pastures of Elva and Acceglio and then descend from the opposite side, through Chialvetta, Gardetta, Marmora, up to Dronero. Along the way you will find small hotels, inns, refuges and stopping places with typical Piedmontese and Occitan dishes to “pamper yourself”.
The path, included in the Paths category of the census organized by the FAI Fondo Ambiente Italiano to promote the particularly expensive places that would be kept for future generations, is marked by wooden panels and yellow notches and the Sherpabus luggage transport service is active from one stage to another.
For those who do not want to give up a nice swim even in the mountains, about km from our Holiday Home (less than 5 minutes by car), within an area of about 4 thousand square meters there is the Roccabruna swimming pool, in Val Maira sports center.
Here you can enjoy moments of peace and well-being and take advantage of the semi-Olympic pool 5 m long and .5 m wide, a children s pool with hydromassage corner, a green area of 600 m and solariums, as well as the equipped gym and a multipurpose sports hall.
The structure also offers a bar restaurant with a large summer outdoor area for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks and offers the possibility to book barbecues.
A relaxing corner surrounded by the beautiful mountains of the Maira Valley.