For visitors who won’t be scaling the highest peaks, this garden offers access to a varied panorama of alpine plants and lichens, all against the backdrop of the Gran Paradiso National Park.

Covering some 10,000 square metres at an altitude of 1,700 metres above sea level, the Paradisia Alpine Garden was founded by the Park Authority in 1955 near the village of Valnontey, not far from Cogne. The name refers to Paradisea liliastrum, a liliaceae very common around these parts. The garden’s collection of alpine species now extends to over a thousand different specimens from the Gran Paradiso massif and other alpine areas, for the most part planted from seed by the in-house nursery. Like other alpine gardens, it is organized by thematic area, featuring reconstructions of specific natural environments characterized by particular, well-determined flora. Pseudo-steppe, peat bog, detrital environments and meadowland all feature, characterized primarily by subalpine-level plants that grow along slopes susceptible to landslides, detrital cones on north-facing slopes, or along the banks of watercourses. Because of the breadth of these different plants’ origins, they are distinguished by colour: yellow labels refer to autochthonous Alpine and Apennine plants, white labels to exotic plants from massifs all over the world, and red labels to medicinal plants. The garden also features a remarkable petrographic display, along with an impressive collection of lichens that grow spontaneously on certain rocks.