Refuge Sella – Pian del Re – Pian Melzé (Pian della Regina)
Rifugio Q. Sella 2640 m – Pian del Re 2020 m – Pian Melzé (Pian della Regina) 1714 m
A short hike that takes place under the imposing mass of the Monviso; even in summertime it is often impossible to avoid passing through sections that are still covered with snow, but where it is easy to locate the path because of the visible traces left by the many hikers following this itinerary.
From Refuge Sella the mule track descends in a wide loop to the northern end of Lake Grande di Viso, and then climbs up over debris to Colle di Viso 2650 m; 0.15 hours. From the hill you descend into a wild valley flanked on the left by the characteristic cones of deletion originating from the channels of the north-east side of Monviso, and on the right by the western slopes of Viso Mozzo, which you skirt along a slight descent until you reach a basin of large boulders, between which the mule track winds. At the northern edges of the basin you descend the moraine, following a short stretch along a canal that is almost always full of snow and reaching the western slopes of Rocca Truné, then the path continues to descend in hairpin bends a stone escarpment. From this stretch you can observe to the west the serrated ridge that from Monviso continues with the peaks of Visolotto, Due Dita, Gastaldi, Rome, Udine and Venice, crossed by steep snowy channels and at the base of which are the moraines of the secondary glaciers that converged in the Po Valley glacier; towards the north, rounded hills slope down which include several lakes, while towards the east you can see the furrow of the Po Valley. At the end of the panoramic hairpin descent, the path completes a large semicircle towards the west, lowering along the base of the northern moraine of Monviso. After other hairpin bends, it surrounds from above (source) the basin in which Lake Chiaretto extends 2261 m with its characteristic triangular shape and light blue color and continues with some ups and downs, cutting steep grassy and rocky slopes halfway up. The path with a short climb passes the saddle to the north of the lake which leads into the valley of Lake Fiorenza: you descend with long hairpin bends between formworks, finally reaching the beautiful lake at 2113 m, which you skirt along the right bank. The place, quite popular with hikers, presents a very beautiful panorama, with the peaks of Monviso and Visolotto reflecting in the water; at the end of the last century tourists could go around the lake on a small boat called “la Bella Fiorentina”. In case of humid weather you can console yourself with the absence of a view with the possibility of seeing some specimens of the rare “black salamander”. Once you reach the notch that closes the lake to the north, you pass the outlet and then descend along hairpin bends on a well-trodden path to Pian del Re, where the sources of the Po are 2022 m 1.45 hours. Follow the little valley of the newborn Then on the left side, until you take the cart track that runs eastwards across the entire plateau, and then becomes an asphalted road near the old barracks, after a few meters on the right a track that descends south-east towards the small church of the Beata Vergine delle Nevi, placed on a bastion, Once in the small valley that divides the carriage road from the hilltop with the church, continue to the left going down the mule track that runs to the base of the rocky cliffs of Truc Battaglie and leads halfway up the slope to Pian Fiorenza 1844 m below, an ancient lake now filled, where the Po makes quiet meanders and joins the impetuous Rio dei Quarti; towards the east the plateau rich in water slopes down into the pasture plateau of Pian della Regina or Pian Melzé, much less renowned and therefore quieter than the nearby Pian del Re. The mule track leads to cross the Cumbal del Rio, (sometimes requiring a ford in the absence of the bridges placed by shepherds), beyond which stands a small church; from here a short stretch of cart track goes back to the Pian Melzé huts and to the Pian della Regina Refuge 1714 m; 0.30 hours