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The Gardetta plateau is a high-altitude alpine area between Val Maira and Valle Stura di Demonte which is of considerable environmental and naturalistic interest.

Large expanses of pasture alternate with the verticality of the surrounding mountains: in particular, Rocca La Meja, which sits almost in the centre of the great amphitheatre.

The environment must have been very different in the past compared to the present day, 300 million years ago it is assumed that the area was covered by the sea, with desert-like coasts, with a landscape very similar to that of the present-day Red Sea.

Among the many fossil remains of marine organisms, coastal dunes, pebbles from ancient rivers and volcanic lava flows, in 2009 the footprints of the Ticinosuchus, a medium-long reptile similar to a crocodile but about 2.5 metres tall, were also discovered. Its back was armoured with a double row of pentagon-shaped bone plates positioned directly above its spine.

The fossils of this mountain, known for their variety and exceptional state of conservation, have led to the international recognition of this deposit, which has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Piano della Gardetta