Main reasons for visiting the Piana Crixia Park
In the Piana Crixia Regional Nature Park, you will find the last inhabitant of a petrified forest, i.e. a giant stone mushroom that you can find where Liguria meets Piedmont and gentle cultivated hills merge with gullies, i.e. peculiar waves of sand and clay. You will be confronted with something extraordinary: churches and medieval castles spring up among the slopes in a lunar landscape.
During your hike along the park’s trails you will discover many stories, but the mushroom is a natural wonder unique to Liguria: an enormous boulder balanced on a column of rock that stands 15 metres high, defying the laws of physics.
According to geology, it is an “oligocene conglomerate of the Molare Formation” dating back 35 million years, subject to an erosion phenomenon that is still ongoing. Legend has it that the mushroom was shaped by the fury of the Great Flood, that miraculous oil flowed from it and that even Napoleon was so amazed by it that he wanted to take it back to France as a masterpiece of natural art. But, fortunately, Bonaparte did not manage to pick it up. According to science, one day the rock will fall, but today it is still there to be admired!
Look for it and you will also find much more, such as the wild orchid, which in spring blossoms in its thousands of forms: its labella, seen up close, are of various colours and designs to attract insects; their scent is intoxicating and delicate. In June, dive into the purple of the lavender flowering fields.