Sesia-Val Grande is a beautiful park in northwest Italy, and it has been recently included in the Unesco list of Global Geoparks, making Italy the European nation with the largest number of recognized Geoparks, while in the global arena it is second only to China, thanks to its nine Global Geoparks.
According to Unesco, a Global Geopark is “a unified area with geological heritage of international significance. Geoparks use that heritage to promote awareness of key issues facing society in the context of the dynamic planet we all live on”. The aim of Geoparks is promoting awareness of geological hazards, including volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis, therefore indirectly helping local communities to familiarize with disaster mitigation strategies. Geoparks also help to visualize the dangerous effects of climate change, as well as promoting renewable energy employment, “green tourism”, respect for the environment and the integrity of the landscape.
There are now 100 Geoparks spread across 29 countries. The Sesia-Val Grande Geopark borders Valle d’Aosta and Mount Rosa on the west, the Ossola and Vigezzo valleys and Swiss border on the north, the Maggiore Lake on the east and southeast, and the Po valley on the south near Vercelli. This Geopark includes the Val Grande National Park, the two Alta Valsesia and Monte Fenera regional parks, and the Sacri Monti di Varallo and SS. Trinità di Ghiffa Special Nature Reserves.
Its geology “is connected to Alpine tectonics with outcrops used for hiking tours through the Earth’s crust, including a journey from the deep crust to the collapsed caldera of a fossilised supervolcano in the lower Sesia Valley with its 15-mile-deep magmatic plumbing system”.
Like all Italian Geoparks -Madonie Geopark, Rocca di Cerere Geopark, Beigua Geopark, Geological Mining Park of Sardinia, Adamello Brenta Geopark, Cilento and Vallo di Diano Geopark, Tuscan Mining Geopark, and Apuan Alps Geopark, the Sesia – Val Grande one definitely deserves a visit for the spectacular view, experience and atmosphere it offers.