The area of the Sesia Val Grande Geopark is located in the north-west of Italy, in the north-eastern Piedmont and includes areas in the provinces of Verbania, Biella, Novara and Vercelli.
The territory of the Geopark includes, in its northern part, the entire Val Grande National Park and the neighboring municipalities; in the southern part the geopark includes the entire Sesia valley and parts of the surrounding valleys, such as Sessera and Strona valleys, and parts of the pre-alpine Biella mountains and the piedmont hills of Novara. The elevation of the geopark varies from 190 to 4,554 m asl: this large area is bounded on the west by the Aosta valley and the Monte Rosa massif, on the north by the Ossola and Vigezzo valleys and the Swiss border, on the east and south-east by Lake Maggiore, and on the south by the Po Valley. The total area is 2,202 square kilometers with a population of 192.616 inhabitants. There are 106 municipalities in the geopark.
The Geopark includes areas of high natural value, such as the already mentioned Val Grande National Park, two regional parks (Alta Valsesia & Strona Valley and Monte Fenera, now under the jurisdiction of the Management of Protected Areas of the Sesia Valley) and the Special Nature Reserves of Sacred Mountains of Varallo, Ghiffa and Domodossola. There are also numerous Sites of Community Importance (SCI) and a Special Protection Zone (SPZ). These are the crucial points of the Natura 2000 network, the environmental preservation network promoted by the European Union, which aims to protect European endangered habitats and species.
In its most mountainous parts the economic activities are currently dominated by tourism, due to the possibility of skiing and doing numerous other sporting activities; the protected areas are another important tourist attraction, and also part of the tourist presence is related to the artistic and religious specialities of the sacred mountains.
Next to tourism the mountain activities include traditional food production. Approaching the Po Valley, the current economic activity is represented by medium manufacturing industries and by the food industry, especially production of high quality cheese and wine. The textile industry was very important in the past but is now largely abandoned, except for a few companies whose excellence is internationally recognized.
Parco Nazionale Val Grande
Ass. Sesia Valgrande Geopark