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Protected Area

Identity Card

  • Land Surface Area (ha): 3.378,00
  • Regions: Piemonte
  • Provinces: Novara, Vercelli
  • Municipalities: Boca, Borgosesia, Cavallirio, Grignasco, Prato Sesia, Valduggia
  • Establishment Measures: LR 22 30/03/1987
  • PA Official List: EUAP0209

 

 

Nature

In the calcareous-dolomitic banks, karstic phenomena have led to the formation of several cavities. In some of them, prehistoric wildlife finds like those of the cave bear have been discovered. Moreover, further important ethnological discoveries dating back to different eras - from the Paleolithic period to the Roman Age - have been made.
There are approximately 30 botanic species growing exclusively in the Mountain: Daphne alpina, which is a glacial relict, and 16 fern species, among which the Maidenhair Fern, Osmunda regalis, and the Hartstongue Fern; wide meadows of Butcher's Broom cover the southern and western underwood of Mt. Fenera.
In 1994, the first Black Stork Italian nesting took place: since 1996 the Park has been the center dealing with the collection of data about this forest bird.

Fauna

Though most of the Park is covered by woodlands, the wildlife features belong to different habitats because of the presence of vertical dolomite walls, cultivated areas, and moorland areas with trees, the latter developing at the edges of the Park.
Within the Park you can distinguish two kinds of arboreal formations: one characterized by the presence of imposing and senescent plants, the other by plants with a relatively small diameter.
The former is characterized by former chestnut tree woods and by a typical fauna indicating the ancientness of the woodland: among the birds, the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, the Eurasian Nuthatch, and the Short-toed Treecreeper; among the mammals, the Wild Boar and the Roe Deer.
The latter is characterized by different species like the Wren, the Blackcap, and the Shrew mouse usually living in shrubby formations.
Among the different environments many peculiar habitats can be found, especially calcareous rocky walls housing animals, above all birds, which seldom can be found elsewhere in Valsesia: the Peregrine, the Crag Martin, and the Eurasian Nuthatch.
The cultivated areas consisting of meadows, vegetable gardens, orchards, and vineyards are extremely important for the diversification of the animal species living in the transition areas (ecotones). We can find for instance the Wryneck, the Green Woodpecker, and the Hawfinch among the birds, the Roe Deer and the Hare among the mammals, which use the cultivated areas to graze and the woodland to rest.
The vineyard houses in particular species exclusively depending from it, like the Turtle Dove, the Melodious Warbler, and the Cirl Bunting.
In the moorland, characterized by a thin and scarce vegetation due to the barren soil and the passage of fire, we can find animals which are particularly interesting from an ecological and naturalistic point of view, like the Nightjar and the Honey Buzzard.
The wider opening and the chance of a better sun exposure, two typical aspects of this environment, favour the life of reptiles like the Green Lizard, the Coluber, and the Asp Viper which are the usual preys of the Short-toad Eagle, a big bird of prey living in the Park together with the Buzzard and the Black Kite.
In autumn, the Park territory is characterized by two massive migration routes followed by thousands of birds flying towards NE - SW in order to spend the winter in the Mediterranean area. In particular, in October you can see big flocks of Columbidae, Corvids, Fringillidae, and Turdidae together with birds of prey like Buzzards and Honey Buzzards.

Flora

The Park territory conformation, degrading from the 899m of the summit of Mt. Fenera to the 300m above-sea level, the different slope exposure, and the abundant presence of watercourses, even if with a mainly torrential regime, characterize the considerable variety of rare plants and rare arboreal essences.
The 93% of the Park area is covered by woodlands mainly formed by chestnut trees used for the production of firewood and poles, where it is possible to find centuries-old fruit trees.
The chestnut tree grows together with the ash tree, the common oak, the sessile oak, the Turkey oak, the birch, the maple, the aspen, the wild cherry, the willow, and the whitebeam; the locust tree has invaded the southern hills, while the alder and the black poplar can be found in the wet depressions and along the streams.
On the cooler northern slopes we can easily find the beech tree, while the southern rocky walls and calcareous soils are covered with flowering ash, a typical Mediterranean essence together with the butcher's broom ant the juniper.
The natural conifers (Scots pines) can be rarely found, while the artificially planted ones are more widespread for their rapid growth (like the Eastern white pine). Among the most widespread shrubs there are the hazelnut tree, the Cornelian cherry dogwood, the winter beauty, the elder, the hawthorn, the European barberry, and the privet.
Among the herbaceous plants, in addition to common ones like hellebore, cyclamen, lungwort, crocus, and dogtooth, we have to mention some rare species, such as Daphne alpina, Daphne laureola, Daphne mezereum, and Iris graminea, as well as the wild grapevine, and even very rare ones of high ornamental value, like the hartstongue fern, the royal fern, and the maidenhair fern.
In a recent catalogue, over 900 different botanical species have been identified within the Park area.

Historical Aspects

Throughout the centuries, from the Middle Paleolithic up to present times, Mt. Fenera has been interested by different settlement waves which left important traces.
From the rough stone tools of the Man of Neanderthal to, several millennia later, the Neolithic Age ceramics and to the metal objects; from the Roman period with its bronze and silver coins and the late Roman era or of the early Middle Ages to the most ancient signs of the industrialization of the valley with the remains of a forge for iron working.
Finally, the Middle Ages left us the best evidences: the ruins of Robiallo Castle, the "castra" system developing along the commercial roads, and the 14th century hamlets in the valley bottom. The urban development at higher altitudes took place later, between the 15th and 16th centuries. Afterwards, the signs of the human presence became more and more evident: the 16th century and Baroque itinerary is documented by Grignasco parish church and St. Anthony Chapel in Casa Negri and develops through the churches and oratories of the mountain country hamlets, like in Colma and Maretti and on the summit of Mt. Fenera.
The itinerary of "antonelliana" architecture and of the late Neoclassical period is documented by Soliva and Castagnola churches, as well as Boca Sanctuary.
More recent evidences of the rural and shepherds' life can be found in the summer mountain pastures (Alpe Fenera, Camini...), in the country hamlets characterized until 1960 by houses with straw roofs, in the factories like tanneries and mills situated along the watercourses, and in the quarries with corves and roads connecting the kilns.
The last evidences of important historical events are linked with the partisan war lived with particular intensity by the local people who suffered the loss of their relatives: for this reason, along the paths of the Park it is possible to find many memorial stones.

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