The Gardens were founded in 1984, atop a glacial promontory that is part of the Mont Blanc massif: Mont Fréty.

The support provided by the Italian Department of Forestry and the Autonomous Region of Valle d’Aosta was important for its realization. However, there would be no Gardens were it not for the efforts of Dr. Laurent Ferretti, an enthusiastic admirer of alpine flora who was instrumental to the Gardens’ realization. Ferretti also founded the “Fondazione Donzelli, Gilberti e Ferretti”, still active today though under another name, the Saussurea Foundation, which manages the Gardens. Officially inaugurated in 1987 and primarily dedicated to tourism, the Gardens have gradually taken on a more scientific role.

At an elevation of 2175 meters asl, the Saussurea Alpine Botanical Gardens are the highest in Europe. They take their name from the flower Saussurea alpina, so called in honor of the Geneva-born scientist Horace Bénédict de Saussure, promoter of the first ascent of Mont Blanc, in 1786.


The Chalet

The exploration of the Gardens begins in the Chalet, completely restructured during the summer of 2019. Inside it, mutlimedia installations make the visitors’ experience even more complete, and the ceiling is decorated with a new illustrated botanical atlas.

Exhibition route

A unique experience awaits you when you leave the Chalet: an itinerary that will answer your questions about the varieties of plants, rocks and animals present in the gardens and its surroundings while sparking your curiosity with forays into other disciplines and little-known facts. At Saussurea exploration is accessible to everyone: during the summer of 2019 we installed ramps and easy access pathways, making it possible for those in wheelchairs or with limited mobility to enjoy the gardens in comfort.

© 2018 Fondazione Saussurea Onlus