“Discovering Earth Heritage, enjoying nature and local traditions”
Celebrating Earth Heritage
Beigua UNESCO Global Geopark is located in Liguria, in the north-western part of Italy, near the boundary of France. It includes the Beigua Regional Nature Park and a broad zone linked to the nature park. The Beigua massif dominates the coast with summits widely over 100 meters of altitude and reaching 1287 meters above sea level with the Beigua mountain.
The Beigua UNESCO Global Geopark is one of the most interesting areas in Liguria and it is important for understanding the geological history of Italy, especially the evolution of the Alps and the Apennines. The area has an extraordinary geodiversity is of outstanding scientific value and resulted in forming a large variety of landscapes and rich geomorphology. Geologically, the area is mainly characterized by ophiolitic outcrops with an Alpine metamorphic imprinting that represents a fragment of the original Jurassic ocean basin (from 200 to 145 million years ago). Highlights of the Beigua UNESCO Global Geopark also include fascinating well-preserved Oligocene palaeontological outcrops of a tropical fossil fauna and flora such as leaves, shells and corals; specific minerals mainly found in the ophiolitic area such as spectacular examples of garnets. From a geomorphological point of view Beigua UNESCO Global Geopark reveals peculiar forms derived from a periglacial environment (blockstream and blockfields), it also shows evidence of sea level fluctuation such as the marine terraces located in the coastal strip and Varazze, and the impressive canyons in the Oligocene conglomerates of Val Gargassa, in the area of Rossiglione.
Besides the geological heritage, Beigua has the richest biodiversity in Liguria. The ecology of the area is strongly affected by the geological and geomorphological elements and 26 principal types of “environmental units” have been identified in the Geopark. The vegetation of Beigua UNESCO Global Geopark is unique to the area and includes about 1,130 plant species, many of which are adapted to the particular rocks.
Sustaining local Communities
Beigua UNESCO Global Geopark covers ten municipalities, (Arenzano, Campo Ligure, Cogoleto, Genova, Masone, Rossiglione, Sassello, Stella, Tiglieto, Varazze) and two provincial districts (Genova and Savona), covering an area of 392 km2.
Similarly, the Beigua UNESCO Global Geopark has a rich cultural heritage exhibited across the area and in the museums. Caves engravings and monumental complexes tell the story of the evolution of human settlement in the area. For visitors, the Beigua UNESCO Global Geopark offers different activities and opportunities: visitor centers and information points, geological trails, thematic exhibitions, educational programs, publications and guidebooks.
Based on a shared local strategy for the enhancement and development of the territory, Beigua UNESCO Global Geopark activated several programmes in the field of education and encouraged new opportunities for sustainable tourism. Thematic interpretation facilities have been developed: three Visitor Centres, two Educational Centres and two Information Points. They provide practical tourist information about what activities can be done in the area, and host educational activities and exhibitions. In order to popularize natural and cultural heritage many thematic trails have been equipped with panels and other interpretative tools, which allow visitors to appreciate and understand the link between geology, biology and culture. The Beigua UNESCO Global Geopark schedules events all year round and offers different kind of accommodation: farm holidays and mountain shelters mainly in the hinterland, B&B or hotels and residences in the seaside towns.