Val Porta, oriented along the East-West axis, presents two morphologically distinct slopes. The left one, very steep and furrowed by deep valleys, is too inconvenient and difficult to access, as a document of 1930 states; it culminates on the Cima di Sassello (1899 m a.s.l.) and is entirely covered by forest.
The right side instead extends well beyond the limit of the forest, up to the 2442 m a.s.l of Pizzo Vogorno: just as steep and precipitous in the lower part, it opens onto wide sunny pastures high up. These remarkable differences have determined, since remote times, a diversified approach to the two slopes. The one to the south was exploited for its wood, while the one to the north has been used mainly for its grass. Along the paths of the forest reserve there are countless artifacts related to the exploitation of the Val Porta; some of which we would like to mention.
Along the paths of the forest reserve there are countless artifacts related to the exploitation of the Val Porta; some of which we would like to mention.
The Oratory of Colletta can be considered the door to the valley. Further on, beyond the ford, a flight of steps dating back to 1874 allows men and cattle to get past a steep and dangerous rocky step. The initial stretch and the six steep hairpin bends that follow in a very narrow space are noteworthy.
The springs of Morasc and Mosciöi
The mountains of Morasc and Mosciöi are made up of small groups of buildings that rise on a steep ridge far from the waterways. The presence of springs was providential for these settlements. The trail leads right past them, so that people and animals passing by could quench their thirst.
Around 1880, the first cable (rope) ways appeared. Without a motor, they allowed heavy loads to be sent downstream. Their installation constituted a real revolution in the transport of mountain products (wood, hay, cheese). Between Morasc and Mosciöi one can observe some bordiòm (large iron wires) on the ground or suspended among the branches, as well as a wooden tripod that served as a support.
Avalanche protection works
In 1888, an avalanche destroyed about twenty buildings in the western part of Rienza and opened up a dangerous breach in the forest above. In 1936 a comprehensive wide-ranging project to build terraces to hold back the snow above Rienza and Lòcia began. Suspended during the war period, the work was completed in the 1950s.
The Sassello wall
Another artefact created as part of the protective works is the wall of Sassello, which runs along the watershed between Forcarella and the Cima di Sassello, for over a kilometre and a half. Completed in 1948, this truly monumental work was intended to prevent the goats from grazing on the slope of Lovald and from crossing the ridge, coming down and damaging the young trees planted on the southern slope.
The Old Court of Foppiana
Originally, the Alpe Foppiana was situated on the flat ridge to the north-west of the present one, in the locality called Corte Vecchio, where a ruined (but still clearly legible) settlement included at least four buildings and one or two enclosures. This articulated complex recalls similar very ancient situations.
The charcoal kilns
The first sale of woods in Val Porta was recorded in 1510: since then there have been regular, often very extensive cuts. Large quantities of wood, especially beech, were used for the production of charcoal, as indicated by dozens of charcoal kilns scattered all over the mountain. Near the Corte Vecchio of Foppiana these flat squares with a circular perimeter are very evident, often supported by a wall downstream.