Sesia - Val Grande Geopark
This Geopark in the northeast of the Piemonte Region stretches over two neighboring Alpine valleys, Sesia and Val Grande and includes the two sacred sites of Sacre Monte of Varallo and Sanctuary of Ghiffa which both belong to the nine Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy, included in UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Its geology is connected to Alpine tectonics with outcrops used for hiking tours through the Earth’s crust, including, for example, a journey from the deep crust to the collapsed caldera of a fossilized supervolcano with its 25 km-deep magmatic plumbing system. The Geopark provides one of the most spectacular sections through rocks of lower crustal origin lifted by mountain building processes. Two important rocks are of special interest: the pink marble in Ossola, used to build the Cathedral of Milan in the 14th century, and soap stone which has been used for a variety of purposes throughout history. The villages in Val Sesia are important for the history of the Walser people who migrated to the region between the 12th and 13th century from what is now the German-speaking part of the canton of Valais (Wallis) in Switzerland.