The Martello Valley is set entirely within the boundaries of the Stelvio National Park and it can be considered its very heart. From the roads of the valley floor, a vast network of discrete trails branches out, well-maintained and well-marked, which allow visitors to penetrate the grounds of the park in complete safety, surrounded by the intimacy of the forest, to then reach points that offer truly spectacular views. Thanks to a special agreement with the Alpine Guides, active throughout the year and especially during the summer, visitors can enjoy even more ‘daring’ and more rewarding excursions. Nature lovers will in fact have a greater chance to spot and discover animals and alpine plants.
Those who visit during the winter months, will find plenty of snow, but will certainly not feel the absence of ski lifts, which would have too much impact in this sanctuary of nature. You will not feel this absence even if you love sports, because you can take advantage of the long cross-country trails and have the possibility to participate in ski mountaineering, ski touring, or in the less demanding but equally challenging snowshoeing adventures through snow covered woods. The Stelvio National Park was established in 1935. Eighty years of practical environmental policy, not made up of pretty words, but put into practice under everyone’s eyes! The park covers a wide alpine area that extends across the territory of four provinces (Bolzano, Brescia, Sondrio, Trento), in turn belonging to two different regions (Trentino-Alto Adige and Lombardy) for a total surface area of 130,734 hectares. A genuine slice of heaven fallen to the ground, one might say, but in fact desired by people who, in this case, have chosen to reward themselves with the most precious possession that the world has to offer: a pristine and uncontaminated piece of the planet, where the local plant and animal species can coexist with humans without being exploited and prevaricated. Without conflict and oppression. Witness the absolute truth of these words with your very own eyes. Come and visit the park, not armed with rifles, but with a healthy environmentalist spirit, with binoculars, with a little patience, with comfortable shoes and with the right precautions suggested by local experts (practically all), and you will have the opportunity to spot ibex, chamois, deer, marmots, foxes, squirrels, ermines, hares, badgers and weasels.
Looking up at the sky, you can admire the flight of the golden eagle, the buzzard, the sparrowhawk and the bearded vulture. It is not difficult because all these species nest within the park, as do the rock ptarmigan, the black grouse, the chough, the crow, the partridge, the raven, the woodpecker and the owl. As for the local flora, with an altitude ranging from 950 metres above sea level up to 3,900 metres, you can imagine the rich botanical diversity and variety of ecosystems. Up to 2,000 metres, the European spruce dominates which, moving up in altitude is replaced by the larch and the Swiss pine. At an even higher altitude, only dwarf shrubs resist, up to 2,600 metres where the reign of lichens begins, the only inhabitants of the glacial moraines.
Photo credits: @Leander Regensburger