How can I describe this magnificent area I visited for the first time that has been on my bucket list forever? Pré-Saint-Didier (Valdôtain: Pré-Sèn-Lédjé) is a town and comune in the Aosta Valley region of north-western Italy and sits at 1,004 metres (3,294 ft) above sea level. The deep rocky ravine (orrido in Italian) of Pré-Saint-Didier, with its icy and turbulent waters, steamy hot springs, deep ravines and cliffs, and thick woods on steep slopes, have unexpected but stunning views over the glaciers of Mont Blanc.
The ravine, enclosed by imposing almost vertical rock walls, was generated by the postglacial incisions made by the river. The scenery that I took in was impressive, such as the strength of the river, which has been able to carve out such an opening in the rock, as evidenced by the noisy swirl of the turquoise-coloured water. Furthermore, the narrow gorge from which the river flows communicates with the wide landscape that opens towards the valley, in a suggestive and fascinating contrast.
A true must-see is a footbridge and the small abandoned hut constructed out of the local stone used for most of the traditional architecture that dominates the Aosta area of Italy.
Photographically the whole area is magnificent, with beautiful alpine meadows, forests of larch which are so magnificent to photograph in autumn, and not to mention the magnificent peaks of the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, and in general the Western Alps.
This hike is not difficult at all, however, the fast-flowing water can pose a problem as in some areas the surrounding rocks are very slippery with moss and leaves. I used a tripod for this photo and only needed a polarizing filter as the ravine was quite dark.
As most landscape photographers know, visiting a new area has its challenges as one is a bit lost on what to photograph other than the iconic locations. Personally, I have decided that I will go back in autumn next year to continue to discover another beautiful mountain location in Italy.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor