On the southern slopes of the Mont Blanc massif, there is a natural saddle dividing the Toula glacier and its moraine from those of the Mont Fréty: this is the home of the more than 900 species that make up the Saussurea Botanical Gardens.

Downhill lies the hollow where Courmayeur is situated: to the right, the Val Veny, which leads into France through the Col de la Seigne, to the left the Val Ferret, which instead returns to Switzerland over the ridge of the same name. Both valleys are traversed by torrents that flow into the Dora Baltea at Entréves, right below the Gardens.

If we turn our gaze upward, we can see the giants looming overhead: a crown composed by Mont Blanc, the Dames Anglaises, the tower of Jetoula, the Giant’s Tooth and the Grandes Jorasses; turning again downvalley, we can glimpse the Gran Paradiso massif, the Ruitor glacier and the Grivola.

The habitat is typical of the altitude: the trees become sparse and eventually disappear, leaving room for the alpine meadows, interspersed with huge granite boulders fallen from the mountains. Snow falls thickly here, and not just in the winter: it blankets the entire area for eight or nine months of the year, and doesn’t melt away entirely until the end of June.

Cover Image: @Giulia Sarno

© 2018 Fondazione Saussurea Onlus