Hills unveiling treasures: a journey into the wonders of the nature reserves of the Asti region.
The days when the Asti area was not yet the “sea of hills” that we know today are long gone. Thousands of years ago, the sea was really there. Geological upheavals, glaciations, uplifts and other changes in the earth's surface caused the sea to recede from here, leaving a series of rolling sandy and sometimes clayey areas that nature covered with green forests. The arrival of humans, with their desire to live on these heights, did the rest, shaping the hills to their needs in a relentless and stubborn challenge for life. Although these are incredibly distant eras, there are places where these remote pages of history can still be read. There is a museum, the Paleontological Museum of Asti (Fossil Museum), and there are nature reserves set up precisely to safeguard the traces of this ancient geological past. Among these, the protected area of the Nature Reserve of Valleandona, Valle Botto and Val Grande stands out for its extension and paleontological value.
- Camerano Casasco,
An explosion of pristine nature just minutes from the city centre.
In 1985, one of the largest reserves in the Province of Asti was created with this objective in mind. With its 930 hectares, it stretches across the hilly areas on the western outskirts of Asti, including the villages of Settime, Cinaglio and Camerano Casasco. A true oasis of peace, home to countless sea shells that have come down to us intact from the Pliocene era and from the Asti Basin, which was filled with marine life and which today re-emerge among the sands and along the walls that have formed cracks in the hills. Fossils and other more recent stories such as the origin of the geological conformation of certain parts of these valleys. This is the case in the Gorghi di Cinaglio, where the blue clays, which do not allow water to filter through, made it possible to develop traditional hemp processing.
An open-air museum and green trails to rediscover a lost sea.
The area of the fossiliferous outcrops is a place of study and research and can be accessed by making a reservation at the Palaeontological Park and in the presence of a park ranger and qualified nature guides. The woods, on the other hand, are freely accessible and to ease their use, a number of paths have been marked out that can be travelled independently, on foot, on horseback or by mountain bike, with equipped rest areas along the way. A sea in which you do not swim, but which takes you into the harmony of nature's sounds, scents and colours.