"Borna di Laou" Arboretum
Botanical and rock gardens
The arboretum is on the orographic left bank of the Évançon, at the start of Val d’Ayas. It can be reached on foot from Verrès, where you should leave the car, then up a section of the Val d’Ayas regional road.
At the both entrances, you will find panels describing the area, which includes nine panoramic viewpoints with benches and litter bins. The landscape from this site is extraordinarily vast: on the left is Verrès castle, built in the second half of the 14th century; to the north-east is Val d’Ayas; to the north-west is the magnificent outline of the iron cross erected on Mont Saint-Gilles (an offering of gratitude for the village’s escape from bombing during the second world war); to the south-west and south-east are the great plain of Verrès and Issogne castle just beyond it.
The varied vegetation is described on signs which also give the botanical names, along with their French and Italian versions. The typical local species of this xerophilous environment, such as downy oak, cornel, hawthorn, elm, European nettle tree, robinia etc, mingle with more demanding species, such as the cherry, ash, chestnut, linden, while it is possible to discover what are botanical rarities for this area growing spontaneously: medlar, butcher’s broom, laurel and spindle.
Grass and shrub flora is also diversified. We find species typical of very hot and dry environments such as soapwort, silene, dog rose, old man’s beard, wild lilies, and other more demanding species, such as the violet, strawberry and heather.
The inhabitants of Verrès call this place “Borna di Laou” in patois or “Tampa del luf” in Piedmontese (wolf’s den), since, until the end of the 19th century there apparently used to be a wolf’s den.