Col del Lys Natural Park

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Colle del Lis (also written as “Lys”) is an alpine pass (4.298 ft above sea level) of the Graian Alps, located in the province of Turin, between the lower Valle di Susa and Valle di Viù; right there, there’s a most beautiful view which encompasses the northern plain of Turin and that of Cuneo, all the way up to the Maritime Alps.

Established in 2004, Col del Lys Natural Park is an area protected by the Piedmont Region, located in the municipalities of Rubiana and Viù; it includes the north-western and south-western slopes of Mount Arpone, east of Colle del Lys, and the road to the sanctuary of Madonna della Bassa – a popular pilgrimage destination.

The protected area covers more than 892 acres, at altitudes between 3.280 and 5.249 ft.
Colle del Lys used to be the very cradle of the local resistance during the Second World War: it is, in fact, regarded as one of the true symbols of the Nazi-Fascist resistance in Susa Valley and Lanzo Valley. After the war, a monument was erected there to remember the 2.104 fallen partisans.


The Park features a rich and variegated bird presence, as it is located on an important migratory route; it also includes several different habitats, such as heaths, forests of beeches (Fagus sylvatica), mountain ashes (Sorbus aria), and rowans (Sorbus aucuparia), as well as thickets of black alders (Alnus glutinosa).

The presence of Euphorbia gibelliana ha also been documented – a very rare species in Piedmont, already subject to protection within the integral nature reserve of “Madonna della Neve” on Mount Lera.

At the lower altitudes and on the Viù side, there are broad-leaved woods; nonetheless, most of the tree vegetation in the area is the result of reforestation, especially with conifers such as larches (Larix decidua), black pines (Pinus nigr), Norway spruces (Picea abies), silver firs (Abies alba), and Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris ), subject to mortality and damage caused by the pine processionary (Traumatocampa pityocampa).

There are also wooded heath areas, with mountain ashes (Sorbus aria) and rowans (Sorbus aucuparia), interrupted along the valleys by alder thickets (Alnus glutinosa) and beeches (Fagus sylvatica).

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

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