Côte de Gargantua is situated in the south-west of Aosta, on the right orographic slope of Dora Baltea. It extends itself from the south towards the north-east, with a sharp peak and steep slopes. Its characteristic shape has always aroused people's curiosity and led to the creation of legends from which, among the other things, the name of the reserve derives; as a matter of fact, according to one of these popular beliefs, the Côte could be the little finger of the legendary giant Gargantua buried under a blanket of detritus.
The peculiar insolation and dryness conditions allow the development of a xerothermophile vegetation rich in species of steppe and Mediterranean origin.
The spontaneous shrubs characteristic of the dry environments include Junipers, Bearberries, and the rare and poisonous Daphne alpina. The herbaceous flora includes particularly precious species, like the Artemisia vallesiaca, the European Goldilock (Aster linosyris), and theTelephium imperati but also plants that were introduced by man, like Poppies (Papaver rhoeas), Hyssops (Hyssopus officinalis), and Cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus).
The Nature Reserve is populated by small rodents searching for food, birds of prey and passerines, but most of all by reptiles and invertebrates. Common Wall Lizards (Podarcis muralis), Green Lizards (Lacerta viridis), Western Whip Snakes (Coluber viridiflavus), and many species of Lepidopters and Coleoptera are present.