Cuneo, Italy

If you have driven through Switzerland to the French Riviera off the motorway, you will have passed Cuneo as you drive through the Alps towards the Mercantour National Park  It is located at 550 metres at the confluence of the rivers Stura and Gesso.  Approaching in a large vehicle from the Italian side is possible by motorway almost to the city, from the French side the border crossing at Tende is not particularly difficult for motorhomes, however the crossing from Isola needs to be avoided as it is very narrow.

In Cuneo there is a free municipal motorhome stop in Via Viglione although it is likely to be busy in season.

The mountains around Cuneo offer a variety of types of scenery from the “dolomitic” of the Marguareis Massif to the crystalline rocks of Argentera and Monviso.  The highest mountain in the area is Monviso at 3841 metres.  

Six mountain passes can be found in the area ::

Colle della Maddalena at 1,996 metres (6,549 ft)
Colle di Tenda at 1,871 metres (6,138 ft) - Tunnel of Tenda at 1,300 metres (4,300 ft), 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) long
Colle del Melogno at 1,027 metres (3,369 ft)
Colle San Bernardo at 957 metres (3,140 ft)
Colle di Nava at 934 metres (3,064 ft)
Colle di Cadibona at 459 metres (1,506 ft).

 

Maritime Alps National Park

The Parco Naturale delle Alpi Marittime, situated in the Gesso, Stura and Vermenagna valleys, is the largest protected area in Piedmont (27,945 hectares). In 1857 all of the area was declared a Royal Hunting Reserve and a network of paths and mule trackswere made over the next years in order to make hunting easier for the Kings of Savoy. These paths continue to be maintained today.  There are also a number of refuges which are open from 15 June to 15 September..

Paths lead to the summit of the Argentera at 3297 m. On the Argentera and Gelàs massifs, there are traces of ancient glaciers that form the southernmost parts of the alpine glaciers. The park has around eighty lakes (nearly all of glacial origin) and hot springs that gush at the foot of Monte Matto, in Terme di Valdieri,at about 70° C.

Wildlife includes chamois,ibex, roe deer, marmots, eagles and the wolf has reappeared again.

 

What to eat

A local food specialty is Cuneesi al rhum, chocolates with a rum-based filling. One brand, Arione, has operated from the same premises in Piazza Galimberti since 1923 and has kept the same furniture since!  

In mid October, a national chestnut fair is held over three days. See : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyc-Qfmoe_E.

Other local specialities include wine, cheese, chestnuts, potatoes, salami, beef from Piedmont cattle, snails, mushrooms, bagna caôda, Sambuco lamb, leeks, pumpkins, wood-fired oven baked bread and buckwheat polenta amongst others.

 

What to see in town

Via Roma : the main street which has been pedestrianised and the façades of the buildings were completely restored in the last few years

Villa Tornaforte, surrounded by an English-style park.
Civic Museum
Railway Museum
Churches of Santa Croce, San Giovanni Decollato and Santissima Annunziata, housing paintings by Giovan Francesco Gaggini.
Funicular railway.
Monument of Stura and Gesso in Piazza Torino 
Nuvolari Libera Tribù: the longest summer's musical festival, near river Gesso

Villa Oldofredi Tadini, built in the 14th and 15th centuries as a watchtower. It is now a museum housing the collections of the Mocchia and Oldofredi Tadini families.

New Bridge (Ponte Nuovo) between the centre of the cityand Madonna dell' Olmo

 

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