A series of steep mountains with serrated ridges rises behind the town of Valdieri, in the lower Valle Gesso. It is the territory of the Special Nature Reserve "Popolamento di Juniperus phoenicea di Rocca S. Giovanni - Saben" which, since 1984, protects this stretch of Alpi Marittime extraordinarily rich in biodiversity. The area is part of the sedimentary covering of Argentera crystal-like Massif, consisting of limestone and dolomite rock formations which, thanks to a particular microclimate given to the southern exposure and to a morphology sheltering it from the main local winds, has enabled the survival of several characteristic Mediterranean species (animal and vegetable) in the heart of the Alps. Among these species, the most important one after which the Reserve has been named, is the Phoenicean Juniper. The presence of this shrub represents its highest and northernmost settlement in Italy.