Twenty-six kilometers of mountain ridges which are situated very near to the Riviera Ligure and which develop from the Colle del Giovo to the Passo del Turchino parallel to the coast, passing for the summits of Mt. Beigua (1,287m), Cima Frattin (1,145m), Mt. Rama (1,148m), Mt. Argentea (1,082m), and Mt. Reixa (1,183m). They include grasslands and precious wetlands, thick woods of beeches, English oaks, and chestnut trees, steep slopes and rocky outcrops, maritime pinewoods and belts of Mediterranean vegetation.
A mosaic of environments for which Beigua mountain group is considered one of the richest areas in biodiversity of Liguria: for this reason, in the Park 3 Sites of Community Importance have been proposed. The European Community, through the proposal of Regione Liguria and Ministero dell'Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio, has further recognized the extraordinary naturalistic value of Parco del Beigua by establishing a Special Protection Area which is particularly important for migratory birds (the area is recognized as an "Important Bird Area" according to the classification of Bird Life International). The area is populated by over 80 nesting species, some of which of great value like the Golden Eagle, the Short-toed Eagle, the Rock Thrush, the Nightjar, and the Red-backed Shrike.
Along its most difficult routes which remain concealed to the sight of man, there is the wolf, and from the spurs facing the sea it is easy to see the silhouettes of the whales passing in front of Varazze, Cogoleto, and Arenzano.
In a few kilometers you can find an environmental variety which goes from the typical bloomings of the Mediterranean maquis to the high altitude peatbogs which are evidences of the past struggles of ice and rocks to shape the terrestrial surface.
A park where it is possible to find multicolored endemic floral species (Viola Bertolonii, Cerastium utriense, Asplenium cuneifolium, Daphne cneorum, Cheilantes marantae) and some animals belonging to the minor fauna (like the Montpellier snake, the Alpine newt, the crested newt, the common frog, etc.).
A park including three important Regional State Forests ("Deiva" in the Municipality of Sassello, "Lerone" in the Municipalities of Arenzano and Cogoleto, "Tiglieto" in the Municipalities of Tiglieto, Masone, and Campo Ligure) where the typical ungulates of the Ligurian Apennine live: among the others, wild boars, roe deer, and fallow deer.
The Park Authority is currently committed to some initiatives - carried out within the project Co.R.E.M. financed by the Program Italy-France "Marittimo" - aiming at enhancing the naturalistic heritage and the biodiversity of the Ecological Network, with the purpose to reduce the pressure and threats on the environmental resources and to promote a sustainable social and economic exploitation of these resources, thanks to the participation and sensitization of citizens. In November 2011, the first stage of a project aiming at the elaboration and integration of the scientific information regarding the distribution of the species and of the most significant habitats in Beigua Park and in the sections of Natura 2000 Network functionally connected to it was concluded.
For details, download the complete report Indagini ambientali e divulgazione dei risultati delle attività di ricerca - Environmental survey and diffusion of the results of the research activities (PDF - 4.9Mb)
Since March 2005, Parco del Begua - Beigua Geopark has been recognized as an international "Geopark" within the European Geoparks Network and the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network.
Beigua Geopark includes the whole area of Parco naturale regionale del Beigua, as well as a large section of territory functionally connected to the Park. It covers an area of 39,230 hectares and involves the Municipalities of Arenzano, Campo Ligure, Cogoleto, Genoa, Masone, Rossiglione, Sassello, Stella, Tiglieto, and Varazze.
This territory preserves the geological history of Liguria: rocky outcrops, mineralization, fossiliferous deposits, spectacular forms continuously shaped by exogenous agents.
Tormented evolutionary events have shaped the heart of the Park, mainly consisting of metamorphic rocks, called "ophiolites" or "green rocks", deriving from chemical - physical changes involving original igneous rocks which formed on the seabed. They are mainly serpentine and serpentine schists, associating with metagabbro eclogite and prasinites. There are then the relative sedimentary sequences which have been entirely transformed during metamorphism processes: they are called calceschists, even if they also include rocks of different nature (shales, crystal-like limestones, quartz-schists, etc.).
The geological frame is completed by sedimentary formations of marine origin including conglomerates and coarse breccia, sometimes alternating with marls and sandstones outcropping in the area of Sassello, Varazze, and Val Gargassa.
The large territory of the Geopark is characterized by particular geomorphological features, shapes, and evidences linked in some cases to disappeared morphogenetic processes, which makes it unique in Liguria: from periglacial deposits in the upper portion of the Beigua massif to shapes and processes evidencing the current fluvial shaping (embanked ravines and meanders) and gravitative (collapse landslides and clastic deposits) on the slopes, to the marine terraces with variations of the sea level along the coastline between Arenzano and Varazze.
The territory is also characterized by interesting well-preserved paleontological areas, often with an abundant fossiliferous content, as well as sites of mineralogical interest, famous above all for the presence of spectacular garnets which have enriched the collections all over the world. Finally, we also have to mention the richness in superficial and subterranean water resources feeding significant aquifers both in qualitative and quantitative terms.
Beigua Park is characterized by precious historical-cultural features you can find scattered throughout the territory or in the museums: it tells the tale of the evolution of the human settlements in the Park area and the important ways of commerce existing between the coast and the Po Plain.
Such a precious resource to hand down to future generations makes the Park a special territory not only for the preservation of biodiversity, but also because it safeguards and enhances the value of the cultural identity of each community settled in its territory, and because it is a laboratory for the experimentation and the development of sustainable social-economical activities.
From the paleontological finds witnessing that the forests of Mt. Beigua were known by hunters and shepherds already in the prehistoric period to the importance acquired by the area as a crossroads of important ways of commerce between the coast and the Po Plain, thanks to the considerable impulse given in the territory of Valle dell'Orba by the settlement of the Cistercian Monks in Badia di Tiglieto (founded in 1120), to the traditional agricultural and woodland management activities which developed in the territory over the lastest centuries, Beigua Park has always been interested by the dominating and reassuring presence of man over the environmental resources of this section of the Ligurian territory, where it is still visible a rich and widespread heritage of buildings and rural structures.
Of particular interest also the various agricultural and agri-foodstuffs activities characterizing the Park territory and attracting tourists: among the main ones, the paper industry, above all in the valleys of Arenzano (Cantarena and Lerone); the ironworks which developed in the Sassellese area and in the valleys Stura and Orba; the glassworks which developed first in Valle Stura, and then in Valle dell'Orba; the characteristic filigree activity of Campo Ligure which transformed it in a craftsmanship center known all around the world; and the productions linked to the forest activities (Italian text) and to timber working (with the traditional professions of the woodcutters, the sawyers, the basket makers, and the coopers).
As far as the characteristic agricultural and foodstuffs productions are concerned, it is necessary to recall the role of the chestnut tree with all the dishes deriving from its fruits.
The confectionery industry of Sassello is very important and known for its characteristic "amaretti" and "canestrelli", exported all over the world.
The panorama is completed by beekeeping, berries, and medicinal plant cultivations, the wide range of dairy products (for which in Valle Stura a cultural-gastronomical itinerary has been identified: "Le Valli del Latte" - Italian text), the processing of cow and sheep meat, as well as mushroom picking and preservation.
The Environmental Management System
Since 2005, Beigua Park Authority has an Environmental Management System regarding the following activities:
1) preservation and enhancement of the environmental and historical-cultural features of the protected area;
2) maintenance and rehabilitation of the territory;
3) safeguard of biodiversity;
4) safeguard of landscape heritage;
5) research activities and scientific education;
6) education to sustainable development;
7) promotion of tourism and eco-compatible production activities.
The Environmental Management System of the Park Authority complies with the requirements established by the international regulations UNI EN ISO 14001:2004, as confirmed by the Certification Authority on 05.07.2005 and during the following annual inspection, including the one held in 2008, at the end of the first three-year validity of the System.
It is possible to freely download a copy of the validity certificates of the Environmental Management System of the Park Authority.
Moreover, in order to guarantee its own commitment to the prevention of pollution, the continuous improvement of the environmental performances, and to guarantee the respect of the legal rules applied to its own activities and services, the Director's Office of Beigua Park has outlined an Environmental Policy document whose last review was approved with Park Authority Council Decision no. 29 on 8th July 2010. It is available for download.