Projects such as Avvicinare le montagne and many of those outlined in the Piedmont NRP for the Devero Veglia area threaten beautiful alpine habitats!

Interactive map

Avvicinare le montagne

Our objections


Let's save the Devero Alps! You can do it too

Avvicinare le montagne

New hotels, bars, restaurants, ski lifts, ski slopes, sledding slopes, mountain biking slopes, artificial snow basins, with adequate roads, parking lots, services.

Where? From the ski resort of San Domenico, in the fascinating mountain spaces toward the legendary Alpe Devero on one side and the pristine Teggiolo on the other, areas on the edge of Devero Veglia Park, mostly within a site Natura 2000 protected by the European Union.

This is the content of the much-discussed "Avvicinare le Montagne" Strategic Plan proposed by the VCO Province and four municipalities.

Cost of the intervention: 43 million public expenditure and 130 from the private investor, the San Domenico Ski Company.

Devero is threatened by the plan for a pharaonic summer-winter tourist resort called "Avvicinare le Montagne": the proposed transformation of mountain areas that are protected and valued for their landscape, rich habitats and rare species, into a new tourist area with major expansion of cable cars, new slopes, building facilities and infrastructures.

L'Alpe Devero è il cuore di un'area protetta da norme regionali, nazionali ed europee, parte del Sito Natura 2000 riconosciuto come dall'Unione Europea come Sito di Interesse Comunitario e Zona di Protezione Speciale.

 Nel dicembre 2022 è giunta la notizia che i promotori hanno abbandonato il Piano Strategico. Avvicinare le Montagne non è riuscito a a superare la necessaria Valutazione Ambientale Strategica (VAS). Le normative di tutela hanno tenuto! 

Ma la minaccia non è sventata . Imprenditori, pubblici amministratori e politici hanno cambiato strategia. Ripropongono vari interventi, uno alla volta, cercando autorizzazioni locali che esulano dalla valutazione dell'impatto complessivo (VAS) e confidano in una loro più facile approvazione.

Alcuni progetti sono stati proposti tra quelli da finanziare con i fondi del PNRR, altri vengono presentati singolarmente dalle istituzioni locali.

cubic meters of water reservoirs for snowmaking
square meters of new built areas
square meters of new paved parking lots
square meters of land consumed for new trails, MTBs, toboggans, etc.
“Avvicinare le montagne”: public administration strategic plan
Memorandum of Understanding

The premises arise in a Memorandum of Understanding for the development and revitalization of tourism in the municipalities, signed in March 2017 between the local governments and the San Domenico Ski srl company, which has owned the facilities and lifts in the San Domenico ski area and two ski lifts in the Alpe Devero ski area since 2009. In the face of a "major private investment program in transport infrastructure (lifts), 

accommodation infrastructure (hotels, restaurants, bars) and service infrastructure (parking lots, multi-purpose centers, ...) with the aim of revitalizing the resort of "San Domenico" not merely as a ski resort but as an integrated tourist resort, summer and winter" initiated by the "San Domenico Ski Company Ltd.", "the municipalities and interested entities have shared and promoted the program of tourism development and revitalization".

Strategic Plan

In February 2018, therefore, a Strategic Plan is proposed, called "Avvicinare le montagne" through a Territorial Agreement  between the VCO Province and the municipalities of Baceno, Crodo, Varzo and Trasquera . The Company San Domenico Ski srl results as the implementing entity of the Plan.

The Strategic Plan released in February proposes the construction of new facilities and   

High-impact infrastructure with more than 50 interventions: six-seater chairlifts with plastic domes, tall pylons, 60-meter-long intermediate station; bars, artificial viewpoints, reservoirs and cannons for artificial snow; ski slopes, toboggan runs, MTB descents for the summer; renovations and new receptive centers in complete violation of the volumes of the Landscape Plan, a multipurpose service center in the Alp of 2500 sq. m..


"Avvicinare le montagne" is the name of a massive infrastructure project (cable cars, residential investments, roads, and parking lots) that aims to connect the locality of San Domenico to the precious location of Alpe Devero-and to extend to Mount Téggiolo-altering forever the aspect that makes them unique and valuable.
The project extends to the boundaries of the Veglia Devero Park, mostly in areas protected by the European Union to protect habitats and rare species, in an alpine setting of inestimable value for biodiversity and exceptional beauty from a landscape point of view.

The Strategic Plan "Bringing the Mountains Closer" is opposed by the public and those who love Devero. 106,000 people have signed the petition "Let's Save Alpe Devero": visit to and sign the petition.

"Avvicinare le Montagne” opened in 2018 the required Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).

  • In December of that same year 2018, the SEA concluded the specification phase in which the relevant bodies gave their very critical and binding opinions.
  • The next step is the Environmental Report, which must be prepared by the proposing party to harmonize the project with the incorporation of the comments of the relevant agencies, a report that according to the procedure will be submitted for public comment. To date, it has not been published.

As of 2018, the procedure has stopped.


The Administrations tried in various ways to propose the interventions through other avenues. Although without the Comprehensive Environmental Assessment, the first step was to propose one of the Plan's interventions by excerpting it from the Comprehensive Plan, thus receiving its approval.

On 5/27/2019, the Regional Council gave the go-ahead for the implementation of the intervention on improvements to the access road to the San Domenico ski resort. The intervention, however, is listed as part of Bringing the Mountains Closer, included as a work borne by the public budget within the framework of the Strategic Plan interventions.
The Legambiente and Lipu Associations and the Devero Protection Committee on 9/26/19 initiated an appeal to the Regional Administrative Tribunal against the Administrations involved (Region, VCO Province and the four municipalities) and the San Domenico Ski srl Company because the works "constitute a 'functional excerpt' of the broader project of interventions, whose approval process is still in progress." While not wishing to oppose the resurfacing and securing of a road, legally it was necessary to oppose this stratagem that would have endorsed a first intervention of the entire Strategic Plan without having the approval of the environmental impact it entails. Here is the press release regarding the appeal.

At the regulatory level, numerous attempts have been made to change existing protective regulations. Among these:

  • The Municipality of Trasquera (Mayor Arturo Lincio) on November 11, 2019, asks the Region for the Activation of the revision path of the Regional Landscape Plan. the Plan prevents the overpassing of the ridge and in fact the realization of the connection and the single San Domenico - Devero district. The process of a Landscape Plan is very long and involves national institutions; the Landscape Plan of the Piedmont Region was recently published in November 2017.
  • The Province (President Arturo Lincio) on Dec. 13, 2019 asks the Piedmont Region to redefine the boundaries of SPAs, Special Protection Areas. "As they are they occupy more than 38 percent, are poorly mapped and prevent any development policy." But it is virtually impossible. There are no cases throughout Europe of national or European rulings that have authorized sacrificing portions of the natural heritage of a Natura 2000 Site in favor of tourism and recreation. The projects for which this has happened are projects of quite different national and international importance: for example, large ports and airports of national and international importance, certainly not in favor of a small ski resort.


Nell’aprile 2021 numerosi progetti di “Avvicinare le Montagne” dalla Regione Piemonte sono stati proposti tra quelli da finanziare con i fondi del Piano Nazionale Ripresa e Resilienza (PNRR)  dell’Unione Europea. Finanziamentiperò ispirati alla transizione verde, alla protezione e ripristino della biodiversità, a favore delle prossime generazioni. At this link the map of proposed projects.

The Italian Alpine Club, Devero Protection Committee, National Federation Pro Natura, Italia Nostra Regional of Piedmont, Italia Nostra VCO, National Legambiente, Mountain Wilderness, Salviamo il Paesaggio Valdossola have made a report to the European Commission and National authorities demonstrating the incompatibility with European rules and asking to exclude the projects from those eligible for funding.


Dicembre 2022. Il grande Piano Strategico "Avvicinare le Montagne" è stato ritirato.  “Avvicinare le Montagne” non è riuscito a superare la necessaria Valutazione Ambientale Strategica (VAS).

Le normative di tutela hanno tenuto!

Ma la minaccia non è sventata . Imprenditori, pubblici amministratori e politici hanno cambiato strategia Ripropongono vari interventi, uno alla volta, cercando autorizzazioni locali che esulano dalla valutazione dell'impatto complessivo (VAS) e confidano in una loro più facile approvazione.  Alcuni progetti sono stati proposti tra quelli da finanziare con i fondi del PNRR, altri vengono presentati singolarmente dalle istituzioni locali

Some proposed interventions of "Avvicinare le montagne"
Devero Cazzola Chairlift

The "Bringing the Mountains Closer" strategic plan envisages replacing the three lifts, a chairlift and two ski lifts, that currently connect Devero to Mt. Cazzola with a new chairlift...

Chairlift extension at the top of Cazzola: why?

The new chairlift will extend the route about 200 meters upstream to the Cazzola...

Connecting cable car

[under construction]

Our objections

Devero's uniqueness compromised

Devero is a fascinating place, now very rare throughout the Alps for environmental conservation, protected by European legislation (Natura 2000) and regional: you can only enter it on foot, the architecture maintains original characters by virtue of an excellent Landscape Plan.

The value of Alpe Devero, which makes it a uniquely valuable one, is the vastness of free spaces, free of anthropogenic interventions, touchingly beautiful and easily accessible. 

From small lakes of glacial origin to extremely rare alpine peat bogs; from expanses of rhododendrons to majestic larch groves; from 145 species of birds, 50 of which are in danger of extinction, to 800 species of flowers, the Devero has a wealth of habitats and species that are protected by Italian and European Union regulations because their conservation is of Community interest.

The project damages the landscape and environment forever: instead of beauty, silence and biodiversity they want crowds and permanent, invasive infrastructure. Six-seater chairlifts with plastic domes, tall pylons, stations up to 60 meters long, concrete bars and viewpoints, utilities, earthworks, reservoirs and cannons for artificial snow, new ski, sledding and mountain bike trails. Abnormal real estate developments in the Devero plain; access infrastructure with parking lots for thousands of visitors.

The planned interventions, instead of "enhancing" the area, would alter its characteristics by perpetually damaging its values. 

The planned interventions are intended to infrastructure these Alps for the reception of large mass tourism with a disruptive anthropic impact that does not reconcile with the values of conscious enjoyment and conservation of the territory protected for its biodiversity and whose values would be permanently altered. A new tourist resort:

  • requires mass tourism necessary for its economic sustainability, which is, however, incompatible with environmental protection. A dissertation calculated that to pay back the investment, by 2051 the area would have to accommodate 3.3 million tourists per year;
  • Infrastructure, receptivity and facilities are sized for an unsustainable number of users;
  • involves mass tourism, culturally unaware, devoted to fast consumption, noisy, with infrastructure of high environmental impact, and drastically impacting the peculiarities of the territory;
  • distorts the true values of the Alpe Devero area, devoted instead to gentle, slow, culturally aware tourism made up of sustainable numbers.

    We are absolutely convinced that, by preserving the current intrinsic richness of the place, the "value" of an area such as the Devero can only increase over time, constituting a heritage of inestimable value to be handed down to our children also as an inescapable model for developing a relationship with the environment capable of averting the disruption to which it will otherwise inevitably be condemned. This is not about happy degrowth, but an inescapable change of course from a consumerist and harmful model.
Regulations prohibit it

Devero is heart of protected areas (LINK). Approving the hypothesized plant development would be in blatant conflict with current regulations.

The land is protected by careful legislation (local, regional, national and European) that was created to preserve its quality. Among these:

European legislation

The sites on which the plants are to be built are mostly within the rete Natura 2000, site IT1140016 "Alpi Veglia e Devero - Monte Giove" (year 1995), protected by the European Union as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) to ensure rare habitats, flora and fauna. They contain a significant number of rare habitats and species whose conservation status would be threatened by the planned works. Italy is already undergoing proceedings by the European Commission for misapplication of the rules on environmental assessments (SEA and VIncA).

The Landscape Plan

The area affected by the projects also borders Veglia Devero Park and is protected as a "Safeguard Zone" and regulated by the forward-looking Alpe Devero Safeguard Zone Landscape Plan (year 2000), which virtuously protected the values of traditional mountain architecture by preventing uncontrolled expansion of building structures.

The Landscaping Plan

Approaching the Mountains, in its goals, aims to connect Devero to San Domenico and expand on the pristine Téggiolo via a cable car system. The connection is not allowed in an area protected by the European Union, and is prohibited by the Regional Landscape Plan (year 2017), which does not allow the crossing of mountain ridges. A massive connecting cable car has been "for now" (so in the Strategic Plan: see VAS-1. Pag. 164, PS-1.1 Pag. 27, PS-1.2 Pag. 44, PS-1.2 Pag. 45) removed from the project but described as "necessary, as a key integral part of the Strategic Plan" ( so in the Strategic Plan: see PS- 1.2 Pag. 48). But despite the European Union's ban on new facilities in areas protected by the European Union and the prohibition of ridge crossings by cable car, the promoters state, "they chose to remove the hypothetical intervention from the strategic plan in order to simplify its evaluation." They removed the focus of the project to facilitate the approval of the Strategic Environmental Assessment, which without the provision of the link loses its validity.

But who does it benefit?

We conducted some economic simulations based on the information made available in the Strategic Plan. The data used are, of course, those of an ideal year, with good snowfall in winter and many sunny days in summer.

With these data, and then without the necessary corrections (e.g., without decreases in winter opening days since those used are from a particularly favorable year, without applying a business consolidation curve, using data from mature stations from the first year of the new San Domenico ski area, without the costs of launch activities, such as advertising and communication expenses), we tried to build a first scenario of business plan projection over the long term.

Even in this first optimistic scenario, with the assumptions made, the "Bringing the mountains closer" project would turn out to be an anomalous investment, which would certainly not attract traditional (banks) or speculative (private equity funds and investment banks) investors. In fact, the Pay Back Period of the investment (years needed to pay back the investment and start earning money) would turn out to be 30 years for sports activities (skiing, MTB, trekking) and 48 years for accommodation activities.

In a second, more realistic scenario, we have introduced the corrections mentioned above and added the years needed for infrastructure construction (at least 7-8 years). In this case the Pay Back Period would be 50 years for sports activities (skiing, MTB, hiking) and 70 years for accommodation activities.

With such long Pay Back Periods the business would clearly be unsustainable, not least because they would exceed the useful life of the plants themselves. By incorporating a renewal of the plants every 15 to 20 years, the investment would no longer be able to repay itself.

Even a thesis in Economics and Finance from the faculty of Bergamo, entirely third party to the committee, concluded that: the investors of Bringing the Mountains Closer, would only be able to pay back their investment if by 2051 the area grows to host 3.3 million tourists per year!


The temptation to transform this most precious territory is always lurking; projects follow one another and, like Proteus taking a thousand different forms, they always appear varied and multiple.

The association Comitato Tutela Devero watches over and takes action, together with a network of Italian and foreign people, associations, and professionals, to prevent the Devero's priceless value from being altered.

Let's save the Devero Alps! You can do it too: